NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.
THE PRIVACY OF YOUR HEALTH CARE INFORMATION IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Your health record contains personal information about you and your health. This information about you that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services is referred to as Protected Health Information ("PHI"). This Notice of Privacy Practices describes how therapists at Marriage & Family Institute may use and disclose your PHI in accordance with applicable law and professional codes of ethics. It also describes your rights regarding how you may gain access to and control your PHI.
Our therapists are required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI and to provide you with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI. They are required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices. They reserve the right to change the terms of the Notice of Privacy Practices at any time. Any new Notice of Privacy Practices will be effective for all PHI that they maintain at that time. They will provide you with a copy of the revised Notice of Privacy Practices by posting a copy on the Marriage & Family Institute website, by sending a copy to you in the mail upon request, or by providing one to you at your next appointment.
HOW THERAPISTS MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
For Treatment. Your PHI may be used and disclosed by those who are involved in your care for the purpose of providing, coordinating, or managing your health care treatment and related services. This includes consultation with clinical supervisors or other treatment team members. They may disclose PHI to any other consultant only with your authorization.
For Payment. They may use and disclose PHI so that they can receive payment for the treatment services provided to you. This will only be done with your authorization. Examples of payment-related activities are: making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, processing claims with your insurance company, reviewing services provided to you to determine medical necessity, or undertaking utilization review activities. If it becomes necessary to use collection processes due to lack of payment for services, they will only disclose the minimum amount of PHI necessary for purposes of collection.
For Health Care Operations. Therapists may use or disclose, as needed, your PHI in order to support our business activities including, but not limited to, quality assessment activities, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. For example, they may share your PHI with third parties that perform various business activities (e.g., billing or typing services) provided they have a written contract with the business that requires it to safeguard the privacy of your PHI. For training or teaching purposes PHI will be disclosed only with your authorization.
Required by Law. Under the law, therapists must make disclosures of your PHI to you upon your request. In addition, they must make disclosures to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of investigating or determining our compliance with the requirements of the Privacy Rule.
Without Authorization. Applicable law and ethical standards permit therapists to disclose information about you without your authorization only in a limited number of other situations. The types of uses and disclosures that may be made without your authorization include those that are:
" Required by Law, such as the mandatory reporting of child or elderly abuse or neglect or mandatory government agency audits or investigations (such as a professional licensing board or the health department)
" Required by Court Order
" Necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. If information is disclosed to prevent or lessen a serious threat it will be disclosed to a person or persons reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat, including the target of the threat.
Verbal Permission. Therapists may use or disclose your information to family members that are directly involved in your treatment with your verbal permission.
With Authorization. Uses and disclosures not specifically permitted by applicable law will be made only with your written authorization, which may be revoked.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR PHI
You have the following rights regarding the PHI therapists maintain about you. To exercise any of these rights, please submit your request in writing to your therapists at Marriage & Family Institute:
"Right of Access to Inspect and Copy." You have the right, which may be restricted only in exceptional circumstances, to inspect and copy PHI that may be used to make decisions about your care. Your right to inspect and copy PHI will be restricted only in those situations where there is compelling evidence that access would cause serious harm to you. Your therapist may charge a reasonable, cost-based fee for copies.
"Right to Amend." If you feel that the PHI your therapist has about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask him or her to amend the information, although your therapist is not required to agree to the amendment.
"Right to an Accounting of Disclosures." You have the right to request an accounting of certain of the disclosures that the therapist makes of your PHI. He or she may charge you a reasonable fee if you request more than one accounting in any 12-month period.
"Right to Request Restrictions." You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the use or disclosure of your PHI for treatment, payment, or health care operations. Your therapist is not required to agree to your request.
"Right to Request Confidential Communication." You have the right to request that your therapist communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location.
"Right to a Copy of this Notice." You have the right to a copy of this notice.
If you believe she has violated your privacy rights, you have the right to file a complaint in writing with your therapist at Marriage & Family Institute or with the Secretary of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201 or by calling (202) 619-0257. Your therapist will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
Revised January 2008