Emily May of Fostering Hope (“your treating psychologist”) and Changes Psychology (the admin service “provider”) take your privacy seriously. This document describes the management of the information you disclose to your treating psychologist in relation to yourself or the person under 18 that you are bringing to therapy. Therapy addresses issues of a highly personal nature and it is important that you understand your rights with regard to your records and personal information collected.
- We work like a virtual clinic office, collecting and managing personal and medical information provided by you and your psychologist, which naturally includes sensitive health information.
- We collect, use and (where appropriate) share this information, which includes health information, in order to facilitate appointments with psychologists; manage payment, medicare and insurance claims; and manage records regarding your appointments. Handling of personal information involves storage and processing of some data overseas via offshore data centres.
Your treating psychologist will store: confidential casenotes and information that is not accessible by the provider’s admin team. Your information will be kept in a file that will be seen only by the treating psychologist and will be retained as a record of what happens during
sessions. As required by law, your file will be securely stored for 7 years (or if you are under 18 years old, your file must be kept
until you turn 25). After this time it will be destroyed in a confidential manner.
- All personal information gathered by your treating psychologist during the provision of the
psychological service will remain strictly confidential to the person the information is
collected from and kept secure. However, while rare, there can be exceptions when:
- Failure to disclose the information would place yourself or others at risk;
- Your prior approval has been given to provide a written report to another professional or agency or person. eg. GP or lawyer or child’s school
- If you are are claiming Medicare rebates or having sessions paid for by another organisation, then your psychologist may be required to provide summary reports to external agencies regarding your treatment progress. Under the Medicare scheme these summary progress reports are mandatory if you want to claim a Medicare rebate and will normally be sent to your referring GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist.
- Neither your treating Psychologist, or admin provider, will provide information, reports or documentation for medico-legal or family court related purposes unless we required to by law, under a subpoena or by a court order.
- Access to your or a child’s information – You may access the material recorded in your file upon request, subject to the exceptions in the Australian Privacy Principles or clause 5 above. You must provide a written request to access your information and your request will be processed within 21 days and an hourly fee is payable to collate and provide this information to you. If the information request is in relation to a person under 18, and you are not the person who initiated and paid for their therapy sessions, we would also require confirmation from the parent or guardian that initiated their treatment before releasing the information to ensure we meet the requirements of the National Privacy Policies.
- As part of professional practice as a psychologist, your treating psychologist sometimes receives supervision from a senior clinician, which involves discussing treatment plans and information about current clients to improve their clinical practice and ensure clients receive quality treatment. In this context, some aspects of your treatment may be discussed. However this will be done in confidence and your personal identity will not be disclosed.