Published August 18, 2016
David Grant USAF Medical Center - Mental Health Clinic Client Information Sheet
Welcome to DGMC's Mental Health Clinic! Clients are often unsure what to expect in a Mental Health Clinic. We encourage you to consider the following points regarding your care, and discuss them with your provider as appropriate.
You can expect the attention, respect, and best professional efforts of your provider. Your provider will treat you as a responsible individual and will expect you to take an active part in your treatment. Anticipate taking an active role in the treatment decisions. You should understand the goals and direction therapy is taking, and if you do not understand, we encourage you to ask.
Before initiating a professional evaluation or treatment relationship with a provider, we want you to know about privacy ground rules. Generally, information discussed during the evaluation and treatment sessions is confidential and not disclosed to anyone outside the clinic without your permission. However, it is sometimes helpful to involve others (such as unit leadership, family, etc.) in your evaluation or treatment. Your provider will obtain your consent before contacting them or releasing information.
Under some limited circumstances, however, information may be released without your permission. These are discussed below:
Records of Your Care
Every client visit to Mental Health is documented in the electronic outpatient medical record. These entries are as brief as possible to protect your privacy. It is important, however, that providers caring for you in other clinics be aware of the care you are receiving here. Detailed notes documenting your mental health care are maintained in your mental health record. The mental health record is secured in the Mental Health Clinic.
Disclosure Policy and Non-Active Duty Clients
The privacy of non-active duty clients is protected by the Federal Privacy Act and is not generally governed by other military regulations, unless the individual is also a Department of Defense employee. Most information related to the treatment of non-active duty clients is not releasable without the written consent of the client. Excluded from consent requirements are such activities as quality assurance reviews by other mental health professionals and collection of information for medical research (without personal identifiers). Other releases generally require your written consent. Exceptions for active duty and non-active duty include:
Access to Information by Commanders
Commanders may obtain access to the records of their members to ensure fitness for duty or a client's record when the contents of mental health records are essential to the accomplishment of a military mission. Additionally, commanders will be notified if a member's condition impacts suitability for certain duties.
Crimes or Fraud
Providers must report any threat to commit crimes or fraud by non-military as well as military clients.
Providers must report suspected child/elder abuse or neglect to military agencies, local child/elder abuse protective authorities, or both.
Intimate Partner or Spouse Maltreatment
Generally, providers must report suspected incidents of partner violence to military agencies. In certain situations, if you are an adult victim of violence, you may be eligible for a restricted report. A restricted report allows you to seek medical/counseling services without involving law enforcement and/or command. For more information, please speak to your provider or contact the Family Advocacy Program at 423-5168
Generally, providers must report disclosed incidents of sexual assault to military agencies. In certain situations, if you are an adult victim of violence, you may be eligible for a restricted report. A restricted report allows you to seek medical/counseling services without involving law enforcement and/or command. For more information, please speak to your provider or contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) at 424-7272.
Danger to Self or Others
Providers must take steps to protect individuals from harm when the client presents a serious threat to the life or safety of themselves or others. This involves consultation with your Primary Care Manager and other medical/behavioral health staff and involvement of your commander and/or First Sergeant (for active duty members). In cases of very high risk, hospitalization may be necessary. It is our policy to contact clients who have increased risk factors for suicide if they do not keep a scheduled appointment. If we are unable to reach the client, we will notify someone who can help check on their status (including the commander or First Sergeant, if active duty).
Exception for active duty only include:
Drug or Alcohol Abuse
Providers must report all suspected instances of drug/alcohol abuse by active duty clients to rehabilitation programs and commanders. For more information, please contact the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) program at 423-2348.
Transfer of Records
Service members scheduled for a permanent change of station and who require continued treatment will be scheduled for a follow-up appointment with the Mental Health Clinic at their gaining base prior to their departure. We will notify you if we need to contact your gaining base's mental health clinic. Any mental health records from the current base will be forwarded to the Mental Health Clinic at the gaining base. In cases where the individual's mental health concerns may result in adverse mission impact, the gaining Commander will also be notified.
Cancellations with less than 24-hours notice: Clients who do not show for their appointments or who cancel with less than 24-hours notice will be coded as "no-show" appointments. Units may receive lists of service members who no-show to medical appointments. We understand that duty requirements often conflict with medical appointments and will make efforts to record the reasons for cancelled and missed appointments in the Mental Health Record.
For a fuller understanding of mental health clinic procedures and limits to confidentiality, please contact the Mental Health Clinic at 423-5174 and request to be provided with the Informed Consent document.
John E. Simons, Lt Col, USAF, BSC
Chief, Mental Health Clinic
David Grant USAF Medical Center