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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 38801
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Are there any exceptions to releasing information without a

Customer Question

Are there any exceptions to releasing information without a current Consent Form? I am a licensed clinical social worker and licensed alcohol and drug counselor in NJ. I was the employee assistance plan provider for a local police department and saw an
officer 2 years ago for alcohol problems. He was recently in an alcohol-related car accident that killed 2 of his passengers and the department wants info from me now. I do not have a current Release signed. Am I obligated to give the internal affairs any
info now after 2 years since I have worked with him?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
NJ Rev Stat § 45:2D-11 (2013) prohibits disclosure by a licensed alcohol and drug counselor of any client information, except as required by federal regulation: 42 C.F.R. 2.1 et seq.
Disclosure without patient consent is permitted as follows:
§2.51 Medical emergencies.
§2.52 Research activities.
§2.53 Audit and evaluation activities.
§2.63(a) "A court order under these regulations may authorize disclosure of confidential communications made by a patient to a program in the course of diagnosis, treatment, or referral for treatment only if:...(2) The disclosure is necessary in connection with investigation or prosecution of an extremely serious crime, such as one which directly threatens loss of life or serious bodily injury, including homicide, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, or child abuse and neglect."
In summary, the only way you can disclose without the patient's consent, is by court order.
I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So if they are going to press charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter on the client (driver), do I need a release of information signed to give them any info on his treatment with me 2 years ago??
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So if they are going to press charges of vehicular homicide or manslaughter on the client (driver), do I need a release of information signed to give them any info on his treatment with me 2 years ago??

Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
As a general matter, and without knowing everything about the case, you either need the client's release, or you need a court order expressly requiring you to disclose.
Note: After you provide a positive rating for my answer, you may want to ask customer service to close and lock this Q&A session. Although you have not expressly disclosed your identity or the identity of your former client, there may be sufficient information here for a diligent investigator or prosecutor to determine your identity. And, that could lead to a further determination that you have disclosed confidential information.
I don't want to be an alarmist -- I'm just being proactive.
I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
Thanks again for using justanswer.com!

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