It is now federal law that I formally notify you about the privacy policies and procedures of my office.
First, unless your treatment is being funded by Workers Compensation* or Medicare** the information that you share with me is confidential and can only be released to someone else with your consent, with a few exceptions. These exceptions are court or legislative mandates having to do with safety***.
The physical records that I keep regarding your care are my property, but the information in the records is yours. You are entitled to review your records and make corrections. You may request copies for yourself or other care givers at a modest fee to cover costs. However, the original record will remain in my possession.
If you wish that I share your record with another, you may notify me and I will have you sign a release form designating with whom your records are to be shared and what records may be sent. In situations in which time does not permit you to come to my office to sign the form I will accept your verbal authorization.
When I receive a release form that you have signed for another person or organization, which we have not discussed, I will attempt to contact you to verify your desire for this release.
You may revoke your authorization for release of information at any time prior to the actual transfer of the records.
* When your treatment is being paid for under a Workers Compensation claim, the insurance company has legal access to your treatment record. I am also required to make regular reports about your treatment, condition, and progress to the insurer.
** Medicare often requires documentation of your treatment before they will pay. When this occurs, I will request that you sign a specific release for that purpose.
*** The legal exceptions to the confidentiality of your treatment are 1) If I reasonably believe that you are in danger and need the assistance of others to protect you. 2) If I reasonably believe that you present a danger to others and require the assistance of others to protect those in danger. (For example, if you are unsafe to drive, there are questions of child or elder abuse, or if you have made specific threats toward another.)
Please feel free to ask questions about the use of your records or other aspects of this policy.