The Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act (MHPA) prohibits disclosure of a mental health patient’s medical records absent express authorization from the patient.  This presents a problem in circumstances where mental health records constitute critical evidence, but the patient is deceased or unwilling to provide the requisite authorization.  Previously, courts have held that the record confidentiality provision of the MHPA is mandatory and have declined to carve out exceptions.  Now, in Octave v. Walker, the state Supreme Court is considering whether there are situations where the prohibition against disclosure of mental health records can be waived.  The issue is whether the court can compel the disclosure of a patient’s mental health records, where the patient’s mental health is directly at issue in a case, even though the patient has not expressly authorized the disclosure.  Oral arguments in Octave were heard on October 15.