Avoiding Liability Bulletin – September 2005

… When you receive an authorization form from another, allowing you to release information to the named party, make sure you read it carefully. Does it authorize you by name? Does it refer to your licensure or functions appropriately? Or, does it authorize “all physicians or doctors?” Does it refer to mental health, counseling, or psychotherapy records or does it refer to “medical records?” Depending upon state law, your records may or may not be considered to be “medical records.” The bottom line is that you must read an authorization form carefully, not only to determine if it clearly covers you, but to also ascertain precisely what information you are authorized to share.

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Richard Leslie

Richard S. Leslie is an attorney and acknowledged expert on the interrelationship between law and the practice of marriage and family therapy and psychotherapy. Most recently, he was a consultant to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and has written articles regarding legal and ethical issues for their Family Therapy Magazine. Prior to his work with AAMFT, Richard was Legal Counsel to the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) for approximately twenty-two years. While there, he also served as their director of Government Relations and tirelessly advocated for due process and fairness for licensees and applicants.

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