LAWS PROTECT YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY
Helf Counseling Services, LLC follows all regulations covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) originally established in 1996. These laws protect the security and privacy of health data. When you become a client at the clinic, you are assured of privacy and confidentiality within the scope of these statutes and are provided with information describing your rights as a patient.
LIMITS OF CONFIDENTIALITY
Under a few special circumstances, your right to confidential privilege has limitations. If it is determined through discussions with you that you plan to seriously harm another person or yourself (e.g. planning homicide or suicide) the therapist is required to break confidentiality in order to warn the potential victim and to secure the assistance of others (police, etc) to prevent serious harm to yourself or to others. Similarly, reports of significant physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to minors must be reported to authorities by the therapist (Mandatory Reporting laws, governed by Wisconsin statutes, must be followed).
CAUTION REGARDING E-MAIL
Some clients make initial inquiries to the therapist by email, and some clients email their therapists. This is a convenience in our electronic age, but there are decided risks in the use of email. We remind all clients and all guests to the website that an email is the electronic equivalent of a postcard — it is possible that others can read or intercept this type of unencrypted material. Therefore, please follow these rules and understand that therapists are required to follow them as well.
For standard email, do not reveal information that you consider to be confidential or embarrassing if seen by others. The therapist will take all precautions to have “confidential” email protected, but it is impossible to assure confidentiality in the sense that unencrypted electronic communications can be phished, intercepted, or in other ways broached.
By law, we are required to keep notes on your treatment, billing information, and your clinical issues. This information is never shared without your express, written permission, except in the case of Mandatory Reporting (described above). You may be asked to give written authorization for communication of your records to other professionals such as your primary care provider or a former therapist. You have the right to refuse and/or to limit the type of information released regarding your care.