DiscoveryMD of Washington
HIPAA Policies for Mental Health Services
HIPAA Policies & Patient Rights
You have a right to confidentiality. What we discuss in therapy is confidential information and privileged communication in the same way as conversations between an attorney and client. This confidentiality is very important and should help you in being open and honest. Information discussed will remain private and will not be disclosed to any person or agency unless you sign an Authorization form, which meets the legal requirements imposed by the State of Washington and by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, there are some situations where your clinician is permitted or legally required to disclose information without either your consent or Authorization:
(1) If your clinician has a reasonable suspicion, based on the information you provide, that there is a child, vulnerable adult, or developmentally disabled person who is or has been abused or neglected, they must make a report to the appropriate authorities. It may be important for you to know that if you reveal you were abused as a child and your abuser still has access to children, this must be reported to the appropriate authorities;
(2) If there is reason to believe that you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or another person, necessary action must be taken to prevent that harm from occurring, including, but not limited to, the following: Informing friends or family members, contacting police or other officials, or contacting the county designated mental health professionals;
(3) State regulations adopted by the Washington State Department of Health require that your clinician report themselves or another health care provider in the event of a final determination of an act of unprofessional conduct, a determination of risk to patient safety due to a mental or physical condition, or if they have knowledge of unprofessional conduct by another licensed provider and to report a patient who is a health care provider who may pose a clear and present danger to his/her clients. If you have any questions or concerns about this requirement, please discuss them with your clinician.
(4) If a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight activities;
(5) If you file a complaint or lawsuit against your clinician, they are permitted to disclose information as relevant to their defense;
(6) If you file a worker’s compensation claim, and your psychotherapy is relevant to the injury involved in your claim, if properly requested, your clinician must provide a copy of your record to your employer and the Department of Labor and Industries;
(7) Under the Health Care Information Access and Disclosure Law of Washington State, your clinician does not require your written Authorization to confer with current, prior, or future health care providers for purposes of continuing of care, unless you have instructed your clinician otherwise;
(8) Without a signed Authorization, your clinician may occasionally consult with other health or mental health professionals about our work. Should they seek such consultation; every effort will be made to avoid revealing your identity. These other professionals are also legally bound to keep any information discussed confidential. Unless you request otherwise, you will not be told about these consultations, however they will be noted in your clinical record;
(9) Administrative staff process medical billings and to perform other administrative tasks. These individuals are trained to protect your privacy and will not release any information without permission;
(10) ABHC is allowed to disclose information to your health insurance company or to collect past due fees;
(11) If you are involved in a legal proceeding, information can be disclosed if you provide your written Authorization. If ABHC or your clinician is presented with a properly served subpoena and you do not inform a staff member that you are seeking a protective order against compliance, then we will have to comply with the request of the subpoena. We must also disclose if we receive a court order requiring the disclosure.
(12) It is the policy of this office to remind patients of their appointments. We may do this by telephone, e-mail,U.S mail, or by any means convenient for the practice and/or as requested by you. We may send you other communications informing you of changes to office policy and new technology that you might find valuable or informative.
Other Patient Rights
You have a right and responsibility to choose a treatment provider whom best suits your needs. You have a right to refuse treatment or evaluation. You have a right to ask questions about anything that happens in therapy. You have a right to change therapists or receive referral to another therapist if you decide your clinician is not the right therapist for you Your clinician may also refer you to another therapist if they do not feel they have the expertise needed to
Questions:If you have any questions, requests, or concerns about this notice or your Discovery-related health information rights or our use and disclosure of health information, please contact:
The Privacy Officer at (714) 828-1800 ext. 385.