LIMITS ON CONFIDENTIALITY
The law protects the privacy of all communication between a patient and a therapist. In most situations, I can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written authorization form that meets certain legal requirements imposed by HIPAA. There are some situations where I am permitted or required to disclose information without either your consent or authorization. If such a situation arises, I will limit my disclosure to what is necessary. Reasons I may have to release your information without authorization:
There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to take actions, which I believe are necessary to attempt to protect others from harm, and I may have to reveal some information about a patient's treatment:
Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information:
● For Treatment – I use and disclose your health information internally in the course of your treatment. If I wish to provide information outside of our practice for your treatment by another health care provider, I will have you sign an authorization for release of information. Furthermore, an authorization is required for most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes.
● For Payment – I may use and disclose your health information to obtain payment for services provided to you as delineated in the Therapy Agreement.
● For Operations – I may use and disclose your health information as part of our internal operations. For example, this could mean a review of records to assure quality. I may also use your information to tell you about services, educational activities, and programs that I feel might be of interest to you.
● Right to Treatment – You have the right to ethical treatment without discrimination regarding race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability status, age, or any other protected category.
● Right to Confidentiality – You have the right to have your health care information protected. If you pay for a service or health care item out-of-pocket in full, you can ask us not to share that information for the purpose of payment or our operations with your health insurer. I will agree to such unless a law requires us to share that information.
● Right to Request Restrictions – You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information about you. However, I am 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.
● Right to Inspect and Copy – You have the right to inspect or obtain a copy (or both) of PHI. Records must be requested in writing and release of information must be completed. Please make your request well in advance and allow 2 weeks to receive the copies. If I refuse your request for access to your records, you have a right of review, which I will discuss with you upon request.
● Right to Amend – If you believe the information in your records is incorrect and/or missing important information, you can ask us to make certain changes, also known as amending, to your health information. You have to make this request in writing. You must tell us the reasons you want to make these changes, and I will decide if it is and if I refuse to do so, I will tell you why within 60 days.
● Right to a Copy of This Notice – If you received the paperwork electronically, you have a copy in your email. If you completed this paperwork in the office at your first session a copy will be provided to you per your request or at any time.
● Right to an Accounting – You generally have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of PHI regarding you. On your request, I will discuss with you the details of the accounting process.
● Right to Choose Someone to Act for You – If someone is your legal guardian, that person can exercise your rights and make choices about your health information; I will make sure the person has this authority and can act for you before I take any action.
● Right to Choose – You have the right to decide not to receive services with me. If you wish, I will provide you with names of other qualified professionals.
● Right to Terminate – You have the right to terminate therapeutic services with me at any time without any legal or financial obligations other than those already accrued. I ask that you discuss your decision with me in session before terminating or at least contact me by phone letting me know you are terminating services.
● Right to Release Information with Written Consent – With your written consent, any part of your record can be released to any person or agency you designate. Together, we will discuss whether or not I think releasing the information in question to that person or agency might be harmful to you.
If you are concerned that I have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision I made about access to your records, you may contact me, the State of NC Department of Health, or the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The benefits to TAC counseling are:
It is important to note that there are limitations to TAC counseling that can affect the quality of the session(s). These limitations include but are not limited to the following:
You have the right to receive a “Good Faith Estimate” explaining how much your medical care will cost. Under the law, health care providers need to give patients who don’t have insurance or who are not using insurance an estimate of the bill for medical items and services. You have the right to receive a Good Faith Estimate for the total expected cost of any non-emergency items or services. This includes related costs like medical tests, prescription drugs, equipment, and hospital fees. Make sure your health care provider gives you a Good Faith Estimate in writing at least 1 business day before your medical service or item. You can also ask your health care provider, and any other provider you choose, for a Good Faith Estimate before you schedule an item or service. If you receive a bill that is at least $400 more than your Good Faith Estimate, you can dispute the bill. Make sure to save a copy or picture of your Good Faith Estimate. For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate, visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises or call 800-985-3059.
It is my intention to fully abide by all the rules of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and by those of the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. Problems can arise in our relationship, just as in any other relationship. If you are not satisfied with any area of our work, please raise your concerns with me at once. Our work together will be slower and harder if your concerns with me are not worked out. I will make every effort to hear any complaints you have and to seek solutions to them. If you feel that I (or any other therapist) have treated you unfairly or have even broken a professional rule, please tell me. You can also contact the North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors at 336-217-6007 and speak to the chairperson of the ethics committee. He or she can help clarify your concerns or tell you how to file a complaint. You may also mail your concerns to the board at the following address: North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors, PO Box 77819, Greensboro, NC 27403. My LCMHC license number is 7783 and my NCC license number is 244998.
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