Federal and State laws protect your confidentiality (See 42 U.S.C. 290dd-3 and 290ee-3 for Federal laws and 42 CFR Part 2, 491.0147 FL). Your counselor will not share information with any person outside of Oceanic Counseling Group LLC. without your written permission, except as required by law or as needed to file your insurance claim.
EXCEPTIONS TO CONFIDENTIALITY
There are some potential exceptions to the general rule of confidentiality. Certain Federal and State laws and other special circumstances may necessitate exceptions to the general expectation of confidentiality. Some of the most prominent and important exceptions include:
* THREATS OF HARM: If you threaten to harm either yourself (e.g., suicide threats) or someone else and I believe your threat to be imminent, we are required by law to take whatever actions seem necessary to protect you and/or others from harm. This may include our divulging confidential information to others, including the appropriate authorities. Even if a potential threat is not imminent, we reserve the right to contact spouses, family members, and/or other significant persons so that we may enlist their assistance in helping you to manage yourself. Similarly, if you express an intention to commit a crime that endangers yourself or others, we are allowed by law to disclose confidential information if this is necessary to prevent the crime.
* ABUSE OR NEGLECT: If you indicate, directly or indirectly, that you or someone you know is or may be abusing or neglecting a child, an elderly person, or an otherwise impaired person (e.g., a mentally retarded adult), your counselor is required by law to report this to the proper authorities.
* COURT ORDERS: If you are (or become) involved in litigation of any kind and it becomes known that you have received mental health services (thereby making your mental health an issue before the court), you may be waiving your right to keep your record confidential. You may wish to consult with your attorney about these matters before you disclose that you have received treatment. Your counselor attempt to protect your confidentiality appropriately, but if a court order is issued for your record, State law dictates that your counselor must comply.
* MINORS AND WARDS: If you are a legal minor (i.e., a non-emancipated person under 18 years of age) or you otherwise have one or more legal guardian(s), then your legal guardian(s) is(are) considered by law to be the one(s) responsible for making treatment decisions, including decisions about what access is allowed to your treatment record. In most cases, your counselor will ask the legal guardian(s) to waive his/her/their rights in this regard and to allow you to be treated as if you were able to make those decisions for yourself. These can be complex situations that are best dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
* FAMILY/MARITAL: If treatment involves others close to you, such as your spouse, child(ren), friends, etc., then your counselor will need to clarify our role in relation to each person. In most cases, there is only one identified patient, and your counselor’s allegiance will be first and foremost to that person. But there are exceptions, such as when your counselor is providing marital therapy to two persons, in which case the relationship is the “client” and therefore your counselor cannot “take sides” with either person (e.g., testify for one or the other in divorce or child custody disputes).
* COLLECTION OF FEES: If we must resort to the use of a collection agency in order to receive payments due for services, we are allowed by law to release confidential information without patients’ consent.
HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws allow you access to your file and protect the electronic transfer of information.