The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission.
- Suspected child abuse or dependant adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
- If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
- If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in insuring their safety.
I. This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can access this information.
II. I have a legal duty to safeguard your protected health information (PHI)
I am legally required to protect the privacy of your PHI, which includes information that can be used to identify you that I've created or received about your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of health care to you, or the payment of this health care. I must provide you with this Notice about my privacy practices, and such Notice must explain how, when, and why I will “use” and “disclose” your PHI. A “use” of PHI occurs when I share, examine, utilize, apply, or analyze such information within my practice; PHI is “disclosed” when it is released, transferred, has been given to, or is otherwise divulged to a third party outside of my practice. With some exceptions, I may not use or disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the use or disclosure is made. And, I am legally required to follow the privacy practices described in this Notice.
However, I reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice and my privacy policies at any time. Before I make any important changes to my policies, I will promptly change this Notice and post a new copy of it in my office. You can also request a copy of this Notice from me.
III. How I may use and disclose your PHI
I will use and disclose your PHI for many different reasons. For some of these uses or disclosures, I will need your prior written authorization; for others, however, I do not. Listed below are the different categories of my uses and disclosures along with some examples of each category.
A. Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations Do Not Require Your Prior Written Consent . I can use and disclose your PHI without your consent for the following reasons:
1. For Treatment: I can use your PHI within my practice to provide you with mental health treatment. I can disclose your PHI to physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other licensed health care providers who provide you with health care services or are involved in your care. For example, if a psychiatrist is treating you, I can disclose your PHI to your psychiatrist to coordinate your care.
2. To Obtain Payment for Treatment: I can use and disclose your PHI to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided by me to you.
3. For Health Care Operations: I can use and disclose your PHI to operate my practice. For example, I might use your PHI to evaluate the quality of health care services that you received. I may also provide your PHI to my accountant, attorney, consultants, or others to further my health care operations.
4. Patient Incapacitation or Emergency: I may also disclose your PHI to others without your consent if you are incapacitated or if an emergency exists. For example, your consent isn't required if you need emergency treatment, as long as I try to get your consent after treatment is rendered, or if I try to get your consent but you are unable to communicate with me (for example, if you are unconscious or in severe pain) and I think that you would consent to such treatment if you were able to do so.
B. Certain Other Uses and Disclosures Also Do Not Require Your Consent or Authorization . I can use and disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:
1. When federal, state, or local law; judicial or administrative proceedings; or, law enforcement require disclosure. For example, I may have to make a disclosure to applicable governmental officials when a law requires me to report information to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of abuse or neglect.
2. When public health activities require disclosure.
3. When health oversight activities require disclosure. For example, I may have to provide information to assist the government in conducting an investigation or inspection of a health care provider or organization.
4. To avert a serious threat to health or safety. For example, I may have to use or disclose your PHI to avert a serious threat to the health or safety of others. However, any such disclosures will only be made to someone able to prevent the threatened harm from occurring.
5. For specialized government functions, for example, if you are in the military, I may have to use or disclose your PHI for national security purposes, including protecting the President of the United States or conducting intelligence operations.
6. To remind you about appointments and to inform you of health-related benefits or services. For example, I may have to use or disclose your PHI to remind you about your appointments, or to give you information about treatment alternatives, other health care services, or other health care benefits that I offer that may be of interest to you.
C. Certain Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have the Opportunity to Object.
1. Disclosures to Family, Friends, or Others . I may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
D. Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization . In any other situation not described in sections III A, B, and C above, I will need your written authorization before using or disclosing any of your PHI. If you choose to sign an authorization to disclose your PHI, you can later revoke such authorization in writing to stop any future uses and disclosures (to the extent that I haven't taken any action in reliance on such authorization) of your PHI by me.
IV. What rights you have regarding your PHI
A . The Right to Request Restrictions on My Uses and Disclosures . You have the right to request restrictions or limitations on my uses or disclosures of your PHI to carry out my treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request that I restrict or limit disclosures of your PHI to family members or friends or others involved in your care or who are financially responsible for your care. Please submit such requests to me in writing. I will consider your requests, but I am not legally required to accept them. If I do accept your requests, I will put them in writing and I will abide by them, except in emergency situations. However, be advised, that you may not limit the uses and disclosures that I am legally required to make.
B. The Right to Choose How I Send PHI to You . You have the right to request that I send confidential information to you to at an alternate address (for example, sending information to your work address rather than your home address) or by alternate means (for example, e-mail instead of regular mail). I must agree to your request so long as it is reasonable and you specify how or where you wish to be contacted, and, when appropriate, you provide me with information as to how payment for such alternate communications will be handled.
C. The Right to Inspect and Receive a Copy of Your PHI. In most cases, you have the right to inspect and receive a copy of the PHI that I that I have on you, but you must make the request to inspect and receive a copy of such information in writing. I will respond to your request within 30 days of receiving your written request. If you request copies of your PHI, I will charge you the hourly session rate for completion of a summary and for each page. I will provide you with a summary or explanation of the PHI as long as you agree to the cost in advance.
D. The Right to Receive a List of the Disclosures I Have Made. You have the right to receive a list of instances, i.e., an Accounting of Disclosures, in which I have disclosed your PHI. The list will not include disclosures made for my treatment, payment, or health care operations; disclosures made to you; disclosures you authorized; disclosures incident to a use or disclosure permitted or required by the federal privacy rule; disclosures made for national security or intelligence; or disclosures made to correctional institutions or law enforcement personnel. I will respond to your request for an Accounting of Disclosures within 60 days of receiving such request. The list I will give you will include disclosures made in the last six years unless you request a shorter time. The list will include the date the disclosure was made, to whom the PHI was disclosed (including their address, if known), a description of the information disclosed, and the reason for the disclosure.
E. The Right to Amend Your PHI. If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI or that a piece of important information is missing, you have the right to request that I correct the existing information or add the missing information. You must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. I will respond within 60 days of receiving your request to correct or update your PHI. I may deny your request in writing if the PHI is (i) correct and complete, (ii) not created by me, (iii) not allowed to be disclosed, or (iv) not part of my records. My written denial will state the reasons for the denial and explain your right to file a written statement of disagreement with the denial. If you don't file one, you have the right to request that your request and my denial be attached to all future disclosures of your PHI. If I approve your request, I will make the change to your PHI, tell you that I have done it, and tell others that need to know about the change to your PHI.
F. The Right to Receive a Paper Copy of this Notice . You have the right to receive a paper copy of this notice even if you have agreed to receive it via e-mail.
V. How to complain about my privacy practices
If you think that I may have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision I made about access to your PHI, you may file a complaint with the person listed in Section Vl below. You also may send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201. I will take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about my privacy practices.
VI. Person to contact for information about this notice or to complain about my privacy practices
If you have any questions about this notice or any complaints about my privacy practices, or would like to know how to file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, please contact me at: Sara Collins, M.A., MFT, 2 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 110, San Ramon, CA 94583
VlI. Effective date of this notice
This notice went into effect on April 14, 2003.
My Notice of Privacy Practices is subject to change. If I change my notice, you may obtain a copy of the revised notice by contacting me at (801) 803-3427. If you have any questions, please contact me.