Over the past few decades, the courts and legislatures have set forth certain exceptions to confidentiality and we may be mandated by law to disclose certain material. For example, we are mandated to report any suspected child or elder (vulnerable adult) abuse; we must also intervene if we feel you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or others. In certain cases, when we am subpoenaed or court ordered to produce information, we may have to comply with such mandates. Unless prohibited by law, we will typically make efforts to contact you before turning over information in response to a subpoena or court order. You have the right to revoke a previously authorized release of information.
In regards to child abuse, if we have reason to suspect, on the basis of our professional judgment, that a child is or has been abused, we are required to report our suspicions to the authority or government agency authorized to conduct child abuse investigations. We are required to make such reports even if we do not see the child in our professional capacity. We are also mandated to report suspected child abuse if anyone tells us that he or she knows of any child who is currently being abused.
Also, if a client files a complaint or lawsuit against us or makes negative false statements about our practice or our clinicians, we may disclose relevant information regarding that client in order to defend ourselves. Additionally, if payments are delinquent, we may disclose needed information to a collection agency or attorney. The client is responsible for all costs associated with the collection. With your written permission, we may discuss your case (e.g., with other health care providers) or release your Protected Health Information to the individuals or entities you authorize.
ETHICS GUIDELINES We adhere to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics.
LEGAL PROCEEDINGS We typically do not act as an expert witness in litigation and court proceedings. If you are in a lawsuit and you and your attorney decide to call one of our clinicians as a witness, we will charge for the time away from the practice in accordance with our normal hourly rate of $100.00 ($800.00 retainer is required prior to court appearance). This includes travel and preparation. If you are involved in or contemplating litigation, you may wish to consult with your attorney to determine whether your counseling communications may be protected by the professional counselor-client privilege law or whether such communications may be open to the other side in the lawsuit.