As a Deaf therapist, I have worked with in a wide variety of settings: out-patient mental health programs, a psychiatric hospital, school settings, and privately for over 30 years. My specialties include domestic violence issues, trauma responses, and grief/loss. My aim is to support my clients in discovering their own strengths and coping skills that works best for them so they can heal and thrive.
Notice of Privacy Practices
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL & MENTAL HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.
PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
In this notice we use the terms “we,” “us,” and “our” to describe National Deaf Therapy.
I. WHAT IS “PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION”?
Your protected health information (PHI) is individually identifiable health information, including demographic information, about your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition, health care services you receive, and past, present or future payment for your health care. Demographic information means information such as your name, social security number, address, and date of birth.
PHI may be in oral, written or electronic form. Examples of PHI include your medical record, claims record, enrollment or disenrollment information, and communications between you and your health care provider about your care.
Your individually identifiable health information ceases to be PHI 50 years after your death.
II. ABOUT OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT YOUR PHI
By law, we must:
- protect the privacy of your PHI;
- tell you about your rights and our legal duties with respect to your PHI;
- notify you if there is a breach of your unsecured PHI; and
- tell you about our privacy practices and follow our notice currently in effect.
We take these responsibilities seriously and have put in place administrative safeguards (such as security awareness training and policies and procedures), technical safeguards (such as encryption and passwords), and physical safeguards (such as locked areas and requiring badges) to protect your PHI and, as in the past, we will continue to take appropriate steps to safeguard the privacy of your PHI.
III. YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR PHI
This section tells you about your rights regarding your PHI and describes how you can exercise these rights.
Your right to access and amend copies of your PHI
Subject to certain exceptions, you have the right to view or get a copy of your PHI that we maintain in records relating to your care or decisions about your care or payment for your care. Requests must be in writing. After we receive your written request, we will let you know when and how you can see or obtain a copy of your record. In certain circumstances, if you agree, we will give you a summary or explanation of your PHI instead of providing copies. We are permitted to charge you a fee for the copies, summary, or explanation.
If we do not have the record you asked for but we know who does, we will tell you who to contact to request it. In limited situations, we may deny some or all of your request to see or receive copies of your records, but if we do, we will tell you why in writing and explain your right, if any, to have our denial reviewed.
If you believe there is a mistake in your PHI or that important information is missing, you may request that we correct or add to the record. Requests must be in writing, tell us what corrections or additions you are requesting, and why the corrections or additions should be made. We will respond in writing after receiving your request. If we approve your request, we will make the correction or addition to your PHI. If we deny your request, we will tell you why and explain your right to file a written statement of disagreement.
Submit all written requests for access or amendments to us at National Deaf Therapy.
Your right to choose how we send PHI to you or someone else
You may ask us to send your PHI to you at a different address (for example, your work address) or by different means (for example, fax instead of regular mail).
If your PHI is stored electronically, you may request a copy of the records in an electronic format offered by National Deaf Therapy. You may also make a specific written request to National Deaf Therapy to transmit the electronic copy to a designated third party.
If the cost of meeting your request involves more than a reasonable additional amount, we are permitted to charge you our costs that exceed that amount.
Your right to an accounting of disclosures of PHI
You may ask us for a list of our disclosures of your PHI. Email us at Admin@nationaldeaftherapy.com. You are entitled to one disclosure accounting in any 12-month period at no charge.
An accounting does not include certain disclosures, for example, disclosures:
- to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations;
- for which National Deaf Therapy had a signed authorization;
- of your PHI to you;
- from a National Deaf Therapy facility directory;
- for notifications for disaster relief purposes;
- to persons involved in your care and persons acting on your behalf; or
- not covered by the right to an accounting.
Your right to request limits on uses and disclosures of your PHI
You may request that we limit our uses and disclosures of your PHI for treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes. We will review and consider your request. You may email us at Admin@nationaldeaftherapy.com, for consideration of your request.
We are not required to agree to your request, except to the extent that you request a restriction on disclosures to a health plan or insurer for payment or health care operations purposes and the items or services have been paid for out of pocket in full. However, we can still disclose the information to a health plan or insurer for the purpose of treating you. For requests to restrict your PHI for payment or health care operations purposes, please request the restriction prior to receiving services at the National Deaf Therapy.
If the services are not paid for in full and out of pocket by you or by someone on your behalf, we do not have to agree to your request to restrict uses or disclosures of PHI for health care operations, payment or treatment purposes. We will consider all submitted requests and, if we deny your request, we will notify you in writing.
Your right to receive a paper copy of this notice
You have a right to receive a paper copy of this notice upon request.
IV. NATIONAL DEAF THERAPY COMPANIES SUBJECT TO THIS NOTICE
This notice applies to the National Deaf Therapy:
To provide you with the health care you expect, to treat you, to pay for your care and to conduct our operations, such as quality assurance, accreditation, licensing and compliance, these National Deaf Therapy companies share your PHI with each other.
Our personnel may have access to your PHI either as employees, physicians, volunteers or persons working with us in other capacities. Our region may share your PHI in connection with shared services and other mental health services for treatment, payment, or health care operations purposes. For example, if you are being considered for a psychiatric service, we will share your PHI with your selected psychiatric network.
This Notice of Privacy Practices does not apply to our contracted providers who are not part of National Deaf Therapy’s workforce. Please contact those providers directly for information about their privacy practices.
V. HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PHI
Your confidentiality is important to us. Our mental health therapists are required to maintain the confidentiality of the PHI of our members and patients, and we have policies and procedures and other safeguards to help protect your PHI from improper use and disclosure. Sometimes, we are allowed by law to use and disclose certain PHI without your written permission. We briefly describe these uses and disclosures below and give you some examples.
How much PHI is used or disclosed without your written permission will vary depending, for example, on the intended purpose of the use or disclosure. Sometimes we may only need to use or disclose a limited amount of PHI, such as to send you an appointment reminder or to confirm that you are a health plan member. At other times, we may need to use or disclose more PHI such as when we are providing medical treatment.
- Treatment: This is the most important use and disclosure of your PHI. For example, other mental health agencies’ physicians, nurses, and other health care personnel, including trainees, involved in your care use and disclose your PHI to diagnose your condition and evaluate your health care needs. Our personnel will use and disclose your PHI in order to provide and coordinate the care and services you need: for example, prescriptions, evaluation, and many more. If you need care from health care providers who are not part of National Deaf Therapy, such as community resources to assist with your health care needs at home, we may disclose your PHI to them.
- Payment: Your PHI may be needed to determine our responsibility to pay for, or to permit us to bill and collect payment for, treatment and health-related services that you receive. For example, we may have an obligation to pay for health care you receive from an outside provider. When you or the provider sends us the bill for health care services, we use and disclose your PHI to determine how much, if any, of the bill we are responsible for paying.
- Health care operations: We may use and disclose your PHI for certain health care operations, for example, quality assessment and improvement, training and evaluation of health care professionals, licensing, accreditation, and determining premiums and other costs of providing health care.
- Business associates: We may contract with business associates to perform certain functions or activities on our behalf, such as payment and health care operations. These business associates must agree to safeguard your PHI.
- Appointment reminders: We may use your PHI to contact you about appointments for your mental health therapy appointment.
- Communications with family and others when you are present: Sometimes a family member or other person involved in your care will be present when we are discussing your PHI with you. If you object, please tell us and we won’t discuss your PHI or we will ask the person to leave.
- Communications with family and others when you are not present: There may be times when it is necessary to disclose your PHI to a family member or other person involved in your care because there is an emergency, you are not present, or you lack the decision making capacity to agree or object. In those instances, we will use our professional judgment to determine if it’s in your best interest to disclose your PHI. If so, we will limit the disclosure to the PHI that is directly relevant to the person’s involvement with your health care. For example, we may allow someone to pick up a prescription for you.
- Disclosures to parents as personal representatives of minors: In most cases, we may disclose your minor child’s PHI to you. In some situations, however, we are permitted or even required by law to deny your access to your minor child’s PHI – for example, information about drug use or addiction, certain mental health services, and venereal disease.
- Research: National Deaf Therapy engages in extensive and important research. Some of our research may involve mental health researches and some is limited to collection and analysis of health data. Research of all kinds may involve the use or disclosure of your PHI. Your PHI can generally be used or disclosed for research without your permission if an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approves such use or disclosure. An IRB is a committee that is responsible, under federal law, for reviewing and approving human subjects research to protect the safety of the participants and the confidentiality of PHI.
- Required by law: In some circumstances federal or state law requires that we disclose your PHI to others. For example, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services may review our compliance efforts, which may include seeing your PHI.
- Lawsuits and other legal disputes: We may use and disclose PHI in responding to a court or administrative order, a subpoena, or a discovery request. We may also use and disclose PHI to the extent permitted by law without your authorization, for example, to defend a lawsuit or arbitration.
- Law enforcement: We may disclose PHI to authorized officials for law enforcement purposes, for example, to respond to a search warrant, report a crime on our premises, or help identify or locate someone.
- Serious threat to health or safety: We may use and disclose your PHI if we believe it is necessary to avoid a serious threat to your health or safety or to someone else’s.
- Abuse or neglect: By law, we may disclose PHI to the appropriate authority to report suspected child abuse or neglect or to identify suspected victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
- Coroners and funeral directors: We may disclose PHI to a coroner or medical examiner to permit identification of a body, determine cause of death, or for other official duties. We may also disclose PHI to funeral directors.
- Inmates: Under the federal law that requires us to give you this notice, inmates do not have the same rights to control their PHI as other individuals. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or in the custody of a law enforcement official, we may disclose your PHI to the correctional institution or the law enforcement official for certain purposes, for example, to protect your health or safety or someone else’s.
VI. ALL OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES OF YOUR PHI REQUIRE YOUR PRIOR WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION
Except for those uses and disclosures described above, we will not use or disclose your PHI without your written authorization. Some instances in which we may request your authorization for use or disclosure of PHI are:
VII. CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE
We may change this notice and our privacy practices at any time, as long as the change is consistent with state and federal law. Any revised notice will apply both to the PHI we already have about you at the time of the change, and any PHI created or received after the change takes effect. If we make an important change to our privacy practices, we will promptly change this notice and make the new notice available on our website. We will also publish any changes to the notice in our member publication. Except for changes required by law, we will not implement an important change to our privacy practices before we revise this notice.
VIII. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE
This notice is effective on March 5, 2018.