Bay Area Health Psychology  

Our Confidentiality & Privacy Policy

We abide by the legal and ethical standards for confidentiality maintained by the American Psychological Association and by the State of California and the State of Illinois. In most situations, we can only release information about treatment when a patient (or legal guardian) signs a written Authorization form that meets certain legal requirements from HIPAA and/or state law. However, in the following situations, no authorization is required:

  • We may find it helpful to consult with another health and mental health professional about a patient. During a consultation, we make every effort to avoid revealing the identity of the patient. The other professionals are also legally bound to keep the information confidential. We note all consultations in our clinical records.
  • If a patient is involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information concerning the professional services provided to the patient or information discussed during sessions, this information is protected by the psychologist-patient privilege. We cannot provide any information without written authorization unless there is a court order. However, if the court orders a release of information to the court, we are required by law to do so. If a patient is involved in or contemplating litigation, that patient should consult with an attorney to determine whether a court would be likely to order a disclosure of information.
  • If a government agency requests information for health oversight activities, we may be required to provide information to them.
  • If a patient files a complaint or lawsuit against one of our staff, we are allowed to disclose information about when sessions took place, what was discussed in sessions, and notes to the court for our defense.
  • If a patient files a worker’s compensation claim, we may be required, upon written request of the patient's employer, to provide all information relevant to or bearing upon the injury for which the claim was filed.

There are some situations in which we are legally required to take actions that are necessary to protect others from harm. In these situations we may have to reveal information about a patient's treatment.

  • If we have reason to believe that a child under the age of 18 has been abused, abandoned or neglected, we are required by law to file a report with an appropriate government agency. Once the report is filed, we may be required to provide additional information.
  • If we have reason to believe that an elder person, 65 years or older, or a dependent adult has been abused, abandoned or neglected, we are required by law to file a report with an appropriate government agency. Once the report is filed, we may be required to provide additional information.
  • If a patient communicates an explicit threat of imminent serious physical harm or death to a clearly identifiable victim or victims, and we believe the patient has the apparent intent and ability to carry out such a threat, we are required to take protective actions including notifying the potential victim(s), contacting the police, and/or seeking to hospitalize the patient.
  • If we believe that there is imminent risk that a patient will inflict serious physical harm or death on him/herself, we may be required to take protective actions. These actions may include attempting to have the patient hospitalized, calling the police, or contacting the patient's family members or others who can assist in protecting the patient.

There are two additional situations in which we are not legally required to take action, but we reserve the right to do so at our professional discretion to protect others from harm.

  • If we believe that a patient and/or someone else is or may be preparing to engage in or assist in the preparation or execution of violence against identified, unidentified, or as-yet-to-be-identified victims currently or at any time in the future, we reserve the right to notify law enforcement and share relevant information disclosed to us by the patient or anyone else in or out of sessions or services.
  • If we believe that a patient is in possession of one or more firearms or weapons that was/were obtained legally or illegally, and that the patient should not be in possession of such firearms or weapons by virtue of his/her mental state or condition, we reserve the right to notify law enforcement and share relevant information disclosed to us by the patient or anyone else in or out of sessions or services.

If any of these situations arise, we make every effort to fully discuss it with the patient before taking any action and then we limit any disclosures to only what is absolutely necessary. Although this summary of exceptions to confidentiality should prove helpful in informing our patients about potential problems, it is important that any questions or concerns that patients have be discussed at the earliest possible time.

Professional Records

The laws and standards of our profession require that we keep Protected Health Information (PHI) about patients in their Clinical Record. Except in unusual circumstances (e.g., that involve danger to a patient and/or others, where access is likely to cause substantial harm, or where information has been supplied to us confidentially by others) patients may examine and/or receive a copy of their Clinical Record if they request it in writing. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted and/or upsetting to untrained readers. For this reason, we recommend that patients initially review them in the presence of one of our clinicians or have them forwarded to another mental health professional so patients can discuss the contents. If we refuse a request for access to records, patients have a right to have this reviewed. Additional information about rights regarding Clinical Record is contained in the HIPAA Notice that is provided to patients when they begin services from us.

Minors and Parents

Patients who are under the age of 18 and are not legally emancipated should be aware that law generally allows parents to examine their child’s Clinical Record (with some exceptions). However, because privacy in psychotherapy is often crucial to successful progress, particularly with adolescents, we may request that parents’ respect the confidentiality of their child’s treatment by not requesting the child’s treatment records. If parents agree, during treatment we provide them with general information about the progress of the child’s treatment and his/her attendance at scheduled sessions. We also provide parents with a summary of their child’s treatment when it is complete. However, even with parental agreement to the confidentiality of their child’s treatment, if we feel the child is in danger or is a danger to someone else, we will notify the parents of this concern.

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Email: Info4BAHP@Gmail.com

Telephone: (650) 999-0220

Fax: (855) 999-0220

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1690 Woodside Road, Suite 221
Redwood City, CA 94061

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