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Old 04-28-2015, 06:56 AM
 
5,193 posts, read 4,317,478 times
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Good morning,

My therapist - who was just so awesome- passed away this month from pancreatic cancer. Her facility will not give me my records. I'm really trying to understand how I cannot have access to my own mental health records.

Is this normal when a therapist passes away?
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:00 AM
 
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I've requested medical / mental health records many times and always received them. If for yourself, you may need to pay. If to another medical professional - typically free.

Ask for a medical records release form, fill it out, and make a copy.

If they refuse, say you are going to get a Lawyer - that seems to motivate people into action!

Also you may want to have a mental health worker read your records FIRST. Some things can be upsetting, especially with things like PTSD. Best you not read that stuff! They also may be a LOT more willing to release your records to another mental health professional (than to you) for that very reason - they are protecting you perhaps?

Last edited by Billy_J; 04-28-2015 at 10:30 AM..
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
26,374 posts, read 30,682,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_J View Post
Also you may want to have a mental health worker read your records FIRST. Some things can be upsetting, especially with things like PTSD. Best you not read that stuff! They also may be a LOT more willing to release your records to another mental health professional (than to you) for that very reason - they are protecting you perhaps?
This is correct.

They also may transfer the records to another therapist without charge.

HIPAA has special rules for psychotherapy notes. They must be kept separate from the rest of the chart, and the therapist may withhold them from the patient if he feels it is not in the patient's best interest to see them.

In the OP's situation, is there another therapist in the same practice as the one who died? If so, he cannot refuse to release your records to you just because he anticipates you will transfer to him.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:01 PM
 
5,193 posts, read 4,317,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
This is correct.

They also may transfer the records to another therapist without charge.

HIPAA has special rules for psychotherapy notes. They must be kept separate from the rest of the chart, and the therapist may withhold them from the patient if he feels it is not in the patient's best interest to see them.

In the OP's situation, is there another therapist in the same practice as the one who died? If so, he cannot refuse to release your records to you just because he anticipates you will transfer to him.
It's a long story. I am filing a VA claim. This therapist was private practice, due to the long wait time to get a VA appointment. The VA here is taking its sweet time requesting the records. Mostly because the mental health professional at the VA clinic left, so they don't have anyone to request the file.

I have an exam for my claim in June. The VA needs the records before then. I can upload my file to the VA electronically, which is what I want to do.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
26,374 posts, read 30,682,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mochamajesty View Post
It's a long story. I am filing a VA claim. This therapist was private practice, due to the long wait time to get a VA appointment. The VA here is taking its sweet time requesting the records. Mostly because the mental health professional at the VA clinic left, so they don't have anyone to request the file.

I have an exam for my claim in June. The VA needs the records before then. I can upload my file to the VA electronically, which is what I want to do.
The VA does not really "need" the records before then. They will see you without them. However, you may go ahead and ask that they be sent to the VA yourself. Form here:

http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/vba-21-4142-are.pdf

If you want to see the therapy notes yourself, you may ask the new therapist to review them, as Billy suggested, and tell you if that would be a good idea.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:14 PM
 
5,193 posts, read 4,317,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
The VA does not really "need" the records before then. They will see you without them. However, you may go ahead and ask that they be sent to the VA yourself. Form here:

http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/vba-21-4142-are.pdf

If you want to see the therapy notes yourself, you may ask the new therapist to review them, as Billy suggested, and tell you if that would be a good idea.
Thanks!
I don't really want to see them - I don't think I could handle it. This is only for the claim.
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
26,374 posts, read 30,682,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mochamajesty View Post
Thanks!
I don't really want to see them - I don't think I could handle it. This is only for the claim.
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:58 PM
 
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Mental health notes and records are treated differently than the rest of a patient's medical record. Depending on the health care institution, some mental health records may not be made available to the patient.
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Not where I want to be
4,826 posts, read 7,612,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mochamajesty View Post
Good morning,

My therapist - who was just so awesome- passed away this month from pancreatic cancer. Her facility will not give me my records. I'm really trying to understand how I cannot have access to my own mental health records.

Is this normal when a therapist passes away?
1. If you have an attorney helping you with your claim, the attorney can request them. Legally they have to provide them.

2. If you don't have a lawyer: Fill out a HIPAA-compliant authorization (you can get one online --- just google it) and be sure to initial the sections in 9a. Write them a letter stating you are requesting copies of your complete file. In the letter, tell them you will pay 75 cents per page (or whatever your state mandates --- it should be in Public Health Law). Tell them you expect a response IN WRITING within 10 business days of your request. Mail it CERTIFIED MAIL/RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED. If you don't they will say they never got it.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
26,374 posts, read 30,682,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amisi View Post
1. If you have an attorney helping you with your claim, the attorney can request them. Legally they have to provide them.

2. If you don't have a lawyer: Fill out a HIPAA-compliant authorization (you can get one online --- just google it) and be sure to initial the sections in 9a. Write them a letter stating you are requesting copies of your complete file. In the letter, tell them you will pay 75 cents per page (or whatever your state mandates --- it should be in Public Health Law). Tell them you expect a response IN WRITING within 10 business days of your request. Mail it CERTIFIED MAIL/RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED. If you don't they will say they never got it.
OP only wants the V.A. to have the records. He is not interested in seeing them himself. The form linked above authorizes release to the V.A. and should accomplish OP's purpose.
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