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The Florida Statutes

The 2016 Florida Statutes

Title VII
EVIDENCE
Chapter 90
EVIDENCE CODE
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F.S. 90.503
90.503 Psychotherapist-patient privilege.
(1) For purposes of this section:
(a) A “psychotherapist” is:
1. A person authorized to practice medicine in any state or nation, or reasonably believed by the patient so to be, who is engaged in the diagnosis or treatment of a mental or emotional condition, including alcoholism and other drug addiction;
2. A person licensed or certified as a psychologist under the laws of any state or nation, who is engaged primarily in the diagnosis or treatment of a mental or emotional condition, including alcoholism and other drug addiction;
3. A person licensed or certified as a clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, or mental health counselor under the laws of this state, who is engaged primarily in the diagnosis or treatment of a mental or emotional condition, including alcoholism and other drug addiction;
4. Treatment personnel of facilities licensed by the state pursuant to chapter 394, chapter 395, or chapter 397, of facilities designated by the Department of Children and Families pursuant to chapter 394 as treatment facilities, or of facilities defined as community mental health centers pursuant to s. 394.907(1), who are engaged primarily in the diagnosis or treatment of a mental or emotional condition, including alcoholism and other drug addiction; or
5. An advanced registered nurse practitioner certified under s. 464.012, whose primary scope of practice is the diagnosis or treatment of mental or emotional conditions, including chemical abuse, and limited only to actions performed in accordance with part I of chapter 464.
(b) A “patient” is a person who consults, or is interviewed by, a psychotherapist for purposes of diagnosis or treatment of a mental or emotional condition, including alcoholism and other drug addiction.
(c) A communication between psychotherapist and patient is “confidential” if it is not intended to be disclosed to third persons other than:
1. Those persons present to further the interest of the patient in the consultation, examination, or interview.
2. Those persons necessary for the transmission of the communication.
3. Those persons who are participating in the diagnosis and treatment under the direction of the psychotherapist.
(2) A patient has a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent any other person from disclosing, confidential communications or records made for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of the patient’s mental or emotional condition, including alcoholism and other drug addiction, between the patient and the psychotherapist, or persons who are participating in the diagnosis or treatment under the direction of the psychotherapist. This privilege includes any diagnosis made, and advice given, by the psychotherapist in the course of that relationship.
(3) The privilege may be claimed by:
(a) The patient or the patient’s attorney on the patient’s behalf.
(b) A guardian or conservator of the patient.
(c) The personal representative of a deceased patient.
(d) The psychotherapist, but only on behalf of the patient. The authority of a psychotherapist to claim the privilege is presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
(4) There is no privilege under this section:
(a) For communications relevant to an issue in proceedings to compel hospitalization of a patient for mental illness, if the psychotherapist in the course of diagnosis or treatment has reasonable cause to believe the patient is in need of hospitalization.
(b) For communications made in the course of a court-ordered examination of the mental or emotional condition of the patient.
(c) For communications relevant to an issue of the mental or emotional condition of the patient in any proceeding in which the patient relies upon the condition as an element of his or her claim or defense or, after the patient’s death, in any proceeding in which any party relies upon the condition as an element of the party’s claim or defense.
History.s. 1, ch. 76-237; s. 1, ch. 77-77; s. 22, ch. 78-361; s. 1, ch. 78-379; s. 40, ch. 90-347; s. 1, ch. 92-57; s. 19, ch. 93-39; s. 475, ch. 95-147; s. 28, ch. 99-2; s. 5, ch. 99-8; s. 1, ch. 2006-204; s. 30, ch. 2014-19.