Dr. Jeffrey Bryer  

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Confidentiality  

  

The law protects the privacy of all communications between a patient and a psychologist. In most situations, I can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written Authorization form that meets certain legal requirements imposed by HIPAA, a federal law.  There are other situations that require only that you provide written, advance consent.    

 

   

Your signature on the Professional Services Agreement, which is presented for your review at the beginning of each course of treatment, provides general consent for the following activities:

 

1).I may occasionally find it helpful to consult other health and mental health professionals about a case.  During such a consultation, I do not reveal the identity of my patient.  The other professionals are also legally bound to keep the information confidential.

 

2). If you are being evaluated or treated by another West Chester Psychiatric Associates professional (Dr. Stuart Levy or Dr. Suzanne Levy), I will assume I have your permission to discuss pertinent evaluation and/or treatment information with the appropriate colleague(s) to facilitate their professional work with you and to allow for coordination of treatment. 

 

3). Disclosures of very basic information required by health insurers or to collect overdue fees.

    

4). If a patient seriously threatens to harm himself/herself, I may be obligated to seek hospitalization for him/her, or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.

 

 

There are some situations where I am permitted or required to disclose information without either your consent or authorization:

 

1). If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information concerning the professional services I provided to you, such information is protected by the psychologist-patient privilege law.   A court order from a judge, however, could compel me to release information without your written authorization.  If you are involved in or contemplating litigation, you should consult with your attorney to determine whether a court would be likely to order me to disclose information.

 

2). If a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight activities, I may be required to provide it for them.

 

3). If a patient files a complaint or lawsuit against me, I may disclose relevant information regarding that patient in order to defend myself.

 

4). If I am treating a patient who files a worker’s compensation claim, I may, upon appropriate request, be required to provide otherwise confidential information to your employer.  

  

 

There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to take actions, which I believe are necessary to attempt to protect others from harm and I may have to reveal some information about a patient’s treatment (these situations are unusual in my practice):

 

1). If I have reason to believe that a child who I am evaluating or treating is an abused child, the law requires that I file a report with the appropriate government agency.  Once such a report is filed, I may be required to provide additional information.

 

2). If I have reason to believe that an elderly person or other adult is in need of protective services (regarding abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment), the law allows me to report this to appropriate authorities.  Once such a report is filed, I may be required to provide additional information.

 

3). If I believe that one of my patients presents a serious specific and immediate threat of serious bodily injury regarding a specifically identified or a reasonably identifiable victim and he/she is likely to carry out the threat or intent, I may required to take protective actions, such as warning the potential victim, contacting the police, or initiating proceedings for hospitalization

 

 

If such a situation arises, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action and I will limit my disclosure to what is necessary.

 

While this written summary of exceptions to confidentiality should prove helpful in informing you about potential problems, it is important that we discuss any questions or concerns that you may have now or in the future.  The laws governing confidentiality can be quite complex, and I am not an attorney.  In situations where specific advice is required, formal legal advice may be needed.

  

 


Copyright© 2003-2010   Dr. Jeffrey Bryer