Privilege rules govern the disclosure of confidential information in judicial and administrative proceedings. Statutes protect certain types of relationships at the expense of full disclosure to encourage open communication in these relationships. One type of privilege exists between physicians or psychotherapists and their patients, including child and adolescent patients. Federal regulations protect information disclosed in the course of psychotherapy, based on the assumption that effective treatment would be impossible if a patient did not feel assured of a confidential discourse. In work with children and adolescents, some important issues of privilege may arise. Information disclosed in the presence of a third person, such as a parent, has traditionally not been regarded as privileged, but this rule is under review in many jurisdictions. Another issue is whether information that a physician receives from family members or other third parties about a child's treatment is protected by privilege. Consultants need to be aware of the specific rulings on these questions in their jurisdiction.

Exceptions to Privilege

Several exceptions to the general rule of privilege apply to commitment proceedings, will contests, and criminal matters. In work with minors, exceptions are also made regarding information about child abuse or neglect. In some jurisdictions, privilege can be waived in child custody cases, even if the child and parents object.

Waiver of Privileges

Physician-patient privileges may be waived at the discretion of the patient or the person authorized to act on the patient's behalf. In some court hearings, a guardian ad litem is appointed to decide whether an incompetent child would choose to waive his or her privilege if competent to do so. Children and adolescents may decline to exercise their right to privilege, and in some jurisdictions, parents or legal guardians can waive privilege on behalf of their child. When parents are divorced or separated, the consultant must establish if this authorization to waive privi lege needs to be obtained from both parents. In custody disputes, parents often disagree about disclosure of confidential information. Privilege may also be waived when the patient has already testified about his or her treatment. The consultant should be particularly cautious about releasing information to lawyers or legal representatives unless the patient or parents have signed a release. This caution extends to subpoenaed requests for information.

Stop Anxiety Attacks

Stop Anxiety Attacks

Here's How You Could End Anxiety and Panic Attacks For Good Prevent Anxiety in Your Golden Years Without Harmful Prescription Drugs. If You Give Me 15 minutes, I Will Show You a Breakthrough That Will Change The Way You Think About Anxiety and Panic Attacks Forever! If you are still suffering because your doctor can't help you, here's some great news...!

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment