CALIFORNIA NOTICE FORM
Notice of Mental Health Provider Policies and Practices 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.
I. Disclosures for Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations
I may use or disclose your protected health information (PHI) for certain treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes without your authorization. In certain circumstances, I can only do so when the person or business requesting your PHI gives me a written request that includes certain promises regarding protecting the confidentiality of your PHI. To help clarify these terms, here are some definitions:
- “PHI” refers to information in your health record that could identify you.
- “Treatment and Payment Operations”
-Treatment is when I provide or another health care provider diagnoses or treats you. An example of treatment would be when I consult with another health care provider, such as your family physician or another psychologist, regarding your treatment.
-Payment is when I obtain reimbursement for your health care. Examples of payment are when I disclose your PHI to your health insurer to obtain reimbursement for your health care or to determine eligibility or coverage.
-Health Care Operations is when I disclose your PHI to your health care service plan (for example, your health insurer), or to your other health care providers contracting with your plan, for administering the plan, such as case management and care coordination.
- “Use” applies only to activities within my [office, clinic, practice group, etc.] such as sharing, employing, applying, utilizing, examining, and analyzing information that identifies you.
- “Disclosure” applies to activities outside of my [office, clinic, practice group, etc.], such as releasing, transferring, or providing access to information about you to other parties.
- “Authorization” means written permission for specific uses or disclosures.
II. Uses and Disclosures Requiring Authorization
I may use or disclose PHI for purposes outside of treatment, payment,and healthcare operations when your appropriate authorization is obtained. In those instances when I am asked for information for purposes outside of treatment and payment operations, I will obtain an authorization from you before releasing this information. I will also need to obtain an authorization before releasing your psychotherapy notes. “Psychotherapy notes” are notes I have made about our conversation during a private, group, joint, or family counseling session, which I have kept separate from the rest of your medical record. These notes are given a greater degree of protection than PHI.
You may revoke or modify all such authorizations (of PHI or psychotherapy notes) at any time; however, the revocation or modification is not effective until I receive it.
III. Uses and Disclosures with Neither Consent nor Authorization
I may use or disclose PHI without your consent or authorization in the following circumstances:
- Child Abuse: Whenever I, in my professional capacity, have knowledge of or observe a child I know or reasonably suspect has been the victim of child abuse or neglect, I must immediately report such to a police department or sheriff’s department, county probation department, or county welfare department. Also, if I have knowledge of or reasonably suspect that mental suffering has been inflicted upon a child or that his or her emotional well-being is endangered in any other way, I must report such to the above agencies.
- Adult and Domestic Abuse: If I, in my professional capacity, have observed or have knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect of an elder or dependent adult, or if I am told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced these or if I reasonably suspect such, I must report the known or suspected abuse immediately to the local ombudsman or the local law enforcement agency.
I do not have to report such an incident if:
- I have been told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior constituting physical abuse, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect;
- I am not aware of any independent evidence that corroborates the statement that the abuse has occurred;
- the elder or dependent adult has been diagnosed with a mental illness or dementia, or is the subject of a court-ordered conservatorship because of a mental illness or dementia; and
- in the exercise of clinical judgment, I reasonably believe that the abuse did not occur.
Health Oversight: If a complaint is filed against me with the California Board of Psychology, the Board has the authority to subpoena confidential mental health information from me relevant to that complaint.
Judicial or Administrative Proceedings: If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made about the professional services that I have provided you, I must not release your information without 1) your written authorization or the authorization of your attorney or personal representative; 2) a court order; or 3) a subpoena duces tecum (a subpoena to produce records) where the party seeking your records provides me with a showing that you or your attorney have been served with a copy of the subpoena, affidavit and the appropriate notice, and you have not notified me that you are bringing a motion in the court to quash (block) or modify the subpoena. The privilege does not apply when you are being evaluated for a third party or where the evaluation is court-ordered. I will inform you in advance if this is the case.
Serious Threat to Health or Safety: If you communicate to me a serious threat of physical violence against an identifiable victim, I must make reasonable efforts to communicate that information to the potential victim and the police. If I have reasonable cause to believe that you are in such a condition, as to be dangerous to yourself or others, I may release relevant information as necessary to prevent the threatened danger.
Worker’s Compensation: If you file a worker’s compensation claim, I must furnish a report to your employer, incorporating my findings about your injury and treatment, within five working days from the date of your initial examination, and at subsequent intervals as may be required by the administrative director of the Worker’s Compensation Commission in order to determine your eligibility for worker’s compensation.
To Run Our Organization: We can use and share your health information to run our practice, improve your care, and contact you when necessary. For example we use health information about you to manage your treatment and services.
Bill for Services: We can use and share your health information to bill and get payment from health plans or other entities.
IV. Patient’s Rights and Psychologist’s Duties
- Right to Request Restrictions – You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of PHI about you. However, I am not required to agree to a restriction you request.
- 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. (For example, you may not want a family member to know that you are seeing me. Upon your request, I will send your bills to another address.) We will say yes to all reasonable requests.
- Right to Inspect and Copy – You have the right to inspect or obtain a copy (or both) of PHI in my mental health and billing records used to make decisions about you for as long as the PHI is maintained in the record. I may deny your access to PHI under certain circumstances, but in some cases you may have this decision reviewed. Upon your request, I will discuss with you the details of the request and denial process. You can ask to see or get an electronic copy or paper copy of your medical record and other health information we have about you. Ask us how to do this. We will provide a copy or a summary of your health information, usually within 30 days of your request. We may charge a reasonable, cost-based fee. You have the right to see or get an electronic copy of your medical record for those records stored electronically.
- Right to Amend – You have the right to request an amendment of PHI for as long as the PHI is maintained in the record. You can ask us to correct health information about you that you think is incorrect or incomplete. Ask us how to do this. We may say “no” to your request, but we’ll tell you why in writing within 60 days. Upon your request, I will discuss with you the details of the amendment process.
- Right to Ask Us to Limit What We Share – You can ask us not to use or share certain health information for treatment, payment, or our operations. We are not required to agree to your request, and we may say “no” if it would affect your care. If you pay for service or health care item out-of-pocket in full, you can ask us not to share that information for the purpose of payment or our operations with your health insurer. We will say “yes” unless the law requires us to share that information.
- 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 in Section III of this Notice). Upon your request, I will discuss with you the details of the accounting process. You can ask for a list (accounting of the times we have shared your health information for six years prior to the date you ask, who we shared it with and why). We will include all the disclosures except for those about treatment, payment and health care operations, and certain other disclosures (such as any you asked us to make). We’ll provide one accounting a year for free but will charge a reasonable, cost-based fee if you ask for another one within 12 months.
- Right to Get a Copy of This Privacy Notice – You can ask for a paper copy of this notice at any time, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically. We will provide you with a paper copy promptly.
- Right to Choose Someone to Act for You – If you have given someone medical power of attorney or if someone is your legal guardian, that person can exercise your rights and make choices about your health information. We will make sure the person has this authority and can act for you before we take any action.
- Right to File a Complaint – You can complain if you feel that we have violated your rights by contacting us using the information on the back page. You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights by sending a letter to 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201, calling 1-877-696-6775, or visiting www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints.
For certain health information, you can tell us your choices about what we share. If you have a clear preference for how we share your information in the situations we describe below, talk to us. Tell us what you want us to do, and we will follow your instructions.
- In these cases you have the right and choice to tell us to:
- Share information with your family, close friends, or others involved in your care.
- Share information in a disaster relief situation.
- Include your information in a hospital directory. If you are not able to tell us your preference. (for example, if you are unconscious), we may go ahead and share your information if we believe it is in your best interest. We may also share your information when needed to lessen a serious and imminent threat to health or Safety.
- In these cases we never share your information unless you give us written permission:
- Marketing purposes
- Sale of your information
- Most sharing of psychotherapy notes
- In the case of fundraising:
- We may contact you for fundraising efforts, but you can tell us not to contact you.
- I am required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI and to provide you with a notice of my legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI.
- I reserve the right to change the privacy policies and practices described in this notice. Unless I notify you of such changes, however, I am required to abide by the terms currently in effect.
- We will let you know promptly if a breach occurs that may have compromised the privacy or security of your information.
- We must follow the duties and privacy practices described in this notice and give you a copy of it.
- We will not use or share your information other than as described here unless you tell us we can in writing. If you tell us we can, you may change your mind at any time. Let us know in writing if you change your mind.
- For more information see: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/noticecpp.html.
V. Questions and Complaints
If you have questions about this notice, disagree with a decision I make about access to your records, or have other concerns about your privacy rights, you may contact Phillip Collier, Ph.D., 1734 W. Shaw Avenue, Fresno, CA 93711. E-mail: email@example.com.
You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights by sending a letter to 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201, calling 1-877-696-6775, or visiting www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints.
You have specific rights under the Privacy Rule. I will not retaliate against you for exercising your right to file a complaint.
VI. Effective Date
This notice is in effect and was updated October 1,2013