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Medical Records

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Records related to an individual’s treatment for substance abuse are strictly confidential. That confidentiality is protected by federal law and regulations as well as District of Columbia law and regulations.

Records of the identity, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment of any patient may be disclosed only under the following conditions:

1. With written authorization from the:

  • Patient or, for minor patients, his or her parent or legal guardian;
  • For patients adjudicated incompetent, the person authorized under District law to act on his or her behalf;
  • For deceased patients, the patient’s executor, administrator or personal representative.

2. Without patient authorization only under the following circumstances:

  • For the purpose of treating a condition that poses an immediate threat to the health of any individual and requires immediate medical intervention; or
  • If authorized by court order (Note: a subpoena alone is not sufficient for disclosure of this information. It must be accompanied by a court order.).

To request a record, you must submit a completed Request for Release of Information / Authorization – HIPAA Form 3  DBH Privacy Officer. 

You can submit the request by mail or fax. The Medical Records hours of operation are Monday- Friday 8:00am – 4:30 pm (when the District government is open).  

ATTN: Medical Records
DC Department of Behavioral Health
35 K  Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 442-7868 Phone
(202) 727-0855 or (202) 442-7078  Confidential  Fax

When responding to a request for protected health information, the Privacy Officer must verify the identity and authority of the requesting individual. Documents appropriate to verify identity include:

  • valid driver’s license;
  • photographic identification card;
  • passport;
  • government badge/identification card; or 
  • Government letterhead. 

The requesting individual must also present evidence of an appropriate relationship with the client with respect to healthcare. Documents appropriate to verify authority include:

  • identification as parent, guardian, or acting in loco parentis with respect to minors;
  • executor or administrator with respect to a deceased individual or estate;
  • power of attorney or other legal authority to act on behalf of an individual with respect to health care; or
  • Other evidence of an appropriate relationship.

Note: The release of protected health information provided to DBH only applies to information controlled by DBH. It is not applicable to protected health information controlled by another agency providing treatment services, including treatment plans, toxicology reports, encounter notes, discharge summaries and other information related to treatment. If you would like for the agency providing treatment to disclose protected health information to a third party, you must provide that agency with written authorization.


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