Privacy Practices

Professional Records

The laws and standards of the mental health profession require therapists to keep Protected Health Information (PHI) about you in your clinical record. It is important to understand that pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, your therapist may keep PHI about you in two sets of professional records. One set is your clinical chart, which may be accessed by third parties (such as insurance companies) with your written authorization.

 

Some therapists keep a second record, referred to as Psychotherapy Notes. These notes are only for use by your therapist and may include contents of therapeutic conversations, analysis of those conversations and how they impact treatment. These notes are kept separate from your clinical record and cannot be released to insurance companies without your authorization. Insurance companies cannot penalize you if you refuse to authorize disclosure of psychotherapy notes. You may examine and/or receive a copy of your clinical and psychotherapy notes if you request this in writing. Because these records can be misinterpreted it is recommended that you review them in the presence of your therapist or have them forwarded and reviewed with another mental health provider. Your therapist may charge a copying fee if you request of copy of these records.

Records of Minors

Clients under 18 years of age and their parents should be aware that the law allows parents to examine their child’s treatment records. Parents can request information concerning their child’s current physical and mental condition, diagnosis, treatment needs, services provided, and services needed. Since parental involvement, if usually crucial to successful treatment, it is recommended that Clients under 18 years of age and their parents enter into an agreement that allows parents access to treatment information. For children under the age of 18, all paperwork should be co-signed by a parent or guardian.

Cost

For individuals struggling to afford co-payments or cost of sessions please speak with your therapist about your situation since it is likely that we could work out an alternative financial arrangement. It is also important to know that fees may be charged for lengthy telephone conversations and time spent providing other services on your behalf. This may include extensive report writing, preparation and photocopying records or treatment summaries, consulting with other professionals with your consent, and attendance at staffing.

 

If you become involved in legal proceedings that require your therapist’s participation you will be expected to pay for all of their professional time including preparation and transportation costs, even if they are called to testify by another party. Please discuss this with your therapist so that you clearly understand what services you will be charged for. In addition, therapists reserve the right to limit phone calls or other uses of their time to what they consider clinically appropriate. They will discuss these limits with you should they become an issue.

Use of Insurance

We ask our clients to call their insurance company to discover what mental health/chemical dependency coverage is available. Mental health coverage is usually different than physical health coverage. Please ask your insurance company if you need pre-certification, what your copay is given our hourly rate, and how many sessions you are allowed in what period of time. We reserve the right to call your insurance company and verify coverage and benefits. We provide the courtesy of billing your primary insurance company and ask for you to make your copayment at the time of service.

 

We also ask that you assume the responsibility of tracking the usage of allotted sessions. In this regard you should take the initiative to discuss with your therapist (1) the number of sessions remaining before further approval is needed, and (2) when no further sessions are available under your policy. Ultimately you are responsible for full payment of fees that your insurance company does not agree to cover. Therefore, it is important to you to fully understand your coverage benefits regarding mental health and/or chemical dependency. You will be responsible for discussing with your health insurance company any disputes regarding coverage. If you are disputing a claim for lack of payment with your insurance company Golden Wellness Counseling, LLC, may request that you pay your balance with us and agree to be reimbursed by the insurance company at a later date if the matter is eventually resolved.

 

Other Billing Issues

Golden Wellness Counseling, LLC, has a 24-hour cancellation policy for all sessions including group therapy. Insurance companies do not cover missed appointments. You will be billed $50.00 if you fail to cancel with at least 24-hour notice.

Confidentiality

Rhode Island law protects the privacy of all communications between a Client and a mental health provider. In most situations, if you are 18 years of age or older, your therapist can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written authorization form and meet certain legal requirements imposed by HIPAA and/or Rhode Island law.

 

Therapists are mandated reporters and as such we have the legal obligation of notifying appropriate authorities in the following situations. Please note that these situations are handled with the utmost care to protect those at risk for harm and with respect to the Client’s confidentiality.

* If your therapist believes that you present a clear, imminent risk of serious physical or mental injury or death to yourself.

* If you have made a specific threat of violence against another or if your therapist believes you are a present a clear, imminent risk of serious physical harm to another.

* If your therapist has reasonable cause to believe that a child under 18 known to your therapist in their professional capacity may be abused or neglected by a parent, caretaker, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare.

* If your therapist has reason to believe that an adult over 59 years old and who is disabled, has been abused, neglected, or financially exploited in the preceding 12 months.

* In accordance with Rhode Island Law if you are determined to be a clear and present danger to yourself or others, developmentally disabled or intellectually disabled your therapist may be responsible for reporting your mental health information to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services.