Commitment to Privacy of Eternal Hope Counseling and Coaching LLC
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL/MENTAL HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
This notice of privacy practices is effective February 27, 2018. Your information will be released in accordance with state and federal laws. This notice Eternal Hope Christian Counseling and Coaching’s policies related to the use and disclosure of the client’s healthcare information.
“Use and disclosure of protected health information for the purposes of providing services. Providing treatment services, collecting payment and conducting healthcare operations are necessary activities for quality care. State and federal laws allow us to use and disclose your health information for these purposes.”
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE
Eternal Hope Christian Counseling and Coaching may change this Notice at any time. Any change in the Notice could apply to medical information we already have about you, as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current Notice at the office and on our Web site, eteranlhopecc.com.
• Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information about you. However, we are not required to agree to a restriction you request. You may revoke the authorization, in writing, at any time, but we cannot take back any uses or disclosures of your health information already made with your authorization.
• 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 in our 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. On your request, we will discuss with you the details of the request and denial process.
• Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive this Notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this Notice. You may obtain a paper copy of this Notice at the office or by calling 360-718-8636.
• 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 for which you have neither provided consent nor authorization (as described previously). On your request, we will discuss with you the details of the accounting process.
The counseling relationship and process will adhere to very strict confidentiality standards; that your information is managed using procedures designed to protect the privacy and security of personal data; that your counseling records are strictly confidential, except as noted below under section entitled Right to Privacy; that your written authorization is required if you desire that your information be shared by us to another person or agency, except where stipulated below.
In couples counseling ( any form of a dyad relationship, including friendship, pre-marital, marriage, etc,) or family counseling, there will be limited confidentiality, meaning that confidentiality belongs to the relationship and not to the individual; that when expedient the counselor will share with the counselee the intent to notify relatives or authorities before the above actions are taken.
Because couples counseling involves two people, the identified “client” is the couple, not the individuals within the couple and that in order for counseling information to be released, both members of the couple must provide their written authorization.
During the course of couples or family counseling, both or all members of the relationship will be seen together and yet there will be times when you or your partner or family member will be seen in one or more one-on-one sessions. When seen as an individual, such sessions should be considered by the couple or family as a part of the couple’s or family’s therapy. Toward this end, anything you share in an individual session may be discussed in subsequent therapy sessions where your partner or family member is present. This does not mean that every issue discussed in an individual session will necessarily be brought up. Information discussed in couples or family counseling is for counseling purposes and is not intended for use in any legal proceedings involving the partners and agree not to subpoena any counselor or employee at Eternal Hope Christian Counseling and Coaching to testify for or against either party or to provide records in a court action. It is Eternal Hope Christian Counseling and Coaching ‘s policy of not keeping secrets when the identified client is a couple or family relationship is designed to help everyone feel safer in counseling, allowing your counselor to be completely honest, without having to be concerned about who told him or her what or when. If you have any questions about whether a topic is one that needs to be brought up in the joint or family session, you are encouraged to ask your counselor before sharing any actual details of your particular situation. If you have reservations about raising a topic, your counselor will be happy to refer you to another counselor for individualcounseling in order to give the matter proper attention.
This agreement of confidentiality applies to counseling sessions, phone calls, voice mail messages, texts, e-mail messages, or any and all forms of communication. If you attempt to contact your counselor between sessions, he or she will expect you to let your partner know that you have done so. Contents of phone calls, voice mail messages, and e-mail exchanges may be shared per the above agreements.
CLIENT RECORDS AND RELEASE OF INFORMATION
Intake forms and session notes become part of the client clinical record. Records are the property of Eternal Hope Christian Counseling and Coaching. In accordance with legal requirements, adult client records may be disposed of five years after the file is closed; minor client records are disposed of seven years after the client’s 18th birthday.
In the case of marriage, couples, or family counseling, there is limited confidentiality, meaning that confidentiality belongs to the relationship and not to the individual. Therefore, the clinical record belongs to the relationship, not to the individual.
While most communication between a client and counselor is confidential, the following limitations and expectations do exist:
Client information may be released without consent in the following situations:
- Case records may be utilized for purposes of supervision, professional development, and research. In such cases, to preserve confidentiality, clients are identified by first name only.
- The counselor determines if the client is a danger to himself or someone else.
- The client discloses abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a child, the elderly, or a disabled person. The client discloses sexual contact with another mental health professional.
- The counselor is ordered by a court to disclose information.
- The counselor is otherwise required by law to disclose information.
- Your insurance company requests information, in order to process your claim for reimbursement.
A client may request that specific information be sent to another individual:
- Prior to a disclosure, the client must sign a “Consent for Release of Information”. Information will not be released for reasons unrelated to treatment.
- In the event that the client is a relationship, rather than an individual, written consent must be obtained by all parties in the relationship prior to release of information.
LEGAL AND COURT ACTIONS
In most cases, clients are discouraged from having their Eternal Hope Christian Counseling and Coaching counselor subpoenaed or having him or her provide records for the purpose of litigation. Because we can only provide a testimony that conforms to the facts of the case in accordance to our professional opinion, it could mean that such testimony will not necessarily be in the client’s favor. With this in mind, clients seeking records or testimony will be financially responsible for fees for services rendered, regardless of the content and implications of the records and/or testimony. In the case of marriage or couples counseling, in which individuals are seen separately as well as together, an obvious conflict of interest is present when records and/or testimony is sought against the other or is in favor of one over the other. Therefore, mutual consent from both parties would be necessary for release of information or when testimony is sought. This is in the interest of the maintenance of trust which is of utmost importance in counseling relationships with clients.