HIPAA, HITECH and Omnibus Compliancy

Your privacy and confidentiality is very valuable to me. It is important that you have the protection to talk about intimate details of your life without the fear of intrusion. Therefore, I have taken extensive measures to ensure HIPAA compliance using a Compliancy Group. I do not provide my email as a protection to you the client, as email is not always secure. Instead I use a secure messaging system, secure video chat, and a secure EHR for contact with my clients and I have a Business Associate Agreement with these services. I have also completed HIPAA audits, gap analysis, remediation, and risk analysis to ensure that your information is safe and secure.

Notice of Privacy Practices

Protected health information or PHI: Defined as any individually identifiable health information collected or created as a consequence of the provision of health care by a covered entity, in any form (including verbal communications).

Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC values your security, privacy and confidentiality and has taken appropriate measures to ensure that your private information is secure in the office as well as online. No personal information is shared unless prior authorization is given. This notice describes how medical/ mental health and substance abuse information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to it. Please review carefully before agreeing to this policy.

This policy applies to Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC physical location, the website: soulcareharrisburgnc.com and secure patient portal or any of our mobile applications used for services.

By using our website, secure patient portal or mobile applications used for services you are consenting to the terms of this policy. Please do not use the soulcareharrisburgnc.com website, secure patient portal or any of our mobile applications used for services if you do not agree to the terms of this policy.

Uses and Disclosures of PHI

Treatment

1) Treatment and Health Care Operations


As part of your treatment at Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC, you will provide us with demographic information to include name, phone number, address, and other PHI information. As part of the assessment you will provide information on your current symptoms, medical history, psychological history, social development, educational history, legal history and family history. This information is a valuable tool to determine your best course of treatment in mental health counseling. Your record will be the physical property of Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC; however, the information provided in the record belongs to you. During the course of treatment you will have progress notes created in your medical records. Please ensure that when you authorize another agency access to your medical records that you specify exactly what you are releasing as this is highly sensitive information. If you use insurance, your insurance clearinghouse will have access to your files for billing purposes. Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC does not save credit card numbers. In using and disclosing your protected health information (PHI), it is our objective to follow the Privacy Standards of the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and requirements of North Carolina law.

Device ID numbers may be saved when you interact with website and patient portal.

information provided by Google Analytics' Demographics and Interest Reports, including age, gender, affinity categories, in-market segments, and other categories provided by that service may be collected.

PHI may also be collected for appointment reminders or to provide the client with beneficial services that may be of interest to client.

Please note that email is not a secure method of communication and we do not recommend this as a secure method of communication without encryption. Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC utilizes a secure patient portal on our website for secure chat, and secure video conferencing.

The list above may not be an all inclusive list of data collection and it may change as our business practices change. We have to have certain information to run our business as part of your treatment.

Uses of PHI in Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC

  1. Treatment planning
  2. Document that describes services received during treatment
  3. Outcomes to identify progress or if any changes need to be made to current interventions
  4. Aftercare planning


2) Payment

Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC will disclose you mental health records to third-party payers/ insurance carriers as required for insurance payment such as Medicaid, EAP, Blue Cross Blue Shield and etcetera. Insurance companies may require PHI such are your diagnosis, progress notes, assessments or treatment plans.

3) Health Care Operations

Business Associate Agreements- In order to run a business, there may be a need for third party businesses that may have access to your PHI. In those situations Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC has a business associate agreement in place to ensure that your PHI is protected through the third parties. Some examples of these third parties are: Counsole,com (an EHR system for running a mental health clinic, Bluepay Merchant Account for taking payments, G suites for business programs, IT departments for computer security, Compliancy group to ensure HIPAA compliance. These third parties are obligated to protect and safeguard your PHI through the business associate agreement.

Other Provisions

Notification We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or another person responsible for your care, of your location, and general condition. If we are unable to reach your family member or personal representative, then we may leave a message for them at the phone number that they have provided us, e.g., on an answering machine.

Release of PHI Without Consent

There are times that we can release PHI without your consent or authority to do so, the following are some of those circumstances: Your PHI could be disclosed to Social Services if child abuse is suspected, for public safety issues in the event of a duty to warn situation, if we suspect that an elderly or disabled person is being abuse, or neglected, if we suspect that you are a harm to yourself or others, informing that parent or guardian of a minor of any concerns, and if we have a bench warrant for a legal proceeding or lawsuit.

Other uses and Disclosures

All other disclosures will only be made with the individual's written authorization using a Release of Information. We ask that you specify what you would like to be release specifically, for example: mental health progress notes, treatment plans, attendance, comprehensive clinical assessment. You may revoke or change this authorization of release as any time in writing.

Individual Rights- You have the following rights to your PHI

  • You have the right to inspect and copy your PHI
  • You have the right to make changes/ amend your PHI
  • You have the right to receive an accounting or disclosure of PHI
  • You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of information; however, Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC, is not required to agree with the requested restriction.
  • You have the right to receive confidential communication of PHI
  • You have the right to a paper copy of the notice upon request


Provider Duties

Under state and federal law, Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC, must:

  • Maintain the privacy of PHI and provide individuals with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices;
  • Abide by the terms of the Notice currently in effect
  • Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC reserves the right to change the terms of its Notice and to make the new Notice provisions effective for all PHI it maintains.
  • Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC will provide you with a paper copy of the revised notice in person or send it to your address on file.

Complaints
You may file a complaint with Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC and/or the Secretary of HHS if they believe their privacy rights have been violated. To file a complaint with Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC, please present your concerns in writing to the attention of Stephanie R. Soulies, MS, LPCS, NCC at (704) 890-8333, and a meeting will be arranged to solve the matter. If you have continued concerns, please contact HHS Secretary using the following web address which will walk you through the steps to make a complaint; https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/filing-a-complaint/complaint-process/index.html. Soul Care Counseling and Consulting, PLLC, highly values you privacy and confidentiality, and will not retaliate or penalize you for making a complaint.