Respecting and protecting your privacy is important. This statement outlines the policy and procedures with respect to collecting, using and disclosing your personal health information.
Collection of Your Personal Health Information
Your personal health information is collected only directly from you, except when you have provided consent to obtain such information from others (e.g., reports of previous assessments or other services and where the laws requires or allows us to collect or share information without your consent as outlined in the Limits of Confidentiality statement where there is a risk of harm to yourself, someone else, as it relates the Child and Family Services Act or other relevant legislation; where someone is in a safety sensitive positive or in cases where there is an emergency situation. Only that information from you that is believed to be reasonably necessary to provide you with services is collected.
Use of Your Personal Health Information
Your personal health information is used to provide you with service, which includes information for assessment, case formulation, and what may deemed as treatment and prevention. This also includes using the information for service planning, service monitoring and billing purposes.
No unauthorized access to your information is permitted without your written consent However, a staff or contract worker or other member in the process of conducting business on behalf of New Beginning Counselling Services is permitted to access only information that is necessary to carry on business with New Beginning Counselling Services. Your record may be accessed for quality assurance purposes. All persons involved in such activities are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of the accessed information.
Disclosure of Your Personal Health Information
With only a few exceptions, the Limits of Confidentiality statement, regarding your personal health information will not be disclosed to persons outside this office without your express consent. If there are other limits of confidentiality in your situation, New Beginning Counselling Services will identify and discuss them with you before proceeding with service.
When consenting to the disclosure of your personal health information, you may restrict us from sharing all or any part of your personal information. However, if, in our opinion, the information is reasonably necessary for another health service provider or agency to provide appropriate service, we are required by law to inform the other provider/agency that you have refused consent to provide some needed information. Although the law allows, under strict conditions, access to personally identifiable health information for research purposes, it is our policy not to allow external researchers access to any personal health information.
Your Right of Access to your Personal Health Information Record
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to access your personal health information, and to request copies of the information. However, where services are rendered through third party billing such as an Employee and Family Service Provider agencies, clients are required to contact the third party payer to request copies of such records. Your personal health record will be maintained for a minimum of 7 years after your last contact, and in the case of children/adolescents, from when the child/adolescent turned 18 years of age or from the year of last contact. In the event we are no longer able to provide services, e.g., death, disability or retirement your personal health record will be placed under the supervision of an authorized person and will remain securely stored until the appropriate time lapse has occurred at which time existing files will be permanently destroyed or otherwise destroyed. If you believe the information in your record is not accurate, you may make a written request to correct your record directly to the third party when applicable or to New Beginning Counselling Services where third party billing is not applicable. If we do not agree with the correction of your request, you may file a notice of disagreement into your record. In some cases, where the service provider/ counsellor or authorized individual believes that reviewing or accessing your record may cause undue duress, access may be denied or restricted.
Limits of Confidentiality
When obtaining services from a counsellor, it is important that you understand the issue of confidentiality and the limits of confidentiality. Everything that you tell a counsellor is confidential and will be kept in the strictest confidence; the fact that you are even attending appointments is confidential. There are, however, some exceptions to this:
By law, a counsellor has a duty to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect or miss treatment according to the Child and Family Services Act.In such direct cases, the Children and Family Services will be contacted. Services may be suspended.
By law, if you inform a counsellor that you have been sexually abused by a regulated health care professional, the counsellor is required to report the name of the professional to their regulatory body. The counsellor is not permitted to report your name without your consent.
A court of law has the power to subpoena a counsellor, along with your record, and require the counsellor to testify. In addition, the court can issue a court order allowing for the search and seizure of your record. A counsellor is not considered an expert witness.
Although not required by law, it is our personal practice to break confidentiality and take the appropriate action if there is a, in our opinion, a significant risk that you may harm yourself or someone else. This may include, but is not limited to, informing significant others, potential victims and/or the appropriate legal authorities.
Although not required by law, it is our personal practice to inform your family physician and the Ministry of Transportation of a concern over your capacity to drive.
Information will be shared with your consent or with the consent of your duly appointed and authorized legal representative. That is to say, a counsellor will release with either verbal or written (preferable) consent from you or your representative, any authorized information to specific named parties. Such releases of information usually specify exactly what is to be released, the purpose of the release and the period of time for which the release is valid. Such a release does not imply any ongoing right to release information and may be revoked at any time by you or your appointed representative.
It is also our personal practice, when we see children or adolescents, to attempt to keep the parent(s) informed of the child’s progress and specific information, which in our judgement, is appropriate or necessary to be shared with the parent(s). Generally speaking, however, children are provided with the same or similar rights to confidentiality, as adults, and in the case of older adolescents with exactly the same rights as adults, except when a mature minor assessment results deems that the child is capable and competent in understanding the nature of the counselling process. In such latter cases parents or guardians are not informed of the presence or absence of mature minors who self-consent to counselling.
Depending on your specific situation there may be other limits of confidentiality that will be discussed with you if necessary.
When you conduct a transaction on our website, as part of the process, we collect personal information as identified and as such you give us your name, address and email address. Your personal information will be used for the specific reasons stated. Third party Internet providers collect such Non-personal and Personal Information for the following purposes: To provide and operate the services; To provide our Users with ongoing customer assistance and technical support; To be able to contact our Visitors and Users with general or personalized service-related notices and promotional messages; To create aggregated statistical data and other aggregated and/or inferred Non-personal Information, which we or our business partners may use to provide and improve our respective services; To comply with any applicable laws and regulations.