wpe1.jpg (12422 bytes)                                         www.transitions-counseling.com : Where Your Help Begins OnlineSM               Privacy and Confidentiality:                                  The cornerstone of the counseling relationship

Maintaining privacy and confidentiality requires additional effort in the small town, rural atmosphere of TRANSITIONS Personal and Family Counseling Services.  Below, you will find information on facility design measures that have been taken to ensure environmental privacy. 

Beyond environmental privacy (a safe, private place to meet), the emergence of managed care, insurance and the corporate world into healthcare have forced many challenges onto therapists and clients with regard to maintaining both client privacy and avoiding unethical manipulation of the client by those who put profit over patient/client welfare.

Below, you will find links to articles on this site that will allow you to make an informed choice regarding the level of privacy and confidentiality you and your family require in order to receive services here - or at any other healthcare facility.  I wrote some of them years ago, when I first "saw the writing on the wall" with regard to the impact managed care and corporate morality would have on folks just trying to get well.

HIPAA - A Quick Overview

At significant professional cost, I continue to believe what the world is coming to recognize: a terrible thing happens when corporate-driven profit motive remains the priority over healing people - privacy, confidentiality, and the healing process are compromised in the name of the bottom line.  Rather than completely overhauling the dysfunctional healthcare system in our society, with it's powerful corporate healthcare lobbies, our government has come up with the HIPAA law.  Though the public is informed that the law exists to protect them, the law actually dictates a bureaucratic process whereby the public is informed how its previously confidential healthcare information will be used and disclosed - whether the public likes it or not!  The upside of this, in our new digital society, is that essential information can be streamlined to the best resources to promote the healing process.  The downside is how the information is used and disclosed to limit and manipulate treatment in the name of maximizing profits. Patient/client diagnoses communicated between healthcare professionals as a foundation for determining treatment strategy became strategic labels to maximize profits for "consumers' covered lives."  In some healthcare settings, there is a less-complicated way to receive services without the privacy-invading bureaucracy and compromised services. And that is to keep everything in-house, where information does not leave the treatment setting,  except with the expressed knowledge and consent of the client. 

Traditional Fee-For-Service Counseling:                                           Assured Privacy and Confidentiality

The small, private counseling practice lends ideally to this option.  By policy, at TRANSITIONS, client health information is kept in-house when clients use the private, sliding scale fee-for-services approach to receiving counseling.  Client information is not routinely subject to digital transfer for off-site billing, management and records collection purposes.  There are some exceptions to this traditional "nobody-knows-but-us" policy - and you will know about it if you are an exception.

Exceptions:  Deciding Who Else Should Know - and How Much

While I continue to avoid managed care involvement for ethical reasons, I do take insurance by client request (when I am confident the client is making an informed choice). Also, I have seen some managed care clients off-panel, when circumstances indicate that such is in the best interests of the client. As some managed care organizations show some signs of putting client needs first, I may decide to become involved with those companies that I perceive as having developed ethically sound policies. Further, I have participated by contract in some good employee assistance programs, and some clients come to me by way of referral from those programs.  Since all of these involve some sharing of data, or protected health information, these types of circumstances come under HIPAA law, under which I am bound to provide my polices in conformance with HIPAA law.   Especially if your counseling arrangements fall into one of the categories defined in this paragraph, I recommend that you review my Federally-dictated HIPAA policy, by clicking on the link below.

Virtual Office Services

Finally, if you receive e-counseling, e-mail consultation or participate in any of my web-based services/scheduling/payment options, it is important that you know that all transactions are based on secure servers using encryption technology to insure your privacy and confidentiality.

Remember, I do not charge you for calling to make inquiries about counseling.  It is important that you feel comfortable that all of your questions and concerns about receiving counseling are addressed before we begin.

       

Environmental Privacy: Northbrook  Office

The Northbrook/Vale office is located on a private, eight acre, woodland garden setting, featuring private entrance and private exit. The private waiting room is located in the separate, free-standing Reception and Media Therapy building to maintain confidential separation of incoming and outgoing clients.

Fall (above), Spring (below)


View inside counseling dome.

Note: New female clients sometimes express concerns for their safety regarding visiting a yet unknown male counselor in this secluded setting. I reassure them that they can confirm my credentials and do a background check online, and/or bring a friend (who can wait in the waiting room) for their visit. Your comfort is essential.

Two levels of Privacy offered by TRANSITIONS:

1) Highest privacy is offered by my Virtual Office, which offers online e-counseling and other services, although the lack of face-to-face contact leads to some limitations in effectiveness. (See Online Consultation for an exploration of the issues.)

2) Next-highest level of privacy is found at the Northbrook office, located in a secluded rural, woodland garden setting (20 minutes average drive from adjoining towns). It has private entrance; private exit.  

 

Privacy and Confidentiality Links: Issues to Explore in Order to Make An Informed Choice

The Risks of Managed Care & Insurance:    Safer Payment Options With Assured Confidentiality

How Managed Care    Wrecks Our Lives           A Personal Odyssey

A brief discussion of the issues is found in theClient Handbook      And Professional Disclosure Statement

What Are Your Risks In Seeking Help These Days?                                A Quick Web Site Synopsis and Update Exploring the Risks and Options

This link will take you to TRANSITIONS policies developed in conformity with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).   This information is essential if you opt out of private, fee-for-services payment and  use insurance or an employer-based plan which requires electronic transfer of your billing and your protected (by government definition) health information. Be advised, while your health information may be "protected" by government definitions, your best interests may not be protected.

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Please call me to address any questions you may continue to have after reading this material.

 

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To call TRANSITIONS/SoulMentors: (704) 276-1164