Privacy and the Confidentiality of Records

 Confidentiality

As a psychotherapy client, you have privileged communication. This means that because of our relationship, all information disclosed in our sessions, and the written records of those sessions are confidential and protected health information and may not be revealed to anyone without your written authorization, except where law requires disclosure.

Disclosure is required when there is a reasonable suspicion of child, dependent or elder abuse or neglect or when a client presents a danger to self or others.

Disclosure may be required in a legal proceeding. If you place your mental status at issue in litigation that you initiate, the defendant may have the right to obtain your psychotherapy records and/or my testimony.

In couple or relationship therapy, or when different family members are seen individually, confidentiality and privilege do not apply between the couple or among family members. We use our clinical judgment when revealing such information.

If there is an emergency during our work together or after termination in which we become concerned about your personal safety, the possibility of you injuring someone else, or about you receiving psychiatric care, we will do whatever we can within the limits of the law to prevent you from injuring yourself or another, and to ensure that you receive appropriate medical care. For this purpose we may contact the person whose name you have provided as a contact person.

E-mail, voice mail, and fax communication can be easily accessed by unauthorized people, compromising the privacy and confidentiality of such communication. Please notify us at the beginning of treatment if you would like to avoid or limit in any way the use of any or all of these communication devices. Please do not contact us via e-mail or fax or text for emergencies.

 

Health Insurance and Confidentiality of Records

Your health insurance carrier may require disclosure of confidential information in order to process claims. Only the minimum necessary information will be communicated to your insurance carrier, including diagnosis, the date and length of our appointments, and what services were provided. Often the billing statement and your company’s claim form are sufficient. Sometimes treatment summaries or progress toward goals are also required. Unless explicitly authorized by you, Psychotherapy Notes will not be disclosed to your insurance carrier. While insurance companies claim to keep this information confidential, I have no control over the information once it leaves my office. Please be aware that submitting a mental health invoice for reimbursement carries some risk to confidentiality, privacy, or future eligibility to obtain health or life insurance.

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