Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 35. Department of Behavioral Health And Developmental Services
Chapter 115. Regulations to Assure the Rights of Individuals Receiving Services from Providers Licensed, Funded, or Operated by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

12VAC35-115-90. Access to and amendment of services records.

A. With respect to his own services record, each individual and his authorized representative has the right to:

1. See, read, and get a copy of his own services record, except information that is privileged pursuant to § 8.01-581.17 of the Code of Virginia, and information compiled by the provider in reasonable anticipation of or for use in a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding;

2. Let certain other people see, read, or get a copy of his own services record if the individual is restricted by law from seeing, reading, or receiving a copy;

3. Challenge, request to amend, or receive an explanation of anything in his services record; and

4. Let anyone who sees his record, regardless of whether amendments to the record have been made, know that the individual has tried to amend the record or explain his position and what happened as a result.

B. With respect to the services records of minors:

1. A minor must have the permission of a parent, guardian, or other person standing in loco parentis before he can access his services record. He may access his services record without this permission only if the records pertain to treatment for sexually transmitted or reportable contagious diseases, family planning or pregnancy, outpatient care, treatment or rehabilitation for substance use disorders, mental illness or emotional disturbance, or inpatient psychiatric hospitalization when a minor is 14 years of age or older and has consented to the admission.

2. A parent may access his minor child's services record unless prohibited by 42 CFR Part 2, parental rights have been terminated, a court order provides otherwise, or the minor's treating physician or clinical psychologist has determined, in the exercise of professional judgment, that disclosure to the parent would be reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to the minor or another person.

C. The provider's duties.

1. Providers shall tell each individual and his authorized representative how he can access and request amendment of his own services record.

2. Providers shall permit each individual to see his services record when he requests it and to request amendments if necessary.

a. Access to all or a part of an individual's services record may be denied or limited only if a physician or a clinical psychologist involved in providing services to the individual talks to the individual, examines the services record as a result of the individual's request for access, and signs and puts in the services record permanently a written statement that he thinks access to the services record by the individual at this time would be reasonably likely to endanger the life or physical safety of the individual or another person or that the services record makes reference to a person other than a health care provider and the access requested would be reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to the referenced person. The physician or clinical psychologist shall also tell the individual as much about his services record as he can without risking harm to the individual.

b. If access is denied in whole or in part, the provider shall give the individual or his authorized representative a written statement that explains the basis for the denial, the individual's review rights, as set forth in the following subdivisions, how he may exercise them, and how the individual may file a complaint with the provider or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, if applicable. If restrictions are placed on access, the individual shall be notified of the restrictions and conditions for their removal. These restrictions and conditions also shall be specified in the services record.

(1) If the individual requests a review of denial of access, the provider shall designate a physician or clinical psychologist who was not directly involved in the denial to review the decision to deny access. The physician or clinical psychologist shall determine within a reasonable period of time whether or not to deny the access requested in accordance with the standard in subdivision 2 a of this subsection. The provider shall promptly provide the individual notice of the physician's or psychologist's determination and provide or deny access in accordance with that determination.

(2) At the individual's option, the individual may designate at his own expense a reviewing physician or clinical psychologist who was not directly involved in the denial to review the decision to deny access in accordance with the standard in subdivision 2 a of this subsection. If the individual chooses this option, the provider is not required to designate a physician or clinical psychologist to review the decision.

c. If the provider limits or refuses to let an individual see his services record, the provider shall also notify the advocate and tell the individual that he can ask to have a lawyer or authorized insurer of his choice see his record. If the individual makes this request, the provider shall disclose the record to that lawyer or authorized insurer (§ 8.01-413 of the Code of Virginia).

3. Providers shall, without charge, give individuals any help they may need to read and understand their services record and request amendments to it.

4. If an individual asks to challenge, amend, or explain any information contained in his services record, the provider shall investigate and file in the services record a written report concerning the individual's request.

a. If the report finds that the services record is incomplete, inaccurate, not pertinent, not timely, or not necessary, the provider shall:

(1) Either mark that part of the services record clearly to say so, or else remove that part of the services record and file it separately with an appropriate cross reference to indicate that the information was removed;

(2) Not disclose the original services record without separate specific authorization or legal authority (e.g., if compelled by subpoena or other court order);

(3) Obtain the individual's identification of and agreement to have the provider notify the relevant persons of the amendment; and

(4) Promptly notify in writing all persons who have received the incorrect information and all persons identified by the individual that the services record has been corrected.

b. If a request to amend the services record is denied, the provider shall give the individual a written statement containing the basis for the denial and notify the individual of his right to submit a statement of disagreement and how to submit such a statement. The provider shall also give the individual (i) a statement that if a statement of disagreement is not submitted that the individual may request the provider to disclose the request for amendment and the denial with future disclosures of information and (ii) a description of how the individual may complain to the provider or the Secretary of Health and Human Services, if applicable. Upon request, the provider shall file in the services record the individual's statement of disagreement. If needed, the provider shall help the individual to write this statement. If a statement is filed, the provider shall:

(1) Give all persons who have copies of the record a copy of the individual's statement.

(2) Clearly note in any later disclosure of the record that it is disputed and include a copy of the statement with the disputed record.

Statutory Authority

§§ 37.2-203 and 37.2-400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 3, eff. November 21, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 23, Issue 25, eff. September 19, 2007; Errata, 24:6 VA.R. 889 November 26, 2007; amended, Virginia Register Volume 33, Issue 10, eff. February 9, 2017.

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