Client Bill of Rights
You have the right to:
- Ask for and get information about the therapist’s qualifications, including his or her license, education, training, experience, membership in professional groups, special areas of practice, and limits on practice.
- Have written information, before entering therapy, about fees, method of payment, insurance coverage, number of sessions the therapist thinks will be needed, substitute therapists (in cases of vacation and emergencies), and cancellation policies.
- Know if your therapist will discuss your case with others (for instance, supervisors, consultants, or students).
- Have all clinical and personal information treated in accord with state and federal confidentiality regulations.
- Get respectful treatment that will be helpful to you.
- Have a safe treatment setting, free from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.
- Be free of exploitation, including physical and financial exploitation
- Report immoral and illegal behavior by a therapist.
- Refuse audio or video recording of sessions (but you may ask for it if you wish).
- Refuse to answer any question or give any information you choose not to answer or give.
- Ask that the therapist informs you of your progress.
- Request and receive in a timely fashion access to session records, billing and insurance submittals.
- Request that only the minimum legal records of your sessions be kept.
We will treat with great care all the information you share with the practice and your counselor. It is your legal right that your sessions and all records about you be kept confidential. That is why I ask you to sign a “release-of-records” form before I can talk about you or send my records about you to anyone else. In general, we will tell no one what you tell us. We will make every effort to not reveal that you are receiving treatment from a counselor. In all but a few rare situations, your confidentiality (that is, our privacy) is protected by federal and state laws and by the rules of my profession.
All of our policies, procedures and the applications Indigo Mental Health use for billing, case notation and record storage are HIPAA/HITECH compliant, in addition our credit card billing system is PCI-DSS 2.0 Compliant and provides additional layers of protection for your billing information. The service providers associated with my practice have Business Associate agreements in compliance with HIPAA.
As a consumer of Medical and Mental Health services, you have the right to request in writing that your care provider not maintain detailed records of your sessions and to request that no diagnosis be issued in addition to the privacy guaranteed by HIPAA.
On the subject of electronic communication, there are a few specific privacy concerns I would like to cover as well.
It may become useful during the course of treatment to communicate by email, text message (e.g. “SMS”) or other electronic methods of communication. Be informed that these methods, in their typical form, are not confidential means of communication. If you use these methods to communicate with your therapist, there is a chance that a third party may be able to intercept and eavesdrop on those messages.
The kinds of parties that may intercept these messages include, but are not limited to:
- People in your home or other environments who can access your phone, computer, or other devices that you use to read and write messages
- Your employer, if you use your work email or Company phone to communicate with your counselor
- Third parties on the Internet such as server administrators and others who monitor Internet traffic
We provide the option of on-line scheduling including appointment reminders, automatically sent via email and/or text message 48 hours prior to your scheduled appointments, these messages contain your name, appointment time and where your appointmen is, however you may opt out of them at your initial consultation or by notifying your clinician.
We may also offer encrypted email services that will prevent email attachments from being opened by anyone but the intended recipient. As any observation of media can affirm, secure is a relative term, dependent on the degree of effort that is put forth to breach the barriers of privacy. However, email encryption and on-line scheduling solution all adhere to HIPAA/HITECH regulations.
About recommendations and social networking sites.
Mentioning your therapist or this office on a social networking medium such as Facebook or Twitter is your right, however it is ethically inappropriate for your therapist to accept friend or connect requests from a client or former client on these mediums. Posting a review of our services on a site like Yelp is also your right and it is entirely up to you to decide whether you wish to write a review. But we gently discourage people we work with from posting reviews of their therapists for the reasons below. If you would like to see professional referrals from our colleagues, please see our business facebook, Google+ and psychology today profiles.
- It is unethical for a therapist to solicit testimonials from clients. Since you may decide to return to therapy with us at a later date, We will not request testimonials from people who have ended therapy with us, though we will request feedback that is kept confidential. We may request comments from workshop, training or mediation clients but these will not be made public without the clients consent and privacy being protected.
- Unlike other business owners who may respond to their Yelp reviews, as a counselor, I must provide confidentiality to my clients. This means I am restricted from responding in any way that acknowledges whether someone has been in my care. Thus, I do not intend to respond to any reviews.
- It is our belief that working together in a therapeutic setting, we should discuss your feelings about our work directly and in person. This may not always feel comfortable, but the discussion of positive and negative reactions to our process can be an important part of your therapy. If we are a poor fit, we are always happy to help you find a therapist who is a better match.
- If you still choose to write something about my practice on Yelp or other review sites, remember that this is a public forum and you may be sharing personally revealing information with a wide range of readers. To preserve your privacy, consider using a pseudonym that is not linked to your regular email address or friend networks.
- If you believe that I (or any licensed mental health professional) has done something harmful, you can contact your state licensing board and make a formal complaint. This can help protect other consumers of therapy services. Be aware that details of your therapy may come up if there is a formal investigation.
Problems can arise in our relationship, just as in any other relationship. If you are not satisfied with any area of our work, please raise your concerns with your therapist at once. Our work together will be slower and harder if your concerns with me are not worked out. We will make every effort to hear any complaints you have and to seek solutions to them. If you feel that We (or any other therapist) have treated you unfairly or have even broken a professional rule, please tell us.
Should your concerns not be addressed in conversation with me…
You may also contact the Washington State Department of Health, the organization that licenses Psychologists, Mental Health Counselors, Certified Hypnotherapists, and Marriage and Family Therapists.