Attorney Access to Records DMH & DMH Licensed Facilities

Occasionally attorneys have problems accessing client records at some private psychiatric facilities.  Specifically, at some facilities attorneys have been denied access without their having first obtained client consent.  Although obtaining a client’s consent is good practice, it is not required. “The patient’s attorney shall be permitted to inspect the record upon request. The Commissioner or designee may require that the request be in writing and may further require appropriate verification of the attorney-client relationship.” 104 CMR 27.17(8)(c).  “. . . [A]ny attorney (or legal advocate or paralegal working under the supervision of a MHPAP or MHLAC attorney) who represents a consumer, shall have access to the consumer, the consumer’s records, the hospital staff responsible for the consumer’s care and treatment, and any meetings that the consumer attends or has the right to attend.” DMH Policy 95-4,  section C, last sentence.}  See, also, correspondence of DMH Deputy General Counsel, below.

Further, DMH has made clear that counsel representing respondents in guardianship proceedings are to be afforded access to client records, pursuant to language in the standard Probate Court Order Appointing Counsel. See correspondence of DMH of General Counsel, dated October 13, 2010.