Privacy & Confidentiality

Written permission or authorization from the patient is required to use or disclose PHI for purposes other than treatment, payment, health care operations, or as required by law or for public health reasons

In general, the HIPAA privacy rule gives individuals the right to request a restriction on uses and disclosures of their protected health information.  The individual is also provided the right to request confidential communications or that a communication of Private Health Information be made by alternative means, such as sending correspondence to the individual’s office instead of the individual’s home. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.

The Privacy Rule does not require a provider to obtain a signed consent form before sharing information for treatment purposes.  Health care providers can freely share information for treatment purposes without a signed patient authorization.

 The Privacy Rule does not cut off all communications between the provider and the families and friends of patients. As long as the patient does not object, The Privacy Rule permits the provider to:

  • share needed information with family, friends, or anyone else a patient identifies as involved in his or her care;
  • disclose information when needed to notify a family member or anyone responsible for the patient's care about the patient's location or general condition;
  • share the appropriate information for these purposes even when the patient is incapacitated if doing so is in the best interest of the patient.

A health care provider may disclose the following to appropriate entities, even if the patient/family objects:

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.
  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.
  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.

A printed copy of this document is available on request.