Privacy of clients’ records is of utmost concern. The law protects the privacy of all communications between a client and a psychotherapist. In most situations, We can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written Authorization form that meets certain legal requirements imposed by HIPAA and/or Louisiana law.
However, in the following situations, no authorization is required. Disclosures required by health insurers or to collect overdue fees are discussed elsewhere in this Agreement. There are some situations where we are permitted or required to disclose information without your Authorization:
- If you are involved in a court proceeding and a court order is made for information concerning the professional services we provided. We cannot provide any information without your (or your legal representative’s) written authorization, or a court order. If you are involved in or contemplating litigation, you should consult with your attorney to determine whether a court would be likely to order us to disclose information.
- If a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight activities, we may be required to provide it for them.
- If a client files a complaint or lawsuit against us, we may disclose relevant information regarding that client in order to defend ourselves.
- If we have reason to believe that a child under the age of eighteen (18) years has been abused, abandoned or neglected or who observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse, abandonment or neglect, the law requires that we file a report with the appropriate government agency.
- If a client communicates an explicit threat of imminent serious physical harm or death to a clearly identified or identifiable victim or victims, and the client has the apparent intent and ability to carry out such a threat, we may be required to take protective actions. These actions may include notifying the potential victim and contacting the police, and/or seeking hospitalization for the client.
- If we believe that there is an imminent risk that a client will inflict serious physical harm or death on him/herself, we may be required to take protective actions. These actions may include attempting to hospitalize the client, calling the police or contacting family members or others who can assist in protecting the client.
- If such a situation arises, we will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action and we will limit our disclosure to what is necessary.
- Additionally, the privacy of our communications with a client who is a minor is not protected. Parents have a right to ask about the content of psychotherapy. However, we recognize negative impact this might have on a minor client’s willingness to share in therapy. Therefore, we make sure that adolescents and their parents know that our role is to support the adolescent, and we encourage parents to address any questions or concerns about the content of our psychotherapy with the minor instead of through us. If we do have to make a disclosure to the parents due to any of the above reasons, we inform the minor client first and support the client in telling the parents instead of us having to inform parents in such a way that violates the client’s trust.