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Ruling: Patient interviews on harm risk aren't confidential

court ruling gavel AP
Posted at 9:01 AM, Jul 15, 2021

PHOENIX — An Arizona court ruling says mental health patients aren’t entitled to confidentiality by clinical social workers regarding statements patients make during interviews to evaluate whether they might harm themselves or others.

The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that clinical social workers aren’t providing behavioral health services when interacting with patients only about risk of harm.

The ruling stemmed from two patients’ objections to testimony by social workers during court hearings on the involuntary treatment of the patients.

The Court of Appeals said the social workers hadn’t provided treatment but told the patients that comments on risks of harm weren't confidential.