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Critical Legislative Update
By - September 9, 2019 - Uncategorized

MICHAEL G. HOLLER, MA, NCC, CFMHE, CCCE, CCMHC, LMHC

Many, if not all of us received a notice on or about June 28th of this year regarding  the legislative update on SB 1418, informing us that a we now are required, as persons licensed or certified under chapter 491, F.S., to notify law enforcement if a patient or client communicates a specific threat to cause serious bodily injury or death to an identified or a readily available person.

394.4615 F.S. has been amended as follows:

Clinical records; confidentiality.—

(3) Information from the clinical record may be released in the following circumstances:

(a) When a patient has communicated to a service provider a specific threat to cause serious bodily injury or death to an identified or a readily available person, if the service provider reasonably believes, or should reasonably believe according to the standards of his or her profession, that the patient has the apparent intent and ability to imminently or immediately carry out such threat. When such communication has been made, the administrator may authorize the release of sufficient information to provide adequate warning to the person threatened with harm by the patient. states “When a patient has communicated to a service provider a specific threat to cause serious bodily injury or death to an identified or a readily available person, if the service provider reasonably believes, or should reasonably believe according to the standards of his or her profession, that the patient has the apparent intent and ability to imminently or immediately carry out such threat. When such communication has been made, the administrator may authorize the release of sufficient information to provide adequate warning to the person threatened with harm by the patient.”

Additionally, 491.0147 states that any communication between any person licensed or certified under this chapter and her or his patient or client is confidential.  However, this statute has been amended as follows:

491.0147 (1) (c) Confidentiality and privileged communications.

(1) This privilege may be waived under the following conditions:

(c) When a patient or client has communicated to the person licensed or certified under this chapter a specific threat to cause serious bodily injury or death to an identified or readily available person, and the person licensed or certified under this chapter makes a clinical judgment that the patient or client has the apparent intent and ability to imminently or immediately carry out such threat, and the person licensed or certified under this chapter communicates the information to the potential victim. A disclosure of confidential communications by a person licensed or certified under this chapter when communicating a threat pursuant to this subsection may not be the basis of any legal action or criminal or civil liability against such person.

So F.S. 491.0147 (1) (c) gives us permission to waive confidentiality under these circumstances.  But F.S. 394.4615 (3) (a) requires us to do so.  Most of us are aware of the famous case of Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California.  Essentially, this our own version of Tarasoff.

MICHAEL G. HOLLER, MA, NCC, CFMHE, CCCE, CCMHC, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor #3670, State of Florida
National Certified Counselor #29912
Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor #476234
Certified Forensic Mental Health Evaluator, #000049
Florida Supreme Court Certified Family & County Mediator, #15533CF
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Past President & Ethics Committee Chair, Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA)
michaelholler.com
305-393-1230

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