I take the confidentiality of the individuals I work with seriously and comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). If you choose to participate in the testing process, I will provide you with a detailed notice of privacy practices that I must follow. It is important to know that while mental health treatment is confidential, there are some limits to this confidentiality that I am required to follow. The following is an overview of these limits, and your confidentiality will be discussed in more detail at the beginning of your assessment process.
Payment: If you choose to use your health insurance to pay for your assessment, I will provide the minimum required protected health information to your insurance provider. It is important to know that this includes mental health diagnoses and basic demographic information.
Child Abuse: If there is a reasonable suspicion that your child has experienced physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or witnessed domestic violence, I am mandated by law to report this to Child Protective Services. If an adult reports having had any of these experiences as a child and the perpetrator currently has access to children, I am bound by the same mandate. If I am required to make such a report, it is in order to protect the safety of the child and to assist the family to find more effective ways of coping with tension and stress.
Elder Abuse: If there is evidence that an elderly person or dependent adult is being physically, sexually, or mentally abused, neglected (including medical neglect), financially exploited, or subjected to isolation or abandonment, I am mandated by law to report this to Adult Protective Services. If I am required to make such a report, it is in order to ensure the safety of the elderly person or dependent adult.
Tarasoff: Under this law (California Civil Code 43.92), if a client or client's family member discloses to me imminent plans and means to do grave bodily injury to another person or group of people, I have a duty to warn the intended victim or victims and to contact law enforcement. This is in order to keep the client and the people around him or her safe.
5150: This refers to the California Welfare and Institutions Code (Section 5150) that states that a person can be involuntarily hospitalized for 72 hours if he or she is at imminent risk of harm to self or others, or is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder. A person is considered to be gravely disabled if he or she is unable to provide him or herself with food, shelter, and clothing. The intent of a 5150 is to stabilize the client and keep him or her and others around him or her safe. It is important to know that I do not have the authority to place someone on a 5150 hold. If there is a concern that someone is at imminent risk of harm to self or others or is gravely disabled, I will contact emergency services, who will make that determination.