|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.||
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:
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
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.
Disclosures of very basic information required by health insurers or to
collect overdue fees.
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.
are some situations where I am permitted or required to disclose information
without either yourconsent or
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
If a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight
activities, I may be required to provide it for them.
If a patient files a complaint or lawsuit against me, I may disclose relevant
information regarding that patient in order to defend myself.
If I am treating a patient who files a worker’s compensation claim, I may,
upon appropriate request, be required to provide otherwise confidential
informationto your employer.
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):
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.
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
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
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