The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
(HIPAA) is one of the laws that governs the confidentiality and privacy
of the relationship between a therapist and clients. The policy and
statements below describe how Protected Health Information (PHI)
and other clinical information is handled in my practice. This
information is provided in written form to all new clients and is
maintained as a continous reference here on my website. If you have any
questions about this information please contact me directly. Thank you.
IT IS MY LEGAL DUTY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI). By law I am required to insure that your PHI is kept private. The PHI constitutes information created or noted by me that can be used to identify you. It contains data about your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of health care services to you, or the payment for such health care. I am required to provide you with this Notice about my privacy procedures. This Notice must explain when, why, and how I would use and/or disclose your PHI. Use of PHI means when I share, apply, utilize, examine or analyze information within my practice; PHI is disclosed when I transfer, give or otherwise reveal it to a third party outside my practice. With some exceptions, I may not use or disclose more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the use or disclosure is made; however, I am always legally required to follow the privacy practices described in this notice. Please note that I reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice and my privacy policies at any time. Any changes will apply to PHI already on file with me. Before I make any important changes to my policies, I will immediately change this Notice & post a new copy of it in my office. You may also request a copy of this Notice from me, or you can view a copy of it in my office.
HOW I WILL USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PHI. I will useand disclose your
PHI for many reasons. Some of the uses or disclosures will require your
prior written authorization; others, however, will not. Below you will find
the different categories of my uses & disclosures, with some
examples. Uses and disclosures related to treatment, payment or health
care operations do not require your prior written consent. I may use or
disclose your PHI without your consent for the following reasons:
For Treatment : I may disclose your PHI to physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, & other licensed health care providers who provide you with health care services or are otherwise involved in your care. Example: If a psychiatrist is treating you, I may disclose your PHI to her/him in order to co-ordinate your care.
For health care operations : I may disclose your PHI to facilitate the efficient & correct operation of my practice. Examples: Quality control might use your PHI in the evaluation of the quality of health care services that you have received or to evaluate the performance of the health care professionals who provided you with these services. I may also provide your PHI to my attorneys, accountants, consultants, & others to make sure I am in compliance with applicable laws.
To obtain payment for treatment : I may use & disclose your PHI to bill & collect payment for the treatment & services I provided you. Example: I might send your PHI to your insurance company or health plan in order to get payment for the health care services that I have provided to you. I could also provide your PHI to business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies, & others that process health claims for my office.
- When disclosure is compelled by a party to a proceeding before a court of an administrative agency pursuant to its lawful authority.
- When disclosure is required by federal, state, or local law, judicial, board, or administrative proceedings; or law enforcement. Example: I may make a disclosure to the appropriate officials when a law requires me to report information to government agencies, law enforcement personnel &/or in an administrative proceeding.
- When disclosure is required by a search warrant lawfully issued to a governmental law enforcement agency.
- When disclosure is compelled by the patient or the patient's representative pursuant to Texas Health and Safety Codes or to corresponding to Federal statutes of regulation, such as the Privacy Rule that requires this Notice.
- To avoid harm. I may provide your PHI to law enforcement personnel or persons able to prevent or mitigate a serious threat to the health of safety of any person or the public.
- When disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you are in such mental or emotional condition as to be dangerous to yourself or persons or property of others, and if I determine that disclosure is necessary to prevent the threatened danger.
- When disclosure is mandated by the Texas Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse Reporting law. For example, if I have a reasonable suspicion of elder abuse or dependent adult abuse. When disclosure is mandated by the Texas Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting law. For example, if I have a reasonable suspicion of child abuse of neglect.
- When disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you tell me of a serious/imminent threat of physical violence by you against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims.
- For public health activities. Example: In the event of your death, if a disclosure is permitted or compelled, I may need to give the county coroner information about you.
- For health oversight activities. Example: I may be required to provide information to assist the government in the course of an investigation or inspection of a health care organization or provider.
Thank you for your interest in my polices on Privacy and Confidentiality.