Mental health is both a major focus of public health initiatives and a deeply private subject. While greater awareness of mental health conditions is helping to reduce the stigma around seeking care, it also highlights the need for privacy. Anyone seeking help for mental health issues has the right to be informed about and protected by mental health privacy laws.
At Ascend, we understand that to provide the highest quality care, it’s important to ensure your safety and privacy so we follow all applicable federal and state mental health privacy laws, but also strive to go above and beyond in protecting our clients’ information.
Learn more about the importance of privacy laws in the U.S. and how you can protect yourself and your family from overexposure when you explore this overview from our team.
The Importance of Mental Health Privacy Laws
Privacy laws relating to mental health are there to protect the confidentiality of anyone seeking mental health treatment. Basically, that means that your information cannot be disclosed without your consent. Health privacy laws are essential because they:
- Encourage people to seek treatment without fear of discrimination or retaliation
- Build trust between mental health providers and patients
- Prevent providers from sharing sensitive information with anyone not involved in treatment, including family members, employers, and law enforcement agencies
There can be many roadblocks to seeking mental health treatment, but privacy should not be one of them.
Mental Health Privacy Laws in the U.S.
The United States has several federal and state health privacy laws that outline the rights of clients and the responsibilities of mental health providers.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the primary federal law that governs medical privacy. HIPAA provides clients with the right to access their medical records and control how their protected health information is used and disclosed. In the context of mental health care, HIPAA requires insurance and healthcare providers to obtain written consent from the client before sharing mental health information with anyone outside of the treatment team.
States also have mental health privacy laws that outline the responsibilities of providers, the rights of clients, and the circumstances under which mental health information can be disclosed. In California, the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) is the primary mental health privacy law that governs our actions.
This law requires providers to obtain informed consent from the client before disclosing mental health information and dictates that information may only be shared without consent if the client poses a threat to themselves or others. We even have an entire internal compliance team that guarantees everyone is following the rules.
We’re Here to Help
At Ascend, we understand the importance of privacy in mental health care, and we prioritize the confidentiality of our clients while providing comprehensive, evidence-based treatment that is tailored to the individual needs of each teen.
Our team of compassionate mental health professionals is dedicated to providing high-quality treatment to teens struggling with mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. If you’re looking for mental health treatment in Los Angeles, contact Ascend today to learn more about how we can help.