Should you change your clinical documentation for people at risk for deportation?

Should you change your clinical documentation for people at risk for deportation?

From the blog Statnews.com, “Why I’ve learning to leave blank spots in some patients’ medical records,” posted 3-6-17.  This article reviews potential problems that medical documentation can cause for undocumented people.   To cut to the chase: HIPPA protects patient health information, but it is “not an unconditional legal shield” if you are working undocumented people who may be subject to deportation.

The author recommends not documenting history that could be used against the person in a deportation hearing and phone numbers that could lead authorities to vulnerable family members and members of their community.  Also, these  patients stop coming in for care, this may mean they are fearful of something bad happening, and the author recommends reaching out to them to reassure them that you are not part of an effort to deport them.

mhconcierge’s take: The article was written by an MD, but is applicable to mental health professionals.

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