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Confidentiality

Overview

Confidentiality is a fundamental aspect of mental health treatment, and we prioritize the protection of your personal information and privacy. As healthcare providers, we are legally bound by professional regulations and ethics to maintain confidentiality. This means that under normal circumstances no one outside of River Oaks Psychology is given any information — even the fact that you have ever been a patient here — without your expressed written consent. Our primary goal is to provide you with a safe, trusted environment in which you feel comfortable to discuss your intimate experiences without judgment.

However, there are legal limits to confidentiality, which are listed below.

We will make every effort to discuss any necessary disclosures with you before taking action, whenever feasible. We are committed to your well-being and aim to involve you in the decision-making process whenever possible. Open and honest communication with your provider about any concerns or questions regarding the legal limits to confidentiality can help ensure a clear understanding of confidentiality in therapy. We encourage you to discuss confidentiality with your provider in the first appointment.  

Legal Limits to Confidentially

We are required by law to divulge information in the following circumstances:

Imminent Danger to Self or Others

This includes when a patient actively plans or attempts to commit serious self-harm or suicide, presents in a manner creating a substantial risk of incurring serious danger, or threatens serious harm or death to another person.  If a patient discloses serious thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or harm to another person during the middle of a telehealth appointment, confidentiality may be broken to ensure the patient or person in danger receives proper help.

Note:  River Oaks Psychology is NOT an emergency responder and should never be contacted in the event of an emergency as there is no guarantee that we could respond in a timely manner. In the case of any emergency, please immediately call 911, 988, or urgently go to the nearest hospital / Emergency Department. Learn more about Emergencies

Current Abuse or Neglect of a Minor or Elder

This includes when a provider reasonably suspects abuse or neglect of any children under the age of 18 years (minors) or abuse or neglect of any elderly individuals. By law, we are mandated reporters for these populations due to the vulnerable nature of them. In other words, children under 18 and elderly persons who are unable to protect themselves due to age or cognitive decline are legally viewed as populations that we are legally required to protect in the event of abuse or neglect occurring (whether the abuse or neglect is physical, emotional, sexual, financial, etc.). We are responsible for helping to keep these populations safe. 

Court of Law Issues a Subpoena

When a court of law issues a subpoena for information, we are required by law to provide the information the court is requesting. In most cases, we will advocate on behalf of our patients for a limited release of information (we will try to release the least amount of information possible), but negotiations for limited releases cannot be guaranteed. We are required to release what the court is mandating. In addition, if a patient is engaging in services due to an order of a court of law (court-mandated therapy), or if therapeutic information is obtained for the purpose of rendering an expert’s report to an attorney, information may be provided to the courts/attorney as needed. If this occurs, we will notify you.

Healthcare Operations

We may use or disclose your Protected Health Information (PHI) for treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes. For example, this may include providing a diagnosis, treatment plan, or progress updates to your insurance company in order for your insurance to issue payment for services. Please see our HIPPA Notice of Privacy Practices.

Other Considerations

All staff within River Oaks Psychology will have access to general patient information when case consultations are held between staff members. Occasionally, we may need to consult with other professionals outside of River Oaks Psychology in order to provide the best treatment for you. In these instances, your name and identifiable information will not be disclosed. Case consultations outside of River Oaks Psychology will only include general descriptions of your concerns to obtain resources or knowledge to provide the best treatment possible.

What if I want information shared with someone?

Sometimes, you may find it beneficial or necessary to have your information shared with certain individuals or organizations. For example, you may want your information shared with your psychiatrist, primary care doctor, a hospital, family member, or another person. This can help facilitate better coordination of care, provide additional support, or ensure that important information is communicated effectively. In such cases, we will require a signed Release of Information document from you, specifying the information to be shared and the purpose of the disclosure.

Please note that the Release of Information is always based on your explicit consent and is entirely voluntary. We prioritize your privacy and will never share any of your information without your written consent, except in the aforementioned circumstances where confidentiality must be broken by law. Our commitment to confidentiality is rooted in our ethical responsibilities as healthcare providers and our dedication to providing a safe and trusted therapeutic environment.

We understand that each individual’s circumstances are unique, and we are committed to working with you to address your specific needs regarding the sharing of information. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the best possible care and support, and we value open communication and collaboration in achieving that goal.

We want you to feel completely comfortable.