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Iowa's privacy laws on the exchange of mental health records are among the most strict in the country.  With new federal laws in place, most states have moved to align their state laws with federal law (HIPAA, which stands for the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act).   Our neighbors Wisconsin and Ilinois were among the most recent to make the change.  

Before session, health providers and mental health advocates got together to work on a bill that would revise Iowa's mental health information privacy laws to make sure a person's health care providers could exchange mental health information between each other in order to coordinate care.  So things like what medications a person is on, or their treatment plan and diagnosis.  By federal law, the provider is only allowed to disclose the "minimum necessary amount needed" for patient care coordination.  So things in a patient's psychotherapy notes would never be exchanged unless the patient okays it in writing.

At an early meeting, mental health advocates said this was important for patient safety, so a provider knows all the medications a person is taking so they can avoid potentially dangerous interactions.  Earlier this year, the Senate passed Senate File 2144 with only one legislator voting no (Sen. Jake Chapman of Adel).  This week, the House passed the bill unaimously (96-0).  The bill is now on its way to the Governor's office.