Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1203.01. Disclosures within a mental health facility or to participating providers.

(a) Mental health information may be disclosed to other individuals employed at the individual mental health facility when and to the extent necessary to facilitate the delivery of professional services to the client.

(b) Subject to subsection (c) of this section, a health care provider or its third-party payor may disclose mental health information to another health care provider in connection with the diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, case management, conduct of quality assessment and improvement activities, or rehabilitation of a health or mental disorder or disease when and to the extent necessary to facilitate the delivery of health or professional services to the client. The authority to disclose mental health information under this subsection does not include the authority to disclose progress notes.

(c)(1) A health care provider shall notify its clients, in plain language in writing, upon registration:

(A) Whether the health care provider or its third-party payor privacy practices permit the disclosure of mental health information pursuant to subsection (b) of this section; and

(B) That a client may request that his or her mental health information not be disclosed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(2) If a client requests that his or her mental health information not be disclosed, the health care provider or its third-party payor shall not disclose the client’s mental health information pursuant to subsection (b) of this section; provided, that nothing contained in this subsection shall prohibit a health care provider from disclosing mental health information pursuant to another provision of this chapter or pursuant to Chapter 2B of this title [§ 7-241 et seq.].

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

(1) “Health care provider” means:

(A) A person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized under Chapter 12 of Title 3 [§  3-1201.01 et seq.] to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a health occupation or in an approved education or training program;

(B) A person licensed or permitted to practice a health occupation under the laws of another state; or

(C) A facility where health or mental health services are provided to patients or recipients, including a hospital, clinic, office, nursing home, infirmary, health maintenance organization, medical laboratory, provider, as defined by § 7-1131.02(27), or similar entity licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the District of Columbia.

(2) “Progress notes” means notes recorded, in any medium, by a health care provider who is a mental health professional documenting or analyzing the contents of conversation during a private counseling session or a group, joint, or family counseling session and that are separated from the rest of the individual’s medical record. The term “progress notes” excludes medication prescription and monitoring, counseling session start and stop times, the modalities and frequencies of treatment furnished, results of clinical tests, and any summary of the following items: diagnosis, functional status, the treatment plan, symptoms, prognosis, and progress to date.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-136, § 301, 25 DCR 5055; Dec. 18, 2001, D.C. Law 14-56, § 116(f)(4), 48 DCR 7674; Dec. 15, 2015, D.C. Law 21-37, § 2, 62 DCR 13739; Mar. 13, 2019, D.C. Law 22-244, § 2, 66 DCR 960.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-2021.

1973 Ed., § 6-1622.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-56, in the heading, substituted “facility.” for “facility or to participating providers.”; designated subsec. (a); and added subsec. (b).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-37 rewrote (b); and added (c) and (d).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Mental Health Information Disclosure Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-311, Apr. 4, 2018, 65 DCR 3804).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 16(f)(4) of Department of Mental Health Establishment Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-55, May 2, 2001, 48 DCR 4390).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 16(f)(4) of Department of Mental Health Establishment Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-101, July 23, 2001, 48 DCR 7123).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 116(f)(4) of Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-144, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 9947).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of Mental Health Information Disclosure Temporary Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Law 22-117, July 3, 2018, 65 DCR 5062).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 16(f)(4) of Department of Mental Health Establishment Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-51, October 30, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 10807).