top of page
Let's Make Change Together

Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act

(HIPAA)

 

This document contains important information about federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), that provides privacy protections and patient rights with regard to the use and disclosure of your Protected Health Information (PHI) used for the purpose of treatment, payment, and health care operations. 

 

HIPAA requires that I provide you with a Notice of Privacy Practices (the Notice) for use and disclosure of PHI for treatment, payment and health care operations.  The Notice explains HIPAA and its application to your PHI in greater detail. 

 

The law requires that I obtain your signature acknowledging that I have provided you with this.  If you have any questions, it is your right and obligation to ask so I can have a further discussion prior to signing this document.  When you sign this document, it will also represent an agreement between us.  You may revoke this Agreement in writing at any time.  That revocation will be binding unless I have taken action in reliance on it. 

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

  • If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information concerning your diagnosis and treatment, such information is protected by the psychologist-patient privilege law.  I cannot provide any information without your (or your legal representative's) written authorization, or a court order, or if I receive a subpoena of which you have been properly notified and you have failed to inform me that you oppose the subpoena.  If you are involved in or contemplating litigation, you should consult with an attorney to determine whether a court would be likely to order me to disclose information.

  • If a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight activities, within its appropriate legal authority, I may be required to provide it for them.

  • If a patient files a complaint or lawsuit against me, I may disclose relevant information regarding that patient in order to defend myself.

  • If a patient files a worker's compensation claim, and I am providing necessary treatment related to that claim, I must, upon appropriate request, submit treatment reports to the appropriate parties, including the patient's employer, the insurance carrier or an authorized qualified rehabilitation provider.

  • I may disclose the minimum necessary health information to my business associates that perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the information is necessary for such functions or services.  My business associates sign agreements to protect the privacy of your information and are not allowed to use or disclose any information other than as specified in our contract.

  • If I know, or have reason to suspect, that a child under 18 has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or any other person responsible for the child's welfare, the law requires that I file a report with the Pennsylvania Abuse Hotline.  Once such a report is filed, I may be required to provide additional information.

  •  If I know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a vulnerable adult has been abused, neglected, or exploited, the law requires that I file a report with the Pennsylvania Abuse Hotline.  Once such a report is filed, I may be required to provide additional information.

  •  If I believe that there is a clear and immediate probability of physical harm to the patient, to other individuals, or to society, I may be required to disclose information to take protective action, including communicating the information to the potential victim, and/or appropriate family member, and/or the police or to seek hospitalization of the patient.

  • 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.

bottom of page