We take our patients' confidentiality seriously and try our best to protect it beyond what is required by state and federal law and by the ethics code of the medical profession. We will not release information about you or your treatment without your written permission. However, under the following circumstances, the law authorizes and/or requires disclosure of protected health information:
- suspected abuse of a child, developmentally disabled person, elder or other dependent adult
- imminent or planned harm to yourself or others
- required by a court of law (see HIPAA disclosure document).
- if you choose to use your insurance for our visits, I will be required to disclose information regarding your diagnosis and treatment plan to the insurance company
We may also ask your permission to allow contact with your primary care physician or others whose care may interact critically with our work. It is of course your choice whether to permit such contact or not. If you wish to permit it, please download and complete the Consent to Receive/Release Confidential Information form.
If you are interested in learning more about your legal rights to privacy in the healthcare system, please visit www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.
E-mail can be used for scheduling but we recommend patients to communicate about most other matters by leaving a message on the office voice mail. If e-mail is used for a clinical matter, please keep in mind that our email is not encrypted and even with reasonable security measures, it cannot be guaranteed as entirely private and confidential. E-mails about clinical matters will be included as part of your medical record. If you wish to communicate with us via email, please complete the E-mail Communication Consent form.
Due to our work schedule, we are often not immediately available by telephone. When we are unavailable, the telephone is answered by voice mail that is monitored frequently. We will make every effort to return your call on the same day you make it, with the exception of late evening, weekends and holidays.
If there is a life threatening emergency or you are unable to wait for our return call, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. You may also call the Southwest Washington Crisis Line at (800) 626-8137. When we are out of town, another psychiatrist may be covering for us. In this event, our voicemail will provide instructions for contacting the covering psychiatrist.
Unless we explicitly agree otherwise at the beginning of the treatment, we do not provide evaluations nor complete paperwork for legal purposes, for disability or for work-related claims. If we work together, we will not agree to talk with lawyers, guardians-ad-litem, or other parties not directly involved in your treatment. We generally feel these services interfere with the therapeutic relationship and should be contracted separately.