Privacy and Confidentiality Policies at the Kovner Center for Behavioral Health and Psychological Testing

Dr. Kovner does not use email or text messages to communicate clinical information. If you choose to use email for that purpose, you assume the risk of your information being stolen.

Records of your healthcare services are kept safely locked away. You may ask to see and/or copy your record by making an appointment specifically for that purpose. You may also ask your psychologist to correct your record. The information in your record is confidential and will be disclosed to no one without your written consent, unless the law allows otherwise. In addition, when clients enter couples or family therapy, their right to confidentiality from each other is waived. It is not advisable for the therapist and one partner or family member to hold confidential information from the other partner or family members. This does not mean that information will automatically be shared. However, clients will be strongly encouraged to share pertinent information as necessary to augment the therapy process. A culture of secrecy disrupts the effectiveness of couples and family therapy. Thus, if you choose to have a partner or family member participate in therapy, either individually or conjointly, you will be voluntarily waiving the right to confidentiality with them. Do not tell me anything you wish kept secret from your partner or family members, as I reserve the right, at my discretion, to share any information I deem helpful to the therapy.

Clients seen in marriage counseling do not hold the confidentiality privilege individually since the couple is the client. Therefore, any waiver of the privilege must be given by both the husband and wife.

Generally, anything discussed in therapy, and all information obtained from any source, including the client, is confidential. However, confidentiality is not absolute and there are circumstances in which information can or must be released. Under certain circumstances certain information may or must be revealed or released to others. The following are examples of exceptions that may apply:

  1. If the client, (or a dependent child), is in immediate danger to himself or others the law demands that the therapist acts to protect the life of the client and/or dependent child. This may require notification of family or other appropriate persons.
  2. If the client threatens harm to another person, and there is a possibility of injury or death, the law demands that the therapist acts to protect the lives of potential victims. This may require various appropriate interventions, including informing the police and the potential victims.
  3. If the client reports his/her behavior or action against a child, elder, or other dependent adult which is considered abuse, including physical violence, neglect, and/or sexual molestation, or if the client reports such acts by another, the law mandates that the therapist must make a report of suspected abuse to the legal authorities.
  4. If the client is involved in legal action where he/she places his/her psychological condition before the court, the client forfeits his/her right to confidentiality in matters before the court. In such cases, the therapist will attempt to discuss the situation with you in order to clarify and seek alternatives.
  5. You should always be aware that most insurance agreements require you to authorize me to provide a clinical diagnosis to the insurance company. Sometimes additional information such as a treatment plan or summary, or in rare cases, a copy of an entire record, may be requested. This information will become part of the information required to be released to the court.
  6. If your psychologist is subpoenaed and ordered to testify in a court of law and their objections are overruled. This happens in very few instances and typically occurs in legal proceedings involving child custody, law suits in which services you received are considered to be evidence in a court of law, or charges involving certain types of criminal behavior.
  7. If you request that your counselor or therapist communicate with someone, you will normally be asked to sign a Release of Information form and to specify what can be communicated and for how long the release will remain in effect.
  8. If during a medical emergency your therapist or counselor needs to reveal information that is necessary to protect or insure your health and safety. They can only release that information necessary to protect or insure you health and safety.
  9. If your therapist or counselor must take action to collect a debt incurred for services, your name and the amount of your debt may be revealed to a collection agent.
  10. If you are told that you are not a client or patient or if the professional tells you that your communication if not confidential.
  11. If you are a minor, or a minor that is not emancipated, a therapist or counselor may be required to advise or involve your parents or guardian in your treatment. There are circumstance in which a psychotherapist is not required to notify the parents of a minor.
  12. Couples and Family Therapy: In the case of communications between any member of the client unit (couple or family member) there is a “NO SECRETS” policy. That is, anything said to the therapist by one member of the client unit is not necessarily held in confidence from other members of the client unit. That said, it is at Dr. Kovner’s discretion whether that disclosed information is held in confidence or not.

To see the Federal Rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy, Security  Read More

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