Facilities and mental health professionals have an obligation to maintain patient records so they are not accessible to persons who are not authorized to view them. However, police reports (“incident report”) referencing a detainee’s referral for mental health examination is public information.
Police records may contain references to a Baker Act admission. However, these are public records and may require special action in order to have them sealed, if they can be sealed at all. Depending on the depth of a background check, these records may appear should an employer, potential employer, or potential landlord run a background check.
Under the terms of the Baker Act, patients have the right to review or the right to reasonable access of their clinical records provided there is no information that would be considered harmful to the patient. One of the challenges this presents is how harmful is determined, and what may be considered reasonable access.
The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164, Subparts A, C, and E, the Privacy and Security Rules) [HIPAA] allows for a person to request their medical records for review, or to request a copy of them. This also applies to Baker Act records. You will have to sign a consent form, and you may be asked to pay for copies of your records. Should a facility or provider fail to provide the records for review or copy at your request, you may need legal help to gain access.
Contact Talmadge Law Firm if you are having difficulty obtaining copies or access to your Florida records due to a Baker Act admission.