Confidentiality and Privacy
Information shared in counseling is confidential and cannot be disclosed to any party outside the center without the client's prior written consent.
In these circumstances, confidentiality may be broken:
- If such disclosure is necessary to protect the client or someone else from imminent danger;
- In cases of apparent child abuse;
- When courts subpoena counseling records.
This notice describes how psychological and medical information about clients may be used and disclosed, as well as how clients can access their information.
Please review the policies carefully.
Our goal is to take appropriate steps to attempt to safeguard any medical or other personal information that is provided to us. The Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires us to: (1) maintain the privacy of medical information provided to us; (2) provide notice of our legal duties and privacy practices; and (3) abide by the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices currently in effect.
I. Uses and Disclosures for Treatment and Health Care Operations
Counseling and Psychological Services may use or disclose your protected health information (PHI), for treatment and health care operations purposes with your consent. To help clarify these terms, here are some definitions:
- PHI: Refers to personal and identifiable health information about you in your health record. Note: CPS maintains portions of its records in electronic format. All records are stored and protected in accordance with HIPAA and state/federal law.
- Treatment and Health Care Operations: Treatment is when we provide, coordinate or manage your health care and other services related to your health care. An example of treatment would be when we consult with another health care provider, such as your physician or another psychologist or counselor.
- Health Care Operations: Activities that relate to the performance and operation of our agency. 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 our agency such as sharing
- Disclosure: Applies to activities outside of our agency such as releasing, transferring, or providing access to information about you to other parties.
II. Uses and Disclosures Requiring Authorization
Counseling and Psychological Services may use or disclose PHI for purposes outside of treatment and health care operations with your appropriate authorization. An "authorization" is written permission above and beyond the general consent that permits only specific disclosures. If we are asked for information for purposes outside of treatment and health care operations, we 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 we have relied on that authorization.
III. Uses and Disclosures with Neither Consent nor Authorization
Counseling and Psychological Services may use or disclose PHI without your consent or authorization in the following circumstances:
Child Abuse: If, in our professional capacity, we know or suspect that a child under 18 years of age or developmentally disabled, or physically impaired child under 21 years of age has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect, we are required by law to immediately report that knowledge or suspicion to the Ohio Public Children Services Agency, or a municipal or county peace officer.
Adult and Domestic Abuse: If we have reasonable cause to believe that an adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, who resides in Ohio and is unable to provide for his or her own care and protection because of the infirmities of aging or physical or mental impairment, we are required by law to immediately report such belief to the County Department of Job and Family Services.
Judicial or Administrative Proceedings: If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information about your evaluation, diagnosis and treatment and the records thereof, such information is privileged under state law and we will not release this information without written authorization from you or your persona or legally-appointed representative, 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: If your counselor or psychologist believe that you pose a clear and substantial risk of imminent serious harm to yourself or another person, we ma y disclose your relevant confidential information to public authorities, the potential victim, other professionals, and/or your family in order to protect against such harm. If you communicate to me an explicit threat of inflicting imminent and serious physical harm or causing the death of one or more clearly identifiable victims, and we believe you have the intent and ability to carry out the threat, then we are required by law to take one or more of the following actions in a timely manner: 1) take steps to hospitalize you on an emergency basis, 2) establish and undertake a treatment plan calculated to eliminate the possibility that you will carry out the threat, and initiate arrangements for a second opinion risk assessment with another mental health professional, 3) communicate to a law enforcement agency and, if feasible, to the potential victim(s), or victim's parent or guardian if a minor, all of the following information: a) the nature of the threat, b) your identity, and c) the identity of the potential victim(s).
Worker's Compensation: If you file a worker's compensation claim, we may be required to give your mental health information to relevant parties and officials.
IV. Patient's Rights and Provider's Duties
Right to Request Restriction: You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information about you. However, we aren't 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 a client here.) Upon your request, we will send any communications to an alternate address.
Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to both inspect or obtain a copy of your protected health information (i.e., your case file). At your request, we 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. We may deny your request. On your request, we 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 for which you have neither provided consent nor authorization (as described in Section III of this Notice). On your request, we 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 us upon request, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically.
CPS Provider’s Duties
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI and to provide you with a notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI.
We reserve the right to change the privacy policies and practices described in this notice. Unless we notify you of such changes, however, we are required to abide by the terms currently in effect.
If we revise our policies and procedures, we will provide you with notice by mail, if we have your current address. Any changes will be posted in our offices and on our web site. You may request a copy of our current policy at any time.
If you are concerned that we have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your records, you may contact the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services by calling (740) 593-1616.
You may also send a written complaint to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The person listed above can provide you with the appropriate address upon request.
VI. Effective Date
This notice will go into effect on April 13, 2003. Last reviewed 2021.