The authors studied potential violations by mental health centers of
individuals' rights to privacy and confidentiality by sending
questionnaires to state directors of mental health programs and to mental
health centers in all the 50 United States and its teritories. The
questionnaires assessed the extent to which information that could identify
a patient is reported to state offices; it also addressed issues of mental
health center discretion in reporting information, the life span of patient
files, and the access of outside agencies to mental health center files.
The authors conclude that legislative action prohibiting the reporting of
identifying information appears desirable.