The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will hold a public meeting in Chicago on Oct. 7 as federal officials continue to study whether HIPAA privacy protections for mental health information should be strengthened by broadening the definition of "psychotherapy notes" to include test data.

SAMHSA is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services and is working with the HHS Office for Civil Rights on the study.

Section 13424 of the HITECH Act requires the study: "The Secretary shall study the definition of 'psychotherapy notes' in section 164.501 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, with regard to including test data that is related to direct responses, scores, items, forms, protocols, manuals, or other materials that are part of a mental health evaluation, as determined by the mental health professional providing treatment or evaluation in such definitions and may, based on such study, issue regulations to revise such definition."

The Chicago meeting is one of a series of regional events for stakeholders to learn about the issue and provide input. Registration is required but there is no charge for the meeting. Another meeting will be held in Los Angeles in late November or early December.

For more information and to register for the Chicago meeting, click here.

--Joseph Goedert


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