THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW PSYCHOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
I. Uses and Disclosures for Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations We may use or disclose your protected health information (PHI), for treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes with your consent. To help clarify these terms, here are some definitions:
- “PHF’ refers to information in your health record that could identify you.
- “Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations”
- Treatment is when we provide, coordinate or manage your health care and other servicesrelated to your health care. An example of treatment would be when I consult with another health care provider, such as your family physician or a psychologist.
- Payment is when we obtain reimbursement for your healthcare. Examples of payment are when we disclose your PHI to your health insurer to obtain reimbursement for your health care or to determine eligibility or coverage.
- Health Care Operations are activities that relate to the performance and operation of our practice. Examples of health care operations are quality assessment and improvement activities, business-related matters such as audits and administrative services, and case management and care coordination.
- “Use” applies only to activities within our office such as sharing, employing, applying, utilizing, examining, and analyzing information that identifies you.
- “Disclosure” applies to activities outside of our office such as releasing , transferring, or providing access to information about you to other parties.
II. Uses and Disclosures Requiring Authorization We may use or disclose PHI for purposes outside of treatment, payment, or health care operations when your appropriate authorization is obtained. An “authorization” is written permission above and beyond the general consent that permits only specific disclosures. In those instances when I am asked for information for purposes outside of treatment, payment or health care operations, I will obtain an authorization from you before releasing this information. I will also need to obtain an authorization before releasing your Psychotherapy Notes. “Psychotherapy Notes” are notes that are made about conversation during a private, group, joint , or family counseling session, which are kept separate from the rest of your medical record. These notes are given a greater degree of protection than PHI.
You may revoke all such authorizations (of PHI or Psychotherapy Notes) at any time, provided each revocation is in writing. You may not revoke an authorization to the extent that
(1) We have relied on that authorization; or (2) If the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage, law provides the insurer the right to contest the claim under the policy.
III. Uses and Disclosures with Neither Consent nor Authorization We may use or disclose PHI without your consent or authorization in the following circumstances:
- Child Abuse – If we are treating a child and we know or suspect that child to be a victim of child abuse or neglect , we are required by law to report the abuse or neglect to a duly constituted authority.
- Adult and Domestic Abuse – If we have reasonable cause to believe an adult, who is unable to take care of himself or herself, has been subjected to physical abuse, neglect, exploitation, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse, we must report this belief to the appropriate authorities.
- Health Oversight Activities – If the Alabama Board that licenses any of our therapists is conducting an investigation into their practice , then we are required to disclose PHI upon receipt of a subpoena from the Board.
- Judicial and Administrative Proceedings – If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information about your diagnosis and treatment and the records thereof, such information is privileged under state law, and we will not release information without the written authorization of you or your legally appointed representative or a court order. The privilege does not apply when you are being evaluated for a third party or where the evaluation is court ordered. You will be informed in advance ifthis is the case.
- Serious Threat to Health or Safety – We may disclose PHI to the appropriate individuals if we believe in good faith that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of you or another identifiable person(s).
- Worker’s Compensation – We may disclose PHI as authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to worker’s compensation or other similar programs , established by law, that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness without regard to fault.
IV. Patient’s Rights and Psychologist’s Duties
- Right to Request Restrictions – You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of PHI. However , we are not required to agree to a restriction you request.
- Right to Receive Confidential Communications by Alternative Means and at Alternative Locations – You have the right to request and receive confidential communications of PHI by alternative means and at alternative locations. (For example, you may not want a family member to know that you are seeing us. On your request, we will send your bills to another address.)
- Right to Inspect and Copy – You have the right to inspect or obtain a copy (or both) of PHI in the mental health and billing records used to make decisions about you for as long as the PHI is maintained in the record. We may deny your access to PHI under certain circumstances, but in some cases you may have this decision reviewed. You may inspect and copy Psychotherapy Notes unless there is a clinical determination that access would be detrimental to your health. On your request , we will discuss with you the details of the request and denial process.
- Right to Amend – You have the right to request an amendment of PHI for as long as the PHI is maintained in the record. We may deny your request. On your request, we will discuss with you the details of the amendment process.
- Right to an Accounting – You generally have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of PHI. On your request, we will discuss with you the details ofthe accounting process.
- Right to a Paper Copy – You have the right to obtain a paper copy of the notice from us upon request, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information regarding you and to provide you with notice of my legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI.
V. Complaints If you are concerned that we have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your records , you may contact our Director of Operations at (256) 533- 9393 for further information. You also have the right to send a complaint to the Secretary of the Office of Health and Human Services.