[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][heading level=”2″ include_line=”0″ alignment=”center” heading=”Still Waters Confidentiality”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text]The law protects the privacy of all communication between a patient and a counselor. In most situations, information about your treatment can only be released if you sign a written authorization form that meets certain legal requirements imposed by HIPAA and/or Indiana law. However, in the following situations, no authorization is required:
Your counselor may occasionally find it helpful to consult other health and mental health professionals about a client. During consultations, your counselor will make every effort to avoid revealing your identity. Other professionals are legally bound to keep the information confidential. If you have no objections, your counselor will not inform you of a consultation unless it is important to your work together. All consultations will be noted in your Clinical Record (which is called “PHI” in the “Notice of Psychologist’s Policies and Practices to Protect the Privacy of your Health Information.”). Your counselor will also need to communicate information to his/her colleague who is providing emergency coverage if your counselor is not unavailable.
You should be aware that Still Waters Professional Counseling employs a business manager and administrative assistant. In most cases protected information will be shared with these individuals for administrative purposes, such as scheduling, billing, and quality assurance. Our staff members have been given training about protecting your privacy and have agreed not to release any information outside of the practice without our permission.
If a coroner or medical examiner requests information in the performance of that individual’s duties, then Still Waters may be required to provide it for them.
If a patient files a complaint or lawsuit against an individual counselor of Still Waters, relevant information regarding that client may be disclosed in order for the agency to defend itself.
There are situations in which we are legally obligated to take actions, which are believed to be necessary in an attempt to protect others from harm and we may have to reveal some information about a client’s treatment. These situations are unusual in this practice; however, it is important that you be aware of them.
If there is reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, the law requires that a report be filed with the appropriate government agency, usually the local child protection service. Once such a report is filed, we may be required to provide additional information.
If there is reason to believe that someone is an endangered adult, the law requires that a report be filed with the appropriate government agency, usually the adult protective services unit. Once such a report is filed, Still Waters may be required to provide additional information.
If a client communicates an actual threat of physical violence against an identifiable victim or makes statements indicating imminent danger that the patient will use physical violence or other means to cause serious personal injury to others, Still Waters may be required to disclose information in order to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim, contacting the policy, or seeking hospitalization for the client.
If a client communicates an imminent threat of serious physical harm to him/herself, the center may be required to disclose information in order to take protective actions. These actions may include initiating hospitalization or contacting family members or others who can assist in providing protection.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of patient information, provide for the electronic and physical security of health and patient medical information, and simplify billing and other electronic transactions by standardizing codes and procedures. The HIPAA Privacy Rule, which came into effect in April of 2003, creates a minimum federal standard for the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) by health care organizations. One of the requirements of the Privacy Rule is that we give to you a Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) that describes your rights and protections regarding your health care records (PHI). This document is included as part of the Intake Forms Packet that you will need to read prior to your initial appointment. The law requires that your signature be obtained acknowledging that you were provided with this information. Although these documents are long and sometimes complex, it is important that you read them carefully before our next session. We can discuss any questions you have about the procedures at that time.
We at Still Waters are committed to maintaining your confidentiality and the privacy of psychological and medical records and will continue to adhere to psychologist’s ethical guidelines, as well as, state and federal law. Furthermore, your counselor will make every effort to discuss confidentiality procedures with you before taking any action and will limit disclosure to what is necessary. While this written summary of exceptions to confidentiality should prove helpful in informing you about potential problems, it is important that we discuss any questions or concerns that you might have now or in the future. The laws governing confidentiality can be quite complex and in situations where specific advice is required, formal legal advice may be needed.[/text][/vc_column][/vc_row]