Release of information
You got a release for records from your client’s attorney. Now, what should you do?
It is worth a phone call to the client to make sure that they understand if you release their records then all of their information is going to be available. You do have the option to prepare a high-level summary of your care and treatment (date treatment started, how often, general topics of discussion during sessions) and include your intake form if you want, but be prepared for the attorney to come back and say that is not enough information and they want the entire client file. If your client agrees, then release the records.
Can you bill for preparing the records to send out? Each state has statutes concerning medical records and the appropriate amount of billing. You can only bill according to those statutes. However, you cannot withhold the copy of the records if the client cannot pay, or is behind on their payments to you. They are entitled to a copy of their chart regardless of their financial status with you.
A free service for NASW RRG policyholders, the Helpline is available for questions regarding a variety of practice interactions, risk mitigation, and general guidance. The most frequent categories of Helpline questions fall within the following categories: