Substitute House Bill No. 5410
          Substitute House Bill No. 5410

               PUBLIC ACT NO. 98-18


AN  ACT CONCERNING NOTIFICATION OF CERTAIN PATIENT
RIGHTS.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section  17a-548  of  the general statutes, as
amended by section 80 of public act  97-8  of  the
June  18  special  session,  is  repealed  and the
following is substituted in lieu thereof:
    (a)  Any  patient  shall  be permitted to wear
his or her own clothes; to keep and  use  personal
possessions  including toilet articles; except for
patients   hospitalized   in   Whiting    Forensic
Division;  to  be present during any search of his
personal possessions; to have access to individual
storage  space  for  such possessions; and in such
manner as determined by the facility  to  spend  a
reasonable sum of his or her own money for canteen
expenses and small purchases. These  rights  shall
be denied only if the superintendent, director, or
his authorized representative determines  that  it
is  medically  harmful  to the patient to exercise
such rights. An explanation of such  denial  shall
be  placed  in  the  patient's  permanent clinical
record.
    (b)  In connection with any litigation related
to  hospitalization,  or  at  any  time  following
discharge from the facility, any patient or his or
her attorney shall have the  right,  upon  written
request, to inspect all of such patient's hospital
records, and to make copies  thereof.  Unless  the
request  is made in connection with any litigation
related  to  hospitalization,  a   mental   health
facility, as defined in subdivision (5) of section
52-146d, may refuse to disclose any portion  of  a
patient's  record which the mental health facility
determines: (1) Would create  a  substantial  risk
that  the  patient  would inflict life-threatening
injury to self or to others or experience a severe
deterioration   in   mental   state;   (2)   would
constitute  an  invasion  of  privacy  of  another
person;  or  (3)  would  violate  an  assurance of
confidentiality  furnished  to   another   person,
provided  only  such  portion  of  the  record the
disclosure  of  which  would  not  constitute   an
invasion  of  privacy of another person or violate
an  assurance  of  confidentiality  furnished   to
another  person  shall  be  disclosed. Any patient
aggrieved by  a  facility's  refusal  to  disclose
under  this  subsection  may petition the Superior
Court for relief in the same manner as  a  patient
proceeding  under  section  4-105,  except that in
addition to notice and a hearing,  the  court  may
conduct  an  in  camera  review of the record. The
court shall order disclosure of the record by such
facility  unless  the  court  determines  that the
disclosure (A) would  create  a  substantial  risk
that  the  patient  would inflict life-threatening
injury to self or to others or experience a severe
deterioration   in  mental  state,  or  (B)  would
constitute  an  invasion  of  privacy  of  another
person,  or  (C)  would  violate  an  assurance of
confidentiality  furnished  to   another   person,
provided  if  the  court  orders disclosure of the
record,  only  such  portion  of  the  record  the
disclosure   of  which  would  not  constitute  an
invasion of privacy of another person  or  violate
an   assurance  of  confidentiality  furnished  to
another person shall be disclosed.
    (c)  A list of all in-hospital rights shall be
prominently  posted  in  each  ward  where  mental
health  services  are  provided.  SUCH  LIST SHALL
INCLUDE, BUT NOT  BE  LIMITED  TO,  THE  RIGHT  TO
LEAVE,  AS  AFFORDED  BY SUBSECTION (a) OF SECTION
17a-506, AS AMENDED, THE RIGHT TO  A  HEARING,  AS
AFFORDED BY SUBSECTION (d) OF SECTION 17a-502, AND
THE RIGHT TO FILE A COMPLAINT, AS AFFORDED BY  THE
HOSPITAL'S COMPLAINT PROCEDURE.
    (d)  Nothing in subsection (b) of this section
shall limit a patient's right  of  access  to  his
records under section 4-104.

Approved April 24, 1998