Isheaga Counseling Services respects the privacy of our clients. We both recognize the need for appropriate protection and management of your personal information and are bound by law to ensure that you are aware and understand your privacy rights. Isheaga Counseling Services provides therapy, supervision and coaching services. This notice will outline your privacy rights, and describes the information that is collected about you, how such information is used and disclosed. Upon review of this policy, you will be asked to sign your acknowledgement of this policy and share any questions you may have.
What is personal health information?
The practice of psychotherapy in Ontario is regulated under the provincial Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA). All information collected by a psychotherapist about an individual while engaging in Psychotherapy services, Clinical Supervision or Coaching Services is considered “personal health information” under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA, 2004). This information includes and not limited to your name, address, telephone number, email address, identifying information (age, gender, cultural/ethnic background) and health details (presenting issues, health history, medical/mental health conditions, therapy being received) and any other data that you share with Isheaga Counselling Services. your name and contact information, and other individuals who participate in therapy with you. Additionally, if you provide consent to have information shared with me by other service providers (i.e. reports, assessments or other relevant services)..
Use of your personal health information
Isheaga Counseling Services collects, uses, and discloses personal information only to provide psychotherapy, or Clinical Supervision or Coaching services to our clients. We may ask you to complete questionnaires or other self-report questionnaires/assessments to enable a better understanding of your mental health or supervision and/or personal/professional development needs (as it pertains to the service you are receiving).
Our primary purpose of collecting this information is so we may:
· Assess your health-related, or Supervision or Personal and professional developmental needs.
· Recommend appropriate treatment options, feedback, recommendations and personal/professional development plan options.
· Provide therapy and related mental healthcare services.
· Provide Clinical Supervision
· Provide Coaching and Mentoring services.
· Long-Term Disability insurers and legal representatives may request information related to your health conditions, treatment needs, treatment progress and disability to make determinations of your eligibility to funding.
We also collect, use, and disclose information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes that may include:
· Invoicing clients for services that were not paid for at the time, process credit card payments or collect unpaid accounts.
· The cost of some services provided by the organization to clients is paid for by third parties (e.g., insurance companies) that often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to determine client’s eligibility for funding (i.e. dates, type of therapy provided).
By law and in accordance with professional standards, we are required to keep a record of services and contacts with you and/or joint sessions with others. Your record includes information you provided to us or consented us to receive (i.e. reports from other professionals). This may include results of assessments, consent forms, session notes, billing information, contact logs, and correspondence that we have sent or received related to your sessions. Physical records are the property of the practice; however, you have rights regarding access to your record and disclosure of information from your record (see below). All information collected about you in recorded in electronic form, PracticeQ (formerly IntakeQ) that is a PHIPA compliant Canadian fully encrypted service and meets all of Canada’s privacy laws (PHIPA).
We offer e-mail communication as a method of contact between yourself and our clinic, although recommend using our messaging through PracticeQ (formerly IntakeQ) online platform to ensure privacy and security. E-mail is convenient and efficient; however, communicating by e-mail also encompasses security risks as e-mail is not recognized as a secure form of communication.
Disclosure of Your Personal Health Information:
With only a few exceptions, your personal health information will not be disclosed to persons outside this practice without your knowledge and expressed, written consent. The exceptions known as limits of confidentiality are: (a) when allowed by law (i.e. clear and imminent risk of serious bodily harm to someone; professional or legal consultation); and (b) when required by law (i.e. mandatory reporting of a child or elderly person who might be in need of protection; mandatory reporting of a regulated health professional who has sexually abused a client; a court order to release information from a record).
Please note that the law requires any disclosure of your personal health information to be limited to information that is reasonably necessary for the purpose of the disclosure and not to include private information provided by a third party. Professional ethical standards require that any information that might cause serious harm to someone not be disclosed, unless required by law. When consenting to the disclosure of your personal health information, you may restrict us from sharing all or any part of your information or that of your minor child (wherein services are provided). However, if in your therapist’s opinion the information is reasonably necessary for another health service provider to provide appropriate services, we are required by law to inform the other provider that you have refused consent.
In accordance with the laws, professional standards, and ethical codes we follow, the information you share with Isheaga Counselling Services remains confidential. This means your information will not be disclosed to anyone without your consent, with the exception of the specific situations outlined below where your information may be released without your consent:
Serious threat to Health or Safety:
Under Ontario law, if you communicate to me a specific and immediate threat to cause serious bodily injury or death, to an identified or to an identifiable person, or yourself and I believe you have the intent and ability to carry out that threat immediately or imminently, I am legally required to take steps to protect third parties. These precautions may include 1) warning the potential victim(s), or the parent or guardian of the potential victim(s), if under 18, 2) notifying a law enforcement officer, or 3) calling 911. I may also use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent an immediate, serious threat to your own health and safety.
Abuse / Neglect of a minor or Elderly person:
If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child under 16 years of age is, or maybe, in need of protection, Isheaga Counselling Services must, by law, report this information to a Children’s aid society. Examples of reportable situations include physical harm/abuse, sexual abuse, emotional harm (e.g., verbal abuse, humiliation, witnessing violence), or a pattern of neglect or failure to protect a child from harm.
If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that an elderly person and/or resident of a nursing, retirement or other long-term care home has suffered harm, or is at risk of harm due to improper or incompetent treatment or care, unlawful conduct, abuse or neglect, or possible misuse or misappropriation of the resident’s money or funding, Isheaga Counseling Services is required to report this information to the Registrar of the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, the Police and/or the long-term care home director.
Regulated Health Profession Reporting:
The College of Psychotherapists requires that a regulated health professional report on another Psychotherapist if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a Registered Psychotherapist has sexually abused a client and/or demonstrated professional misconduct.
I also reserve the right to report misconduct by health care providers of other professions. By law, if you describe unprofessional conduct by another mental health provider of any profession, I am required to explain to you how to make such a report. If you are yourself a health care provider, I am required by law to report to your licensing board that you are in treatment with me if I believe your condition places the public at risk.
Sexual Abuse by a Regulated Health Professional
If there are reasonable grounds to believe that another regulated health professional has sexually harassed or abused a client, Isheaga Counselling Services must, by law, report this health professional’s name and information related to the sexual abuse to the appropriate regulatory body.
Our records can be subpoenaed by court order and Isheaga Counselling Services may be required to testify and give information obtained during the course of any assessment and treatment sessions. This information would never be provided voluntarily without your direct request or permission without the court order.
As registered healthcare professionals, we may also be required to make our files available for audit by our regulatory body (e.g., College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario), third-party payer agencies (if applicable, e.g., Financial Services Commission of Ontario, National Indigenous Health Benefits). These audits are confidential, and a record of the audit will be inserted into your client file. All professional persons involved in these activities are required by law to maintain confidentiality of any accessed information.
Third-party payers, when applicable, may request specific information about your healthcare:
Extended-health benefits insurers, for example, often have your consent for us to release information about session dates, duration, and the clinical provider’s information (name, title, registration number); and
If the police present a Court Order, Search Warrant or Urgent Demand for records related to a missing person, Isheaga Counseling Services is required to provide the information and/or records sought by police in order to assist with locating that missing person.
Access to your personal records:
You have the right to access any record of your personal health information and to request copies of the information (we reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for record copying). If the physical record contains personal health information about another individual, that individual’s information must be redacted (removed) from the record before you may access the record. Other exceptions include information provided in confidence by a third party, and information that could result in serious harm to someone’s treatment or recovery, or in serious bodily harm to someone.
Right to Amend:
If you feel that the protected health information, I have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask me to amend the information. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing, and submitted dot me. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. I may deny your request if you ask me to amend information that: 1) was not created by me, though will add your request to the information record; 2) is not part of the medical information kept by me; 3) is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; 4) is accurate and complete.
Right to Request Restrictions-
You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information about you. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical/health information I disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care. If you ask me to disclose information to another party, you may request that I limit the information I disclose. However, I am not required to agree to a restriction you request, if I believe your health and welfare may be comprised. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing, and tell me: 1) what information you want to limit; 2) whether you want to limit my use, disclosure or both; and 3) to whom you want the limits to apply.
Right to Receive Confidential Communications by Alternative Means and at Alternative Locations — You have the right to request and receive confidential communications of PHI by alternative means and at alternative locations. (For example, you may not want a family member to know that you are seeing me. Upon your request, I will send your bills to another address. You may also request that I contact you only at work, or that I do not leave voice mail messages.) To request alternative communication, you must make your request in writing, specifying how or where you wish to be contacted.
Right to a copy of this notice:
You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. Please note that I reserve the right to change my policies and/or to change this notice which will include the effective date. A new copy will be provided to you at your request and will be reposted on my website. given to you or posted in the waiting room.
Retention and Destruction of Personal Health Information:
The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario requires that client records be kept for at least 10 years past the date of last contact for adults, and 10 years past the date at which the client would turn 18 years of age. We destroy paper records containing personal information through shredding, we remove electronic information through deletion, and we physically destroy the hard drive of discarded hardware.
Questions or Concerns:
If you have any questions about our privacy practices and procedures, we encourage you to contact us:
Donicka Budd Owner
Isheaga counseling services
For more information on your privacy rights, you may contact:
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3
Tel: 1-800-282-1376 www.priv.gc.ca/en/about-the-opc
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8