Confidentiality & HIPAA
Therapy is confidential. All information you share with us, whether it is information in our records about you or even the fact that you have come to see us, cannot be shared with others outside the Counseling Center. No one outside the Center may have access to your Counseling Center records without your prior written permission or as required by law. The law in the State of California mandates that information may be appropriately shared when the following conditions exist:
- if you present an imminent threat of harm to yourself or others, or
- when there is an indication of abuse of a child, dependent adult, or elderly adult, or
- if you become gravely disabled, or
- if information is required by a court subpoena or court order
Information about confidentiality and these legal exceptions is also presented in the “Counseling Center Information and Treatment Policies” form.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of patient information, provide for the electronic and physical security of health and patient medical information, and simplify billing and other electronic transactions by standardizing codes and procedures. One part of this law is known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The HIPAA Privacy Rule created a minimum federal standard for the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) by health care organizations. One of the requirements of the Privacy Rule is that we give to you a Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) which describes your rights and protections regarding your health care records (PHI).
For more information about HIPAA and the notice of Privacy Practices, go to Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) to see the forms and to review frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, you can call the Counseling Center, or contact:
Marion Mallory RHIA, CHC, Associate Corporate Compliance & Privacy Officer University of California, Irvine 333 City Blvd West, Suite 110 Orange, CA 92868 Phone: 714-456-3674 Fax: 714-456-3679
- What is HIPAA?
- HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, designed to protect the privacy of patient information.
- What is the Notice of Privacy Practices?
Starting April 14, 2003, HIPAA requires all health care organizations to provide patients with a Notice (Notice of Privacy Practices) that explains your rights regarding your private healthcare information. You have the right to:
- Inspect and copy your medical records
- Request an amendment or addendum to your medical records
- An accounting of disclosures of your private health information
- Request restrictions to release of your medical information and
- Request confidential communications with you
- Is the Counseling Center treating my counseling record differently under HIPAA?
- No, we have always protected your private counseling information in accordance with state and federal law and professional ethics. We remain committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your records and private health information.
- Will the Counseling Center disclose my private counseling record for all of the reasons cited in the Notice of Privacy Practices?
- The Notice says we "may use and disclose" your health information for various purposes, but that does not mean that we will use and disclose your information for all reasons cited. Even though the Notice says "we may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care" that does not mean that we will break your confidence and contact a friend or family member. We will only contact family members regarding your medical information if you give us express authorization to do so, except for life threatening emergencies.
- If my parent calls the Counseling Center and asks about my counseling record, what will happen?
- We will only discuss your counseling record with your parent if you have given us express authorization to do so by completing a Release of Confidential Information from the UC Irvine Counseling Center Form or if we have determined that there is a life threatening emergency.