Your privacy is important to us!

The privacy of your health information is important to us. We will maintain the privacy of your health information and we will not disclose your information to others unless you tell us to do so, or unless the law authorizes or requires us to do so.

The federal law commonly known as HIPAA requires that we take additional steps to keep you informed about how we may use information that is gathered in order to provide health care services to you. As part of this process, we are required to provide you with the attached Notice of Privacy Practices and to request that you sign the attached written acknowledgement that you received a copy of the Notice. The Notice describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations and for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. This Notice also describes your rights regarding health information we maintain about you and a brief description of how you may exercise these rights.

I.  USES AND DISCLOSURES OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION

A.  Permissible Uses and Disclosures without Your Written Authorization
We may use and disclose PHI without your written authorization, excluding Psychotherapy Notes as described in Section II, for certain purposes as described below. The examples provided in each category are not meant to be exhaustive, but instead are meant to describe the types of uses and disclosures that are permissible under federal and state law.

1.  Treatment: We may use and disclose PHI in order to provide treatment to you. For example, we may use PHI to diagnose and provide medical or counseling services to you. In addition, we may disclose PHI to other health care providers involved in your treatment.

2.  Payment: We may use or disclose PHI so that services you receive are appropriately billed to, and payment is collected from, your health plan. By way of example, we may disclose PHI to permit your health plan to take certain actions before it approves or pays for treatment services.

3.  Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose PHI in connection with our health care operations, including quality improvement activities, training programs, accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities.

4.  Required or Permitted by Law: We may use or disclose PHI when we are required or permitted to do so by law.  We are required by law to report the following: intent to harm another individual; intent of self-harm; information about the neglect and/or abuse of a child; and to avert a serious threat to your health or safety or the health or safety of others.

Other disclosures permitted or required by law include the following: disclosures for public health activities; deceased clients; family involvement in care; health oversight activities including disclosures to state or federal agencies authorized to access PHI: disclosures to judicial and law enforcement officials in response to a court order or other lawful process; disclosures for research when approved by an institutional review board; and disclosures to military or national security agencies, coroners, medical examiners, and correctional institutions or otherwise as authorized by law.

B.  Uses and Disclosures Requiring Your Written Authorization

1.  Psychotherapy Notes: Notes recorded by your clinician documenting the contents of a counseling session with you (“Psychotherapy Notes”) will be used only by your clinician and will not otherwise be used or disclosed without your written authorization.

2.  Marketing Communications: We will not use your health information for marketing communications without your written authorization.

3.  Uses and Disclosures: Uses and disclosures other than those described in section I.A above will only be made with your written authorization. For example, you will need to sign an authorization form before we can send PHI to your life insurance company, to a school, or to your attorney. You may revoke any such authorization at any time.

II.  YOUR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

A.  Right to Inspect and Copy: You may request access to your medical record and billing records maintained by us in order to inspect and request copies of the records. All requests for access must be made in writing. Under limited circumstances, we may deny access to your records. We may charge a fee for the costs of copying and sending you any records requested. [Note: State law may regulate such charges.]  If you are a parent or legal guardian of a minor, please note that certain portions of the minor’s medical record will not be accessible to you.

B.  Right to Alternative Communications: You may request, and we will accommodate, any reasonable written request for you to receive PHI by alternative means of communication or at alternative locations.

C.  Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction on PHI used for disclosure for treatment, payment or health care operations. You must request any such restriction in writing addressed to the Privacy Officer as indicated below. We will not be required to agree to any such restriction you may request.

D.  Right to Accounting of Disclosures: Upon written request, you may obtain an accounting of certain disclosures of PHI made by to us after April 14, 2003. This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment or health care operations, excludes disclosures made to you or disclosures otherwise authorized by you, and is subject to other restrictions and limitations.

E.  Right to Request Amendment: You have the right to request that we amend your health information. Your request must be in writing, and it must explain why the information should be amended. We may deny your request under certain circumstances.  If we deny your request, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with us.

F.  Right to Obtain Notice: You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this Notice by submitting a request to the Privacy Officer at any time.

G.  Breach of Notification: If there is a breach of unsecured PHI concerning you, we may be required to notify you of this breach, including what happened and what you can do to protect yourself.

Questions and Complaints: If you desire further information about your privacy rights, or are concerned that we have violated your privacy rights, you may contact the Executive Director, Jim Thornton, at (302) 792-2757 ext. 112. You may also file written complaints with the Executive Director or Secretary of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Ave S.W. Washington D.C. 20201 or by calling (202) 619-0257. We will not retaliate against you if you file a complaint.

III.  EFFECTIVE DATE AND CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE

A.  Effective Date: This Notice is effective on September 23, 2013.

B.  Changes to this Notice: We may change the terms of this Notice at any time. If we change this Notice, we may make the new notice terms effective for all PHI that we maintain, including any information created or received prior to issuing the new notice. If we change this Notice, we will post the revised notice in the waiting area of my office. You may also obtain any revised notice by contacting the Privacy Officer.

 

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