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www.transitions-counseling.com   Where Your Help Begins OnlineSM                   

Note:  Since I work on a direct fee payment basis, using a sliding fee scale, it is unlikely that all of this will apply to you - except in the event of your requesting and signing for release of information. Exceptions include EAP contract work. If you have questions about my confidentiality policies, please ask them.

Notice of TRANSITION's Policies and Practices Under HIPAA to Protect the Privacy of Your Health Information

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.                     

Information that can be used to identify you that has been generated in the treatment process of our work together, or received from others about your past, present, or future health or condition, or the provision of health care to you, or the payment of this health care, is defined as your protected health information.  Protected health information is mandated by law to be handled in a way that will provide you notice of privacy practices that must explain how, when, and why your protected health information will be used and disclosed.

Use:  A “use” of your protected health information occurs when it is shared, examined, utilized, applied, or analyzed within the practice setting.

Disclosure: Your protected health information is “disclosed” when it is released, transferred, has been given to, or is otherwise divulged to a third party outside of the “in-house” practice setting.

HOW YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED

As noted in my Client Handbook and on the transitions-counseling.com website, the standing private-pay policy is to protect your health information by avoiding disclosure, except where you authorize release of information for purposes you deem necessary. However your involvement in one or more of various insurance or employment-based plans and/or legal mandate may affect the use and disclosure of your protected health information.  Under such circumstances, your protected health information may be used and disclosed for many different reasons.  For some of these uses or disclosures, your prior written authorization will be required; for others, however, authorization will not be required.  Listed below are different categories of uses and disclosures, along with some examples of each category.

Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations Do Not Require Your Prior Written Consent.  Your protected health information can be used and disclosed without your consent for the following reasons:

Relating to Treatment: Your protected health information may be used within the counseling practice and disclosed outside the practice in the course of providing you with mental health treatment. Relevant protected health information may be disclosed to physicians, psychiatrists, and other licensed health care providers who provide you with health care services or who are involved in your care.  For example, if a psychiatrist is treating you, your protected health information may be disclosed to your psychiatrist in order to coordinate your care, or such information may be disclosed to a clinical psychologist in the process of psychological evaluation. 

Relating to Payment:  Your protected health information may be used and disclosed in order to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided by TRANSITIONS to you.  For example, your protected health information might be sent to your insurance company, health plan, or EAP to in order for me to receive payment for the health care services you receive in this setting.  Your protected health information may also be provided to TRANSITIONS’ business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies, and others that process my health care claims. 

Relating to Health Care Operations: Your protected health information may be used and disclosed in the process of activities that relate to the performance and operation of my practice.  Examples of health care operations are business-related matters such as audits and administrative services, and case management and care coordination. 

Relating to Client Incapacitation or Emergency:  Your protected health information may be disclosed to others without your consent if you are incapacitated or if an emergency exists.  For example, your consent isn’t required if you need emergency treatment, provided that I try to get your consent after treatment is rendered, or if I try to get your consent under circumstances in which you are unable to communicate with me (for example, if you are unconscious or in severe pain) and I think that you would consent to such treatment if you were able to do so.   

There Are Also Certain Other Uses and Disclosures Which Do Not Require Your Consent or Authorization.  Your protected health information can be used and disclosed without your consent or authorization for the following reasons: 

Federal, state or local law may require disclosure under unique circumstances.  For example, disclosure to applicable government officials may be required when a law requires me to report your protected health information to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of abuse or neglect, such as child abuse, domestic abuse, or abuse of an elderly or disabled person. 

Judicial or administrative proceedings may require disclosure.  For example, if you are involved in a lawsuit, custody proceeding, or a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, I may have to use or disclose your protected health information in response to a court order, administrative order, or subpoena.  If a request is made for information about the professional services provided to you at TRANSITIONS and/or the records thereof, such information is privileged under state law, and I will not release this information without your prior written authorization, or a court order.  If you are being evaluated for a third party or where the evaluation is court ordered, this privilege will not apply. In any such cases you will be informed in advance.

To avert a serious threat to health or safety of other(s) or yourself, your protected health information may be used and disclosed only to someone able to prevent the threatened harm from occurring.

When law enforcement requires disclosure, your protected health information may be used and disclosed in response to a search warrant or court order.

CLIENT RIGHTS AND COUNSELOR RESPONSIBILITIES

Client Rights

You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your protected health information However, TRANSITIONS may not be required to agree to a restriction you request.

You have the Right to Receive Confidential Communications of your protected health information by Alternative Means and at Alternative Locations. As an example, you may not want a family member to know that you are seeing me for counseling.  By your request, your mail can be sent to another address or calls made to another location. 

You have the right to inspect or obtain a copy (or both) of your protected health information in mental health and billing records that are used to make decisions about you for as long as the protected health information is maintained in the record. There may be denial of your access to protected health information under certain circumstances. In such cases, you may have this decision reviewed and, on your request, the details of the denial process will be discussed with you.

You have the right to request an amendment of your protected health information for as long as your protected health information is maintained in the record. For clinical or other reasons, I may deny your request.  Upon your request, I will discuss with you the details and applicability of the amendment process.

You generally have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of any and all of your protected health information for which you have neither provided consent nor authorization. Upon your request, I will discuss with you the details of the accounting process.

You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from TRANSITIONS upon request, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically.

 Counselor Responsibilities

I am required by law to maintain the privacy your protected health information and to provide you with a notice of my legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your protected health information. TRANSITIONS reserves the right to change the privacy policies and practices described in this notice. TRANSITIONS is required to abide by the terms currently in effect, as specified in this notice, unless you are notified of such changes. If policies and procedures are revised, you will be provided with a revised notice by posting the revised document in a prominent location in the office, and online, and by notifying current clients in writing, as indicated.

Complaints

If you think that I may have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision I made about access to your protected health information, you may contact Granville Angell, EdS, LPC, NCC, TRANSITIONS Personal and Family Counseling Services, 7894 Falling Brook Lane, Vale, NC 28168-9396 or call 704-735-1554, e-mail, see this link.  Or, you may file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at 200 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201.  Please be assured that I shall take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about my privacy practices.

EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE

This notice is up to date, effective: March 1, 2004

To call TRANSITIONS/SoulMentors: (704) 276-1164

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