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Virginia Legal Information

Selected Virginia Laws Affecting Patient Confidentiality


I. Confidentiality Protections:
A. Prohibiting Disclosure of Information Without Patient’s Consent:
Statutory Law: Patient Health Records Privacy Statute . . § 32.1-127.1:03
Statutory Law: Unauthorized Computer Access is Illegal . . .§ 18.2-152.5
Regulatory Law: (See Licensing Board Standards; State Agency Regs)
Case Law: Virginia Supreme Court in Fairfax Hospital v. Patricia Curtis
B. Therapist-Patient Privilege (Protections in Civil Court Proceedings Only):
Board of Medicine Licensees and Clinical Psychologists.§ 8.01-399
Other Mental Health Professionals…§ 8.01-400.2
Judges Can Protect Health Records In Court Case.. § 32.1-127.1:03, (H-6)
Confidentiality Protections in Court-Ordered Parent Education… § 20-103
C. Minors’ Access to Outpatient Tx Without Parental Consent … § 54.1-2969
II. Confidentiality Limitations (Potential Disclosure w/o Pt. Consent):
A. Laws Requiring Provider To Disclose Information Without Patient Consent:
Duty to Protect Third Parties…§ 54.1-2400.1
Reports Mandated by Statute or Regulation :
Abuse/Neglect of Aged or Incapacitated Adult…§ 63.2-1606
Abuse/Neglect of Child… § 63.2-1509 (defined in .§ 63.2-100)
Practitioners in Therapy, if Public at Risk. ..§ 54.1-2400.7
Practitioner Misconduct:
Board of Medicine Licensees...§ 54.1-2909 ; § 54.1-2915
Other Licensed or Certified Practitioners (See Board Regulations)
State Colleges Notify Parents of Depndnt Students at Risk…§ 23-9.2:3
Records/Information Legally Available to Others Without Patient Consent:
CASA Lay Volunteers…§ 9.1-156
CSB Evaluators for Involuntary Commitment of Minor...§ 16.1-342
CSB or Indep. Evaluator for Involuntary Commitment ..§ 37.2-804.2
DSS Investigation Following Report of Abuse/Neglect . .§ 63.2-1509
Licensing Board Investigations; Subpoena ..54.1-2506
Parent Has Access to Treatment Records of Minor Child…§ 20-124.6
Magistrates, etc. for Commitment Hearing…§ 16.1-337 ; § 37.2-804.2
B. Exceptions to Therapist-Patient Privilege (Potential Subpoenas)
Civil Proceedings: Exceptions to Privilege: § 8.01-399, § 8.01-400.2
Child Abuse/Neglect Cases…§ 63.2.1519; § 8.01-400.2
Mental Condition at Issue in Court Case…§ 8.01-399; § 8.01-400.2
“Judicial Discretion” Exception to Privilege..8.01-399; § 8.01-400.2
Guardian Ad Litem Access to Info in Court Case.§16.1-266 (G)
Subpoenaed Records Delivered to Clerk of Court…§ 32.1-127.1:03
Copies of Records Admissible as Evidence . . . § 8.01-413
Criminal Proceedings (No statutory therapist-patient privilege)
Licensing Board Subpoena of Records for Investigation.(e.g., § 54.1-2506)
C. Laws Allowing Others to Re-Disclose Information Without Patient Consent
Testimony by CASA Volunteer Who Obtained Tx Info/Records…§ 9.1-153
Testimony by Evaluator in Involuntary Commitment .16.1-342 ; 37.2-804.2

NOTE: To be able to promise absolute confidentiality, a clinician would need to be prepared to disobey all of the laws in II-A and II-B, above, and be prepared to accept the legal and financial consequences of that civil disobedience.

*This information is not a substitute for knowing all the Regulations or Statutesrelated to the practice of your profession.

Updated July 2014

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