Confidentiality and Privacy Rules Relating to Patient Information
Williamsville Wellness takes the privacy and confidentiality of our patients very seriously and we adheres to HIPAA Privacy Rules. State and federal laws require that we keep your treatment records private, unless otherwise required by law. Therefore, the contents of an intake assessment or counseling sessions are considered to be confidential. Both verbal information and written records about a patient cannot be shared with another party without the consent of the patient or the patient’s legal guardian, except in limited circumstances. It is our policy to not release any information about a patient without a signed release of information, unless required by law. In certain circumstances, noted below, we are permitted to disclose certain information about you without your consent:
Duty to Warn and Protect
A mental health service professional has a duty to take precautions to protect third parties from violent behavior or other serious harm when a patient has orally, in writing, or via sign language, communicated to the professional a specific and immediate threat to cause serious bodily injury or death to an identified or readily identifiable person, if the professional reasonably believes that the patient has the intent and ability to carry out that threat immediately or imminently. To discharge this duty, the professional may warn the potential victim and may notify law enforcement.
Abuse of Children or Vulnerable Adults
If a health care professional has reason to suspect that a child or aged or incapacitated adult has been or is being abused, neglected, or exploited, the professional must report the matter immediately to the local social services department. Newborn infants who have been medically diagnosed for exposure to non-prescription, controlled substances during pregnancy are considered to be at risk of abuse or neglect. A health care professional must report these children to the appropriate social services department.
Prenatal Exposure to Controlled Substances
Health care professionals are required to report admitted prenatal exposure to controlled substances that are potentially harmful.
Professional misconduct by a health care professional must be reported by other health care professionals. In cases in which a professional or legal disciplinary meeting is being held regarding the health care professional’s actions, related records may be released in order to substantiate disciplinary concerns.
Court Orders and Proceedings
Health care professionals are required to release records of patients when a subpoena and an authorizing court order based on good cause shown has been entered. In addition, a health care professional may disclose information relevant to an individual’s mental condition in certain court proceedings.
Emergencies and Research Activities
Health care professionals may disclose patient identifying information to medical personnel who have a need for such information in connection with a medical emergency. Professionals also may disclose patient identifying information for the purpose of conducting scientific research in certain circumstances.
In the Event of a Patient’s Death
Health care professionals may release a deceased patient’s information to a duly authorized executor, administrator, or other such authorized individual when such information is relevant to the personal representation.
Information about patients may be disclosed in consultations with other professionals in order to provide the best treatment possible. In such cases the name of the patient, or any identifying information, is not disclosed. Clinical information about the patient is discussed.
We may not disclose any psychotherapy notes without your prior written authorization, except in limited circumstances.
Other Releases as Permitted by Law
In addition to the instances set forth in this document, health care professionals may disclose information without patient consent as otherwise may be permitted by applicable law, including, but not limited to, Va. Code Ann. § 32.1-127.1:03, 12 Va. Admin. Code 35-115-80(B), and 42 C.F.R. Part 2.