In general, the confidentiality of all communications between a patient and a therapist is protected by law. BHCS, LLC can only release information about our work to others with your written permission. However, there are some exceptions. First, there are some situations in which we would be legally required to take action that might necessitate revealing information about a patient’s treatment. For example, if we believe that a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person is being abused, we may be required to file a report with the appropriate state agency. If BHCS, LLC believes that a patient is threatening serious bodily harm to another person, we may be required to take protective actions, which may require notifying the potential victim, notifying the police, or arranging for hospitalization. If a patient threatens to harm him/herself, we may be required to seek hospitalization for the patient or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection. Another situation that might be an exception to confidentiality would involve judicial proceedings. In most judicial proceedings, you would have the right to prevent the release of information about your treatment. However, in some circumstances such as child custody proceedings and proceedings in which your emotional condition is an important element, a judge may require my testimony if he/she determines that resolution of the issues before him/her demands it. These situations have rarely arisen in my practice. Should such a situation occur, we would make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action.
CONFIDENTIALITY REGARDING MINORS
If you are under 18 years of age, please be aware that the law may allow your parents access to your treatment records. It is my policy to discuss the limits of confidentiality with a patient who is a minor and his/her parents at the beginning of treatment and to determine the extent to which information about treatment will be shared with parents.
LIMITS TO CONFIDENTIALITY
Contents of all therapy sessions are considered to be confidential. Both verbal information and written records about a client cannot be shared with another party without the written consent of the client or the client’s legal guardian.
Noted exceptions are as follows:
Duty to Warn and Protect
When a client discloses intentions or a plan to harm another person, the mental health professional is required to warn the intended victim and report this information to legal authorities. In cases in which the client discloses or implies a plan for suicide, the health care professional is required to notify legal authorities and make reasonable attempts to notify the family of the client.
Abuse of Children and Vulnerable Adults
If a client states or suggests that he or she is abusing a child (or vulnerable adult) or has recently abused a child (or vulnerable adult), or a child (or vulnerable adult) is in danger of abuse, the mental health professional is required to report this information to the appropriate social service and/or legal authorities.
Prenatal Exposure to Controlled Substances
Mental Health care professionals are required to report admitted prenatal exposure to controlled substances that are potentially harmful.
Parents or legal guardians of non-emancipated minor clients have the right to access the clients’ records.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO YOU
BHCS, LLC is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with this notice of privacy practices, to let you know how your health information is used and disclosed. We reserve the right to change our practices regarding the health information we keep. If we make a material change in our privacy practices, we will give you a copy, by mail or in-person. Amended notices will also be posted in our offices. Unless otherwise required by law, your health record is the physical property of BHCS,LLC but the information in it belongs to you, and you have the right to have your health information kept confidential.
There are some restrictions on these rights, and special rules apply which restrict access to psychotherapy notes, HIV/AIDS information, and federally protected drug and alcohol information. You can exercise your rights or obtain additional information about your rights by contacting one of the persons listed in the last section of this notice.