Interested in training for your team? Click here to learn more

Protecting Behavioral Health Information: Managing and Disclosing Mental Health Records and Psychotherapy Notes

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide healthcare counsel on protecting behavioral health information and disclosure requirements and limitations. The panel will offer best practices for compliance and managing mental health records and psychotherapy notes.


Over 43 million Americans experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental health treatment records are protected from unauthorized disclosure under both federal and state law. Some categories of records, such as psychotherapy notes and substance abuse treatment, contain additional layers of protection. However, such protection is not absolute.

Healthcare counsel must understand the where, when and how of legally disclosing a patient's behavioral health information. For example, when and how can an employer seek mental health records or an evaluation? How about records that may need to be disclosed in a firearms background check? How should a provider response to a subpoena that seeks mental health or substance abuse records? How does the age of the subject complicate the issue of protection and disclosure? One state recently implemented a law requiring parents to disclose any referrals for mental health services when registering their child for public school.

Healthcare providers and their counsel need a thorough understanding and consideration of confidentiality rights as well as disclosure of mental health treatment information to manage mental health records properly.

Listen as our authoritative panel of healthcare counsel discusses behavioral/mental health information and the laws that protect it. The panel will discuss the distinction with psychotherapy notes and what steps should be taken to safeguard behavioral/mental health information. The panel will also discuss the release/disclosure of such information and how to manage mental health records.



  1. Protections of behavioral health information
    1. Federal law
    2. State laws
  2. The release of behavioral health information
    1. When is it permissible?
    2. When is it required?
    3. Psycho therapy notes vs. mental health records
    4. Substance abuse records
  3. Court guidance
  4. Best practices


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What protections does the law afford to behavioral health information?
  • What are circumstances under which disclosure of mental health information is permitted? Required?
  • What factors should healthcare providers consider when determining whether to make a disclosure?


Kurlander, David
David Kurlander

David Kurlander Attorney at Law

Mr. Kurlander has a legal practice in South Florida whose practice is focused on health law. Mr. Kurlander’s work...  |  Read More

Peters, Sharon
Sharon C. Peters

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith

Ms. Peters advises healthcare providers on personnel issues presented in the healthcare industry as well as regulatory...  |  Read More

Richard, Mary
Mary Holloway Richard

Of Counsel
Phillips Murrah

Ms. Richard represents both institutional and non-institutional providers of health services. Her career has included...  |  Read More

Access Anytime, Anywhere

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video