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Navigating Medical Privacy Laws for Non-Custodial Parents ARTICLE V. PRIVILEGES Part 2

by | Nov 11, 2023 | Firm News

Introduction: Hello to all non-custodial parents, fathers, and husbands in Brazoria and Galveston counties! I’m Ben Beveridge, the founder of Beveridge Law Firm, and I’m here to guide you through the complexities of medical privacy laws that can impact your legal journey. As a former non-custodial parent who successfully gained equal access to my children through legal channels, I am passionate about helping you secure the time you deserve with your kids. Join me as we explore Rule 509, specifically the Physician–Patient Privilege, and Rule 510, addressing Mental Health Information Privilege in Civil Cases.

Understanding Medical Privileges:

Rule 509: Physician–Patient Privilege

You have the right to maintain the confidentiality of your medical communications. Rule 509 protects your confidential communications with a physician, ensuring that these discussions remain private. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Definitions: Understand who qualifies as a “patient” and a “physician” under this rule.
  • Confidential Communications: Your medical communications are considered confidential if not intended for disclosure to third parties, with specific exceptions outlined in the rule.
  • Limited Privilege in a Criminal Case: Note that there is no physician–patient privilege in a criminal case. However, certain confidential communications related to alcohol or drug abuse may be inadmissible.
  • General Rule in a Civil Case: In civil cases, you have the privilege to refuse disclosure of confidential communications between you and a physician, as well as records related to your identity, diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment.
  • Who May Claim in a Civil Case: Both you and your representative have the authority to claim this privilege, with the physician also presumed to have the authority to claim it on your behalf.
  • Exceptions in a Civil Case: Be aware of exceptions, including proceedings against a physician, written consent for release, actions to collect medical service claims, and situations where a party relies on your physical, mental, or emotional condition as part of a claim or defense.
  • Consent for Release of Privileged Information: If necessary, consent for the release of privileged information must be in writing, specifying the information, reasons for release, and the recipient.

Rule 510: Mental Health Information Privilege in Civil Cases

In addition to physician–patient privilege, Rule 510 addresses the confidentiality of mental health information. Here are key points:

  • Definitions: Understand the terms “professional,” “patient,” “patient’s representative,” and what constitutes a “confidential” communication.
  • General Rule; Disclosure: Similar to Rule 509, you have the privilege to refuse disclosure of confidential mental health communications and related records in civil cases.
  • Who May Claim: Both you and your representative can claim this privilege, with the professional presumed to have authority.
  • Exceptions: Exceptions include proceedings against a professional, written waiver, actions to collect mental health service claims, communication made in a court-ordered examination, reliance on your condition as part of a claim or defense, abuse or neglect proceedings, among others.

Call to Action: As a dedicated advocate for non-custodial parents, I’m here to help you navigate these intricate legal landscapes. If you find yourself facing challenges in accessing your children or dealing with court-ordered possession issues, reach out to my office at 281-407-0961 or submit your information at Let’s work together to ensure you receive the time with your children that you rightfully deserve.