Introduced Version Senate Bill 352 History

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Senate Bill No. 352

(By Senator Unger)


         [Introduced February 22, 2013; referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary          .]                            


A BILL to amend and reenact §27-3-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to mandatory disclosure of a substantial danger of harm to a person by a mental health patient or client.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
    That §27-3-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§27-3-1. Definition of confidential information; disclosure.

    (a) Communications and information obtained in the course of treatment or evaluation of any client or patient are confidential information. Such The confidential information includes the fact that a person is or has been a client or patient, information transmitted by a patient or client or family thereof for purposes relating to diagnosis or treatment, information transmitted by persons participating in the accomplishment of the objectives of diagnosis or treatment, all diagnoses or opinions formed regarding a client's or patient's physical, mental or emotional condition, any advice, instructions or prescriptions issued in the course of diagnosis or treatment, and any record or characterization of the matters hereinbefore described. It does not include information which does not identify a client or patient, information from which a person acquainted with a client or patient would not recognize such the client or patient and uncoded information from which there is no possible means to identify a client or patient.
    (b) Confidential information shall may not be disclosed, except:
    (1) In a proceeding under section four, article five of this chapter to disclose the results of an involuntary examination made pursuant to section two, three or four of said that article;
    (2) In a proceeding under article six-a of this chapter to disclose the results of an involuntary examination made pursuant thereto;
    (3) Pursuant to an order of any court based upon a finding that the information is sufficiently relevant to a proceeding before the court to outweigh the importance of maintaining the confidentiality established by this section;
    (4) To provide notice to the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, established pursuant to section 103(d) of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. §922, in accordance with article seven-a, chapter sixty-one of this code;
    (5) To protect against a clear and substantial danger of imminent injury by a patient or client to himself, herself or another;
    (6) For treatment or internal review purposes, to staff of the mental health facility where the patient is being cared for or to other health professionals involved in treatment of the patient; and
    (7) Without the patient's consent as provided for under the Privacy Rule of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 45 C.F.R. §164.506, for thirty days from the date of admission to a mental health facility if: (i) The provider makes a good faith effort to obtain consent from the patient or legal representative prior to disclosure; (ii) the minimum information necessary is released for a specifically stated purpose; and (iii) prompt notice of the disclosure, the recipient of the information and the purpose of the disclosure is given to the patient or legal representative.
____(c) Notwithstanding any provision of law or rule to the contrary, confidential information shall be disclosed to potential victims and law enforcement to protect against a clear and substantial danger of imminent injury by a patient or client to another person.

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to make it mandatory for mental health professionals to tell a potential victim and law enforcement officials if a patient or client presents a clear and substantial risk of harm to another person.

    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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