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Privacy Practices

This page explains the lengthy rules about confidentiality and how your private health information is protected.

If you have any other questions about this, please let Danielle know. She'll be happy to answer your questions.

All of our communication becomes part of the clinical record, which is accessible to you upon request.  I will keep confidential anything you say as part of our counseling relationship, with the following exceptions:  (a) you direct me in writing to disclose information to someone else, (b) it is determined you are a danger to yourself or others (including child or elder abuse or neglect), or (c) I am ordered by a court to disclose information.  Additional information is below and in the Notice of Privacy Practices form that will be sent to you prior to beginning services. 

 

  • Court Orders & Legal Issued Subpoenas: If I receive a subpoena for your records, I will contact you so you may take whatever steps you deem necessary to prevent the release of your confidential information.  I will contact you twice by phone.  If I cannot get in touch with you by phone, I will send you written correspondence.  If a court of law issues a legitimate court order, I am required by law to provide the information specifically described in the order.  Despite any attempts to contact you and keep your records confidential, I am required to comply with a court order.  

  • Law Enforcement and Public health: A public health authority that is authorized by law to collect or receive such information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability; to a health oversight agency for oversight activities authorized by law, including audits; civil, administrative, or criminal investigations; inspections; licensure or disciplinary actions; civil, administrative, or criminal proceedings or action; limited information (such as name, address DOB, dates of treatment, etc.) to a law enforcement official for the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; and information that your clinician believes in good faith establishes that a crime has been committed on the premises.

  • Governmental Oversight Activities: To an appropriate agency information directly relating to the receipt of health care, claim for public benefits related to mental health, or qualification for, or receipt of, public benefits or services when a your mental health is integral to the claim for benefits or services, or for specialized government functions such as fitness for military duties, eligibility for VA benefits, and national security and intelligence.

  • Upon Your Death: To a law enforcement official for the purpose of alerting of your death if there is a suspicion that such death may have resulted from criminal conduct;  to a coroner or medical examiner for the purpose of identifying a deceased person, determining a cause of death, or other duties as authorized by law.

  • Victim of a Crime: Limited information, in response to a law enforcement official's request for information about you if you are suspected to be a victim of a crime; however, except in limited circumstances, we will attempt to get your permission to release information first.

  • Court Ordered Therapy: If therapy is court ordered, the court may request records or documentation of participation in services.  I will discuss the information and/or documentation with you in session prior to sending it to the court. Please note I do not typically work with individuals who have been court ordered to attend therapy.

  • Written Request: Clients must sign a release of information form before any information may be sent to a third party.  A summary of visits may be given in lieu of actual “psychotherapy/process notes”, except if the third party is part of the medical team.  If therapy sessions involve more than one person, each person over the age of 18 MUST sign the release of information before information is released.  

  • Fee Disputes: In the case of a credit card dispute, I reserve the right to provide the necessary documentation (i.e. your signature on the “Therapy Agreement, Policies, and Consent” that covers the cancellation policy to your bank or credit card company should a dispute of a charge occur.  If there is a financial balance on account, a bill will be sent to the home address on the intake form unless otherwise noted.  

  • Couples Counseling & “No Secret” Policy: When working with couples, all laws of confidentiality exist.  I request that neither partner attempt to triangulate me into keeping a “secret” that is detrimental to couple’s therapy goal.  If one partner requests that I keep a “secret” in confidence, I may choose to end the therapeutic relationship and give referrals for other therapists as our work and your goals then become counter-productive.  However, if one party requests a copy of couples or family therapy records in which they participated, an authorization from each participant (or their representatives and/or guardians) in the sessions before the records can be released.

  • Dual Relationships & Public: Our relationship is strictly professional.  In order to preserve this relationship, it is imperative that there is no relationship outside of the counseling relationship (ie: social, business, or friendship).  If we run into each other in a public setting, I will not acknowledge you as this would jeopardize confidentiality.  If you were to acknowledge me, your confidentiality could be at risk.   

  • Social Media: No friend requests on our personal social media outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) will be accepted from current or former clients.  If you choose to comment on our professional social media pages or posts, you do so at your own risk and may breach confidentiality.  I cannot be held liable if someone identifies you as a client.  Posts and information on social media are meant to be educational and should not replace therapy.  Please do not contact me through any social media site or platform.  They are not confidential, nor are they monitored, and may become part of medical records.  

  • Electronic Communication: If you need to contact me outside of our sessions, please do so via email. DO NOT communicate sensitive information over text or email. Emails can be used to ask me to call you back or to discuss scheduling. Emailing and texting is not a substitute for sessions. Phones can be lost or stolen.   The identity of the person texting is unknown as someone else may have possession of the client’s phone. E-mail is not confidential.  Do not communicate sensitive medical or mental health information via email.  Furthermore, if you send email from a work computer, your employer has the legal right to read it.  E-mail is a part of your medical record.  

    • Do not use e-mail for emergencies.  In the case of an emergency call 911, your local emergency hotline or go to the nearest emergency room. In case of an emergency, you can access emergency assistance by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.  If either you or someone else is in danger of being harmed, dial 911. 

  • Sessions Outside the Office: From time to time, clients like to meet in an alternate location (i.e. their home, in public, or somewhere more conducive for them).  We may be able to accommodate this request, however, this can put your confidentiality at risk.  

  • Emergency Care: In the event of a medical emergency you consent to allow Clouds of Thought Counseling, PLLC to seek emergency care on your behalf (for example calling 911 to your location). 

If you have additional questions about confidentiality, please let Danielle know.

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