21 Jan 24

Substance Abuse Treatment Records Subpoenaed? Blocking Disclosures

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Last Updated on: 21st January 2024, 10:46 pm

A few key considerations regarding substance abuse treatment records and subpoenas:

  • Substance abuse treatment records are generally confidential under federal and state laws. However, there are certain exceptions where the records can be subpoenaed and disclosed without patient consent, such as pursuant to a court order.
  • If a subpoena is received for a patient’s substance abuse treatment records, the treatment provider cannot simply hand over the records. They must first determine if there is a basis to challenge or quash the subpoena to protect the patient’s confidentiality rights.
  • Grounds to challenge a subpoena may include that the subpoena is overly broad, vague, irrelevant to the court case, etc. There are very specific rules and procedures for challenging a subpoena that must be followed.
  • If the subpoena meets all legal requirements and there is no valid basis to quash it, the treatment provider is obligated to disclose the records, but they must limit the disclosure only to what is expressly required in the subpoena.