La Vie Privacy & Confidentiality Policy
Last Updated: January 1, 2015
The purpose of confidentiality in psychological counseling and psychotherapy is to encourage La Vie clients to discuss what they are experiencing openly without withholding information out of a concern that it might prove embarrassing or detrimental to them. Safeguarding information shared in the context of the psychotherapist-client relationship is not only an ethical but also a legal responsibility in the State of California.
La Vie Counseling Center (LVCC) strictly protects the confidentiality of information shared during sessions. This section summarizes LVCC’ practices regarding the safeguarding of client confidentiality and the sharing of information. It is not intended as a summary of actual laws of the State of California.
Brief information from your sessions is recorded in a LVCC file. This file can only be accessed by members of LVCC staff. The LVCC record is kept for 10 years, which is consistent with state law. Clients have a right to know the contents of their file unless the therapist (or the client’s parents or legal guardian, if under 18) deems the viewing of it would be harmful to the client’s mental health.
Limits of Confidentiality
There are exceptions to confidentiality of therapist-client information that are set by California law:
- If a client tells his/her therapist that he/she was abused as a child, and the client is under 18 years of age at the time he/she tells the therapist, the therapist must report the abuse to a Child Protective Services agency
- If a client is over 18 when he/she tells the therapist, but there is a child at risk by the same abuser, then the therapist may be required to make a report
- If a client tells the therapist about being sexually assaulted, the therapist is not required to make a report unless the client is under 18 at the time he/she tells the therapist
- If a client tells the therapist about elder abuse, the therapist may be required to make a report
- If a client tells the therapist that he/she actually intends to cause imminent, life-threatening harm to him/herself, the therapist is legally obligated to take whatever actions seem necessary to protect the client from harm
- If a client tells the therapist that he/she actually intends to do imminent bodily harm to a specific person, the law calls for the therapist to inform the authorities and intended victim, and to take additional action if necessary
- If a court of law orders a therapist to release information, that therapist is bound by law to comply with such an order
Release of Information
With the exceptions noted above, information about clients, including their use of LVCC services cannot be released to anyone outside of LVCC without the client’s written permission. If a client decides to release information, he/she will be asked to sign a form authorizing its release. This form will specify what LVCC or the therapist can release to whom, and when. The client may revoke permission at any time by giving LVCC written notice.
The Client Determines What’s Disclosed
If a client decides to authorize LVCC to disclose information contained in his/her record, the client can determine what information is disclosed. The client can:
- Designate to whom the disclosure is to be made
- Specify the purpose or need
- Expressly limit what information he/she authorizes to be released
- Revoke the authorization at any time
- Indicate when the authorization expires
Common Reasons for Disclosure
Here are the most common reasons to authorize LVCC to disclose information contained in the confidential record:
- Services to Be Charged to Insurance: Most insurance companies require clients to authorize their therapist to provide to the insurance company a clinical diagnosis. Sometimes the therapist may have to provide additional clinical information such as treatment plans or summaries.
- Additional Testing or Treatment by Another Professional Outside LVCC: For example, for specialized psychological testing, a LVCC therapist will need to either talk to someone or write a brief summary about what is hoped to be achieved by the testing.
La Vie Electronic Communications Policy
Last updated: January 1, 2015
La Vie Counseling Centers supplies all information posted on this web site. While we try to maintain only current and accurate information, we disclaim any implied warranty or representation about its accuracy or completeness, or appropriateness for a particular purpose. As the recipient of this information, you assume full responsibility for using the information at this web site, and you understand and agree that La Vie is neither responsible nor liable for any claim, loss, or damage resulting from its use. The mention of specific products or services at this site does not constitute or imply a recommendation or endorsement by La Vie, unless it is explicitly stated. The views and opinions of authors do not necessarily state or reflect those of La Vie. This web site may provide specific health information, none of which is intended to be specific to your medical condition. Nothing contained, expressly or implied, at this site is intended or shall be construed as medical or other professional advice by La Vie. For specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, contact your personal physician.
Links to other sites
This web site may contain links to other web sites for your convenience. However, La Vie disclaims any responsibility for the content, information or the privacy and security policies contained on those other web sites, and does not exert any editorial or other control over those sites.
Privacy of this web site
Browsing our web site. In the normal course of visiting the laviecounseling.org web site, viewing pages, or downloading information, we will gather and store certain information about your visit automatically. We use this information to help us make the site more useful to visitors — to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use. Unless it is specifically stated otherwise, no additional information will be collected about you. This information does not identify you personally. We can automatically collect and store the following types of information about your visit:
- Your computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address. (An IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you go on the Web.)
- The domain from which you access the Internet (for example, aol.com, if you are connecting from an America Online account.)
- The Internet address of the Web site, if any, from which you came to our site.
- The date and time you arrived at our site and how long you spent visiting the site.
- The name and version of your computer’s operating system and browser: for example, Windows 95/Netscape Navigator 4.5. (This information is supplied automatically by your computer.)
- The pages you visit.
Some pages on this web site employ browser session “cookies.” A cookie is a small piece of data that a web site transfers to your computer’s hard disk to allow the server to distinguish your session from that of others while you are connected. Requests to send cookies are not designed to collect information about you, but only about your “browser session.” The cookies make it easier for you to use the dynamic features of our web site. The cookies and the information about your session are automatically destroyed shortly after you close your browser. The information is not permanently stored on your computer. We do not collect personal information about you except as described above.
Use of personal health information (PHI)
La Vie is committed to ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of our visitors’ Protected Health Information (PHI). We collect and disclose such information only according to our strict confidentiality policies and federal and state laws designed to maintain privacy, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. The HIPAA Privacy Rule took effect on April 14, 2003, and requires La Vie to provide its members with a Notice of Privacy Practices. The notice explains how we use information about our members and under what conditions we are permitted to share that information with others. In regard to our interactive web services, La Vie treats all data that we receive as confidential. We will not disclose to third parties any identifying data, including name, mailing address, e-mail address and phone number, unless you authorize such disclosure or such disclosure is required by law. Be sure to consider the content of any questions, the location of your e-mail account and who, besides yourself, may have access to it. We collect personally identifiable data at: Site feedback form, Within “Contact Us”, when users send us a general information request, E-mail to La Vie or to any of our therapists listed on this site.
Web site security
Security is a priority at La Vie. Appropriate measures are taken to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information about our clients, providers, employees, partners and anyone else that may want to use our web site. Only authorized users are allowed to access Protected Health Information (PHI). La Vie enforces a high level of protection, i.e., 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption, for securing transmissions between a user’s browser and this web site. Content on this site is protected against unauthorized access.
E-mail sent over the Internet is not secure and should not be used to communicate confidential and/or health information directly to La Vie. Please be aware that La Vie cannot guarantee the confidentiality or security of any information you send to us over the Internet when using e-mail. La Vie shall not be liable for any breach of confidentiality resulting from such use of e-mail via the Internet. La Vie will not use e-mail to communicate confidential and/or health information unless the e-mail is secured in accordance with La Vie’s Corporate E-Mail Policy.
Communicating with us
Medical questions or concerns about your care or treatment should be directed to appropriate health care professionals. La Vie will not respond to requests for personal medical advice made through this web site. E-mail forms used on our site should not be for confidential personal issues, but for general topics or questions. If you to discuss personal information related to La Vie services, you should call La Vie, and not use e-mail. Your e-mail may not be encrypted and may be accessed and viewed by other Internet users without your knowledge while in transit to us. See e-mail Security above.
Copyright © 2015 La Vie Counseling Centers, Inc. All rights reserved. The information posted on this web site is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. It may be displayed, reformatted and printed for personal, non-commercial use only. Any copy of information obtained through the web site must include the copyright notice. Removing or altering the copyright notice on any material on this web site is prohibited. Use or misuse of La Vie’s trademarks, service marks or logos is expressly prohibited and may violate state and federal law.
Last updated: January 1, 2015
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
OUR PLEDGE TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY
La Vie Counseling Centers (“LVCC” for purposes of this Notice) knows that information about you is personal, and we are committed to protecting the privacy of your information. As a client of LVCC, the care and treatment you receive is recorded in a personal record, which includes the records of your psychological care. So that we can best meet your psychological needs, we may need to share your record with other providers involved in your care. We share your personal information only to the extent necessary to collect payment for certain services we provide to you, to conduct our business operations, and to comply with the laws that govern personal care. We will not use or disclose your personal information for any other purpose without your permission. We are required by law to:
- Make sure that your personal information is kept private, particularly your psychological care records;
- Give you this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to personal information about you;
- Follow the terms of the Privacy Notice that is currently in effect.
We have a responsibility to safeguard the privacy and integrity of your records. This Notice explains our privacy practices and your rights regarding your personal information.
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE
The following parties share LVCC’s commitment to protect your privacy and will comply with this Notice: Any LVCC professional authorized to enter information into your personal records; All office locations of LVCC; All employees, volunteers, trainees, contractors and staff members of LVCC.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
You* have the following rights regarding your personal information:
- RIGHT TO INSPECT AND OBTAIN A COPY OF YOUR RECORD: You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the personal records that LVCC uses to make decisions about you and your treatment, subject to certain limited exceptions. This information includes your personal and billing records. For your psychological care records from LVCC, a summary will be provided unless you do not agree to a summary. We reserve the right to charge a fee to cover the cost of providing your records to you.
- RIGHT TO REQUEST A CORRECTION OR ADD AN ADDENDUM TO YOUR RECORD: If you believe that personal information LVCC has on file about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to correct the personal information in your records. If your personal information is accurate and complete, or if the information was not created by LVCC, we may deny your request; however, if we deny any part of your request, we will provide you with a written explanation of our reasons for doing so. In addition, an adult client of LVCC who believes that an item or statement in the personal record is incorrect or incomplete has the right to provide LVCC with a written addendum to the record.
- RIGHT TO AN ACCOUNTING OF LVCC DISCLOSURES OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION: You have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures” which is a list describing how we have shared your personal information with outside parties.
- RIGHT TO REQUEST RESTRICTIONS: You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses or disclosures of your personal information. Requests for restrictions must be in writing. We are not required to agree to your requested restriction. However, if we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment or comply with the law. If we cannot accept your request, we will explain to you in writing why we cannot do so.
- RIGHT TO REQUEST CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS: You have the right to request that we communicate with you about personal matters in a certain manner or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work, rather than at your home. You may request confidential communications by changing your contact information for communication at LVCC. We will not ask you the reason for your request, and we will use our best efforts to accommodate all reasonable requests.
- RIGHT TO A COPY OF THIS NOTICE UPON REQUEST: You have the right to a copy of this Notice. It is available by printing this page on your personal printer.
(*) “You” in this Notice means a LVCC client or, if applicable, the client’s personal representative. A personal representative is any person authorized to act on behalf of the client with respect to his/her personal care. For example, a personal representative may include the parent or guardian of a minor (unless the minor has the authority under California law to act on his/her own behalf), the guardian or conservator of an adult client, or the person authorized to act on behalf of a deceased client.
To obtain information about how to request a copy of your personal records, receive an accounting of disclosures of, or correct or add an addendum to your personal information please call (800) 483-9591.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and update this Notice accordingly. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for personal information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. If the Notice is changed, we will post the new Notice on our web site and provide it to you upon request.
COMMENTS OR COMPLAINTS
We welcome your comments about our Notice and our privacy practices. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with LVCC. To register a comment or file a complaint with LVCC, please contact:
Privacy & Confidentiality Officer
La Vie Counseling Centers
650 Sierra Madre Villa – Suite 110
Pasadena, CA 91107
Phone: (800) 483-9591
OTHER USES OF INFORMATION AND REVOCATIONS OF USES
Other uses and disclosures of personal information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization. If you provide us authorization to use or disclose personal information about you, you may revoke that authorization, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose personal information about you for the activities covered by the authorization, except if we have already acted in reliance on your permission. We are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your authorization.