Both federal law (HIPPA), state laws, and professional ethics mandate that your personal information cannot be disclosed without written permission. A trusting relationship is essential.
However, there are some exceptions that apply to all health care providers, and these include:
- Suspected child abuse or dependent 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 ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.
If you will use insurance benefits, your insurance company will usually require dates of service, a diagnosis, possibly the type of therapy, and occasionally a list of our treatment goals in order to provide reimbursement. However, they also have strict rules that prevent them from releasing this information. Again, I am glad to talk about this with you and to clarify in advance. No information will be released without your knowledge.
For teens, I generally will ask parents to sign a release agreeing not to request records or to ask me to reveal the content of our discussions to them. This is necessary in order to establish a trusting and productive relationship. Certainly, if I feel a youth is involved in behavior that is seriously endangering them, this will be discussed as appropriate.
A trusting and candid relationship is essential and I am always open to questions and discussion about any and all topics. I will provide you with more detailed information about privacy policies during our first appointment, and we will review these items together.