Andy Marso reports:
Susan Eyman, a psychologist in Lawrence, Kansas, told a patient last year that the patient’s insurance company had requested her notes from their therapy sessions as part of an audit of her billings.
Eyman said the patient was shocked. The notes included intensely personal things about trauma he had told her in strict confidence. He asked if she could assure the confidentiality of the notes once Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas had them.
“And I said, ‘No, of course not,’ ” Eyman said. “Of course I can’t. If you send this information out there, it’s out there.”
Eyman said she refused to turn over the notes and was forced to pay back thousands in BCBS Kansas reimbursements.
I recently experienced this same issue myself, but with a different insurer. A long-term care patient’s insurer suddenly started asking me for therapy notes. I was appalled, because psychotherapy notes are among the most sensitive notes anywhere. I think asking for therapy goals and some measure of progress is appropriate and acceptable, but actual therapy notes? I’ll see what, if anything, we can negotiate, I guess, and then decide what to do.