HIPAA is a Federal mandate for privacy issues that cover certain health services. HIPAA is new, expansive and difficult to understand and changes in the following are likely in the future. At this time, our office "probably" does not fall under the HIPAA umbrella, but you may need to know the general rights and obligations directed by this law. In addition to the following, we are guided by the State of Florida, F.S. Ch. 490 and the Ethics Code as suggested by the American Psychological Association. In many (most) cases, the guidelines that we follow are stricter than mandated by HIPAA and your confidentiality is more protected by this office than HIPAA requires. Psychologists have traditionally maintained much stricter control of patient information than other health providers, and I expect this to continue to be the case. If you have specific questions, please contact the office.
Notice of 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. Uses and Disclosures for Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations
I may use or disclose your protected health information (PHI), for treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes with your consent. To help clarify these terms, here are some definitions:
· PHI refers to information in your health record that could identify you.
· Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations
· Treatment is when I provide, coordinate or manage your health care and other services related to your health care. An example of treatment would be when I consult with another health care provider, such as your family physician or another psychologist.
· Payment is when I obtain reimbursement for your healthcare. 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 are activities that relate to the performance and operation of my practice. Examples of health care operations are quality assessment and improvement activities, business-related matters such as audits and administrative services, and 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.
II. Uses and Disclosures Requiring Authorization
The office may use or disclose PHI for purposes outside of treatment, payment, and health care operations when your appropriate authorization is obtained. An authorization is written permission above and beyond the general consent that permits only specific disclosures. In those instances when I am asked for information for purposes outside of treatment, payment and health care operations, I will obtain an authorization from you before releasing this information.
You may revoke all such authorizations at any time, provided each revocation is in writing. You may not revoke an authorization to the extent that (1) I have relied on that authorization; or (2) if the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage, and the law provides the insurer the right to contest the claim under the policy.
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: If I know, or have reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver or other person responsible for the child's welfare, the law requires that I report such knowledge or suspicion to the Florida Department of Child and Family Services.
· Adult and Domestic Abuse: If I know, or have reasonable cause to suspect, that a vulnerable adult (disabled or elderly) has been or is being abused, neglected, or exploited, I am required by law to immediately report such knowledge or suspicion to the Central Abuse Hotline.
· Health Oversight: If a complaint is filed against me with the Florida Department of Health on behalf of the Board of Psychology, the Department 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 for information about your diagnosis or treatment and the records thereof, such information is privileged under state law, and I will not release information without the written authorization of you or your legal representative, or a subpoena of which you have been properly notified and you have failed to inform me that you are opposing the subpoena or a court order. The privilege does not apply when you are being evaluated for a third party or where the evaluation is court ordered. You will be informed in advance if this is the case.
· Serious Threat to Health or Safety: When you present a clear and immediate probability of physical harm to yourself, to other individuals, or to society, I may communicate relevant information concerning this to the potential victim, appropriate family member, or law enforcement or other appropriate authorities.
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 protected health information 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.)
· 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. On your request, I will discuss with you the details of the request process.
· Right to Amend You have the right to request an amendment of PHI for as long as the PHI is maintained in the record. I may deny your request. On your request, I will discuss with you the details of the amendment process.
· Right to an Accounting You generally have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of PHI regarding you. On your request, I will discuss with you the details of the accounting process.
· Right to a Paper Copy You have the right to obtain a paper copy of the notice from me upon request, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically.
· 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.
· If I revise my policies and procedures, I will notify you by mail; otherwise I am required to abide by the terms currently in effect.
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 the Office Manager at (850) 769-5108.
If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated and wish to file a complaint with my office, you may send a written complaint to James E. Hord, Jr. Ph.D.
You may also send a written complaint to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Office Manager will provide you with the appropriate address upon request.
You have specific rights under the Privacy Rule, which are protected and will not affect the services that you receive, if you exercise your right to file a complaint.
VI. Effective Date