As is recommended by professional psychological organizations, we periodically take client cases to get a case review. No names are used, but case history and progress are discussed with other mental health professionals to ensure quality treatment given to each client. Your confidentiality in terms of names or identifying information would always be protected.
Bound under confidentiality, we can never disclose your name or the fact that you have sought therapy with me. If your relatives or friends call to inquire after you, we are unable to discuss or disclose your status as a client without your written consent.
There are, however, several exceptions to the laws of confidentiality. If our records are ever subpoenaed, the court has access to anything in your client file.
Also, state law requires a therapist to report any physical or sexual abuse of a vulnerable person to the authorities. This is a case where confidentiality laws are superseded by prosecution laws. This would include any physical abuse to children or other vulnerable people. This would also include an audit by the Board of Psychology, which is also bound by confidentiality.
Another standard of care is that if there were ever a life-threatening emergency, such as potential suicide or homicide, we would call in services from an emergency center or the police.
This Notice Describes How Medical Information about You may be Used and Disclosed and How You Can Get Access to This Information. Please Review It Carefully.
My commitment to your privacy
My practice is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your professional health information as part of providing professional care. I am also required by law to keep your information private. These laws are complicated, but I must give your this important information. This notice is a shorter version of the full, legally required National Privacy Principles (NPP) which you will receive if you decide to see me as a therapist. However, I can’t possibly cover all the possible situations so please talk to me about any questions or problems.
I will use the information about your health which I get from you or from others mainly to provide you with treatment, to arrange payment for our services, and for some other business activities which are called, by law, health care operations. After you have read this NPP I will ask you to sign a Consent Form to let me use and share your information. If you do not sign this form, I cannot treat you.
If you or I want to use or disclose (send, share, release) your information for any other purposes I will discuss this with your and ask you to sign an Authorization form to allow this.
Of course I will keep your health information private but there are some times when the law requires me to use or share it. For example:
- When there is a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of another individual or the public. I will only share information with a person or organization which is able to help prevent or reduce threat.
- Some lawsuits and legal or court proceedings.
- If a law enforcement official requires to do so.
- For Workers Compensation and similar benefit programs.
There are some other situations like these which don’t happen very often. They are described in the longer version of the NPP.
Your rights regarding your health information
- You can ask me to communicate with you about Your health and related issues in a particular way or at a certain place which is more private for you. For example, you can ask me to call you at home, and not at work to schedule or cancel an appointment. I will try my best to do as you ask.
- You have the right to ask me to limit what I tell people involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as family members and friends. While I don’t have to agree to your request, if I do agree, I will keep our agreement except if it is against the law, or in an emergency, or when the information is necessary to treat you.
- You have the right to look at the health information I have about you such as your medical, billing and psychotherapy records. You can even get a copy of these records but there will be a charge for copies. All requests are handled in a timely manner.
- If you believe the information in your records is incorrect or missing important information, you can ask me to make some kinds of changes ( called amending) to your health information. You have to make this request in writing and send it to me. You will need to indicate why you want to make the changes.
- You have the right to a copy of this notice. If I change this NPP I will post the new version in my office and you can always request a copy of the NPP from me.
- You have the right to file a complaint if you believe your privacy rights have been violated. You can file a complaint with me and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. All complaints must be in writing. Filing a complaint will not change the health care I provide to you in any way.
If you have any questions regarding this notice or our health information privacy policies, please contact me.
The effective date of this notice is April 11, 2003.