It is not unusual for government agencies or attorneys to want health care records for investigations or various legal proceedings. (It is also not unusual for them to request the records for a hearing in the next couple of days, but that is an issue for a separate article.) In these situations it is important for everyone to recognize that a community mental health center’s records are usually going to be considered “mental health records”, which makes them distinctive from general health records. As a result, a Center’s records are subject to important protections that may not be fully appreciated by agencies and attorneys.
David Jose and Suzannah Overholt author "What’s So Special About Mental Health Records?" for the Indiana Council's Behavioral Health Newsletter. They discuss the common situation of how to respond to a Subpoena for a Center patient’s health records.