This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed.
The privacy and confidentiality of our work is something I take very seriously. I am required to abide by HIPAA, The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 - a federal law aspiring to assure that medical records and other individually identifiable health information used or disclosed by health care providers, whether electronically, on paper, or orally are kept properly confidential. This Act gives you, the patient, the right to understand and control how your personal health information ("PHI") is used. HIPAA provides penalties for covered entities that misuse personal health information.
Please note that confidential patient information will not be released without your consent, except in rare circumstances of imminent medical legal risk. This consent includes friends and family members. Your consent is obtained at the beginning of treatment; however you have the right to revoke or change your consent at any time.
Examples of consented information release include:
Clinically, in order to facilitate your medical treatment. I often coordinate care services with your other healthcare providers. I also at times seek consultation from other licensed mental health professionals. In such cases, I take care to avoid identifying material such as name, specific age, and other details that could identify you.
For administrative/payment purposes information including your name, identifying data, diagnostic information and evidence of treatment visits is released on standard insurance claim forms if you are using insurance. In most cases, I submit claims online via Office Ally, a HIPAA-compliant electronic claims processing company.
Release of clinical information WITHOUT your consent may occur if I believe there is a clinical emergency regarding your safety or the safety of another. I may also be required in these instances to disclose your PHI to law enforcement.
In certain legal circumstances I may be forced to release your PHI in response to a legitimate subpoena request or court order. However, it is well-understood that psychiatric records involve special, deeply private information and are generally treated with a high level of scrutiny in terms of need for release. In all situations, I shall do my best to assure its continued confidentiality.
You have rights with respect to obtaining and/or reviewing your PHI. As psychiatric documentation often has clinical jargon that can be misinterpreted, my preference is always to review any such records directly with you. In cases of transfer of care to another clinician, in those cases where I believe consented release of your PHI to you could be directly harmful to you clinically, I have a responsibility to avoid that outcome. In these cases, I may insist that the record or a summary of your care be directly sent to your new clinician so that you may review it with that other professional.
For more information about HIPAA you may contact the Department of Health and Human Services at www.hhs.gov.