Deceased Patient Records – HIPAA Concerns and Rights for Substance Abuse Treatment

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I am sure many parents whose children have died after drug rehab become curious to know what exactly happened. I am concerned that dissent in rehab is not being correctly documented, perhaps even censored. I know this is possible because I have unsuccessfully attempted to get my complaints amended to my therapy records from Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region (which is a HIPAA right). These included detailed accounts of my own experience which did not necessarily put all the professionals in a very positive light. Instead, I found that without these complaints, it looks like I was no more than tragically non-compliant and personality disordered due to ‘untreated alcoholism’.

“Q: Is access to a deceased person’s psychiatric or substance abuse records treated any differently than access to other medical records?
A: HIPAA governs most healthcare providers and the records they keep; however, a different federal law governs many substance abuse programs (42 CFR Part 2). A substance abuse program can be covered under one, both, or neither regulation, depending on how it is funded.”

Accessing Deceased Patient Records—FAQ