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Provider Manual Table of Contents


Patients' Rights

As required by State law, CMHS contracts with Patients' Rights Advocacy Services (PRAS) to investigate and resolve patient complaints and infractions of mandated rights and to train staff in compliance with these rights. All providers are required to cooperate with patients' rights activities according to Policy 3.11-2.

A copy of the SFMHP Consumer Services Guide is included in the binder for this manual. It includes what the SFMHP has assured members regarding their rights and responsibilities. We seek your assistance in assuring that these rights and Plan responsibilities to consumers are carried out.

Confidentiality/Release of Information

SFMHP providers are expected to maintain client confidentiality under applicable state and federal law as it applies to client-psychotherapist privilege, mandated child/elder abuse reporting requirements, and disclosure of drug and alcohol program records. These requirements are detailed in SFMHP Policies #3.06-1 Confidentiality and Release of Information of Mental Health Records (included in Appendix 14), 3.06-9, and 3.06-13. Policy 3.06-1 explains SFMHP policy for release of information.

If provider has concerns regarding release of client records required by an external source such as subpoenas, and court orders, the provider is advised to contact the SFMHP Access Team.


Individuals receiving mental health services have the right to decide whether or not to participate in mental health services. The individual's consent must be freely given and can be expressed (oral or written) or implied (e.g. existence of a medical emergency). The SFMHP Consent for Mental Health Services form contained in Appendix 15 along SFMHP consent policies should be used to document an individual's consent to participate in mental health services. If there is ever a dispute as to whether consent was given, proof of consent will be more readily established if it is in writing.

Scope of Practice

SFMHP providers use treatment approaches based on accepted national standards of professional practice. Psychotherapeutic modalities must be generally accepted by national mental health and professional associations and recognized in professional journals and standard psychological/psychiatric references.

Reporting of Child or Elder Abuse

SFMHP Policy #3.06-11 Special Situations Governing Release of Information Child Abuse Reporting Act-Disclosure Requirements and SFMHP Policy #3.06-13 Special Situations Governing Release of Information Physical Elder Abuse Reporting Requirements are included in Appendix 16.

Critical phone numbers are Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services at (415) 557-5230 and the Department of Human Services Child Emergency Service at (800) 856-5553 and (415) 558-2650.

Duty to Warn/Tarasoff

SFMHP Policy #3.06-09 Special Situations Governing Release of Information Duty to Warn (Tarasoff Decision) is included in Appendix 17.

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