Connecting People to Services

HIPAA Confidentiality

Client Information about Therapeutic Confidentiality:

Massachusetts law (Chapter 112) and Federal law (45 CFR; HIPAA, 1996) require that you are advised regarding how personal information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.

The clinicians and staff at Falmouth Human Services are committed to protecting the privacy of your identity and personal information.  All communications between a client and therapist as well as all individually identifiable health information are strictly confidential.  Your specific written permission is needed for the release of any information to another individual or agency.  However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule according to Massachusetts and Federal law.

  1. Your therapist is required to breach confidentiality without a client’s permission if he/she believes that a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person is being abused – in which case a report must be filed with an appropriate state agency.
  2. If, in the therapist’s professional judgment, a client is threatening serious harm to another person, the therapist is required to take protective actions, which may include notifying the potential victim(s), notifying the police, or seeking the client’s hospitalization.
  3. If a client threatens to harm him/herself, the therapist may be required to seek hospitalization for him/her, or to contact family members or others who can help provide protection.
  4. Your therapist may sometimes find it helpful to consult about a case with other professionals within the agency.  In these consultations, the therapist makes every effort to avoid revealing the identity of the client and the consultant is legally required to maintain confidentiality as well.
  5. If you are under eighteen years of age, please be aware that while the specific content of your communications will remain confidential, your parents have a legal right to receive general information about how your treatment is proceeding.
  6. Finally, in an administrative or judicial proceeding, your therapist may be required to comply with a legitimate court order.

Your rights:

  1. You have the right to view, request corrections and ask for a copy of the information in your clinical record, excluding detailed information contained in psychotherapy notes.  Clinical records with no activity for 10 years will be shredded.
  2. In the event of an accidental breach of privacy, you will be notified by mail at the most recent address provided to Falmouth Human Services.
  3. You may ask for an accounting of all disclosures of your personal information by Falmouth Human Services.
  4. You have the right to specify how you would like to be contacted by our agency (Phone, mail, answering machine, etc.) in order to ensure your confidentiality.
  5. You have the right to file a complaint regarding the privacy practices of Falmouth Human Services with the director of Falmouth Human Services and/or the U.S.Secretary of Health and Human Services at (202-619-0257) or http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/index.html.
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