Dr. Katherine Michaelsen, CMHPL core faculty member, contributed to an educational module on confidentiality, free to access via the Yale website. The module is designed to teach general psychiatry residents about basic concepts in forensic psychiatry using an interactive, case-based format. It takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the concepts of confidentiality, privilege, and privacy
  2. Identify common legally allowable exceptions to confidentiality under state and federal law (i.e. HIPAA)
  3. Identify the steps to take when you receive a subpoena to relinquish medical records
  4. Apply your understanding to clinical encounters

This work was supported by an educational grant from the AAPL Institute for Education and Research.

Note: This module was developed for a national resident audience.  It gives an overview of mental health clinicians’ duty to warn/protect and discuss national variation, but does not describe the law specific to Washington state. 

Washington law on the duty to protect is currently governed by: 

  • Volk v. DeMeerleer (duty to protect foreseeable victims from a patient’s violent propensities; voluntary treatment settings); and
  • RCW 71.05.120 (duty to warn or take reasonable measures to protect when a patient has communicated an actual threat of physical violence against reasonably identifiable victim(s); involuntary treatment settings).