Code of the District of Columbia

§ 14–307. Physicians and mental health professionals.

(a) In the Federal courts in the District of Columbia and District of Columbia courts a physician or surgeon or mental health professional as defined by § 7-1201.01(11) or a domestic violence counselor as defined in § 14-310(a)(2), a human trafficking counselor as defined in §  14-311(a)(2), or a sexual assault victim advocate as defined in §  14-312(a)(7) may not be permitted, without the consent of the client, or of his legal representative, to disclose any information, confidential in its nature, that he has acquired in attending a client in a professional capacity and that was necessary to enable him to act in that capacity, whether the information was obtained from the client or from his family or from the person or persons in charge of him.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) evidence in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, family, or domestic violence proceeding where a person is targeted for or charged with causing the death of or injuring a human being, or with attempting or threatening to kill or injure a human being, or a report has been filed with the police pursuant to § 7-2601, and the disclosure is required in the interests of public justice;

(2) evidence relating to the mental competency or sanity of an accused in criminal trials where the accused raises the defense of insanity or where the court is required under prevailing law to raise the defense sua sponte, or in the pretrial or posttrial proceedings involving a criminal case where a question arises concerning the mental condition of an accused or convicted person;

(3) evidence relating to the mental competency or sanity of a child alleged to be delinquent, neglected, or in need of supervision in any proceeding before the Family Division of the Superior Court;

(4) evidence in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, or civil proceeding where a person is alleged to have defrauded the District of Columbia or federal government in relation to receiving or providing services under the District of Columbia medical assistance program authorized by title 19 of the Social Security Act, approved July 30, 1965 (79 Stat. 343; 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq.), or where a person is alleged to have defrauded a health care benefit program; or

(5) evidence in a criminal or delinquency proceeding where a person is charged with an impaired driving offense and where the person caused the death of or injury to a human being, and the disclosure is required in the interest of public justice.

(c) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Health care benefit program” means any public or private plan or contract under which a medical benefit, item, or service is or may be provided to an individual, and includes an individual or entity who provides a medical benefit, item, or service for which payment may be made under the plan or contract.

(2) “Injury” includes, in addition to physical damage to the body, a sexual act or sexual contact prohibited by Chapter 30 of Title 22.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 552, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 143(3); Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-136, § 805(b), 25 DCR 5055; Mar. 16, 1985, D.C. Law 5-193, § 7, 32 DCR 1010; Mar. 25, 1986, D.C. Law 6-99, § 1101(a), 33 DCR 729; Apr. 30, 1988, D.C. Law 7-104, § 3, 35 DCR 147; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 99, 51 DCR 881; Mar. 2, 2007, D.C. Law 16-204, § 3(b), 53 DCR 9059; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 32, 53 DCR 6198; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 207, 56 DCR 7413; Oct. 23, 2010, D.C. Law 18-239, § 203(b), 57 DCR 5405; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-266, § 301, 59 DCR 12957; Nov. 20, 2014, D.C. Law 20-139, § 102(b), 61 DCR 5913.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-307.

1973 Ed., § 14-307.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-1321.02, § 4-1321.05, § 4-1371.12, § 7-1911, § 16-2359, § 16-2388, § 34-1802, and § 47-368.02.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-105, in subsec. (a), substituted “§ 7-1201.01(11)” for “the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act of 1978 (D.C. Official Code, sec. 7-1201.01 et seq.)”.

D.C. Law 16-204, in subsec. (a), substituted “as defined in § 7-1201.01(11) or a domestic violence counselor as defined in § 14-310(a)(2)” for “as defined in § 7-1201.01(11)”.

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (a), substituted “client” for “person afflicted”.

D.C. Law 18-88, in subsec. (b)(1), substituted “evidence in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, family, or domestic violence proceeding where a person is targeted for or charged with causing the death of or injuring a human being, or with attempting or threatening to kill or injure a human being, or a report has been filed with the police pursuant to § 7-2601,” for “evidence in criminal cases where the accused is charged with causing the death of, or inflicting injuries upon, a human being,”; in subsec. (b)(4), substituted “in a grand jury, criminal, delinquency, or civil proceeding” for “in criminal or civil cases” and substituted “approved July 30, 1965 (79 Stat. 343; 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq.), or where a person is alleged to have defrauded a health care benefit program.” for “approved July 30, 1965 (79 Stat. 343; 42 U.S.C. sec. 1396 et seq.).”; and added subsec. (c).

D.C. Law 18-239, in subsec. (b), substituted “defined in § 14-310(a)(2), or a human trafficking counselor as defined in § 14-311(a)(2)” for “defined in § 14-310(a)(2)”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-266 added (b)(5); and made related changes.

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-139 substituted "a human trafficking counselor as defined in § 14-311(a)(2), or a sexual assault victim advocate as defined in § 14-312(a)(7)" for "or a human trafficking counselor as defined in § 14-311(a)(2)" in (a).

Cross References

Adult protective services proceedings, waiver of professional privilege, see § 7-1911.

Family division proceedings, privilege under this section, see § 16-2359.

Neglected children proceedings, waiver of privilege, see § 4-1321.05.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 207 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 207 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 301 of Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-429, July 30, 2012, 59 DCR 9387).

For temporary amendment of (b), see § 301 of the Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C Act 19-508, October 26, 2012, 59 DCR 13325).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 301 of the Comprehensive Impaired Driving and Alcohol Testing Program Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-3, January 29, 2013, 60 DCR 2762, 20 DCSTAT 410).

Editor's Notes

Section 301 of D.C. Law 20-139 provided that the Mayor, pursuant to § 2-501 et seq., may issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.