Markham Psychologists is a group of independent psychologists who each have their own private practice, but share office space and secretarial support. From a legal standpoint we are not an association or partnership.
This document outlines the practices followed by all Psychologists who work at Markham Psychologists. These practices are designed to protect the privacy of personal information about you that may be collected as part of the usual process of providing psychological services (psychotherapy and/or psychological testing) in accordance with current privacy legislation. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarification of this policy if required.
It is the policy of all psychologists who work at Markham Psychologists to only collect personal information about you that is necessary to provide effective psychological services (psychotherapy and/or psychological testing). All secretarial staff and students are also required to follow the practices outlined in this policy.
A psychologist, secretarial staff or student who knows you personally will not be permitted to see or hear information about you unless there is an emergency or unless you give consent. Secretarial staff and students are allowed to see and handle information about you only if this is necessary as part of their job. A person who is carrying out an audit or review of your treating psychologist’s practice may also see your personal information. However, we do not allow any information that identifies you to be taken from our office by such persons unless you give consent.
Process for Obtaining Consent for the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
During the intake session or sessions (usually one or two sessions) consent for the collection of personal information is implied since you are not required to answer any question that you do not wish to answer. However, written consent for the disclosure of personal information to third parties must be obtained.
All clients of psychologists who work at Markham Psychologists who are sixteen (16) years of age or older have the legal right to have personal information about them maintained as confidential. However, there are five legal exceptions to confidentiality and two additional exceptions that apply to clients of psychologists who work at Markham Psychologists. These seven exceptions are outlined on the attached “Conditions of Service” form and will be explained to you in the intake session(s).
Written documents containing personal information, such as invoices, letters and reports may be handed directly to you. However, apart from the exceptions outlined on the attached “Conditions of Service” form, such information may only be shared with a third party with your written consent.
In cases where the fee for service is paid for by a third party, such as an insurance company, there may be requirements to disclose information. If fees are covered by a workplace medical plan, they typically require your name and the registration number of the treating psychologist. If the fees are covered by automobile accident insurance, or short or long term disability insurance, the company typically requires an initial assessment and treatment plan, progress reports and a termination report.
If you wish to have the costs of your treatment covered by your auto insurance company or short or long term disability insurance, you must provide written consent for disclosure at intake. It is your responsibility to inform the assessing psychologist if you would like to review reports and letters before they are sent. If upon reviewing a report or letter you disagree with the content and the assessing psychologist maintains that the content is accurate, you have the option of either paying for the report, in which case it becomes your property. In this case the assessing psychologist will need to inform your insurance company that you did not want the letter or report sent and this could result in a termination of benefits. Alternatively, you may add a correction of information page to the letter or report (see below). Your psychologist will clarify the type of information that they are required to share with your insurance company in the intake session.
Psychologists who work at Markham Psychologists will not send personal information about you to a third party via email. Such information may be sent by Canada Post and/or fax. When sending personal information by fax, a cover sheet is used that clearly indicates the intended recipient and specifies that the information contained in the fax is confidential. If you request that information be sent via email, you bear full responsibility for an unintended party obtaining access to that information during or after transmission.
Markham Psychologists reserves the right to share personal information about you with your parent or guardian if you are under 16 years of age and it is deemed by the practitioner to be in your best interests.
Client’s Right of Access to their File
You have the right to access information about you that is contained in your file. Exceptions include the possibility of harm to you or someone else, and confidential information in the record about a person other than yourself. You must make an appointment with your treating psychologist for the purpose of reviewing your file to ensure that you understand the contents. After reviewing your file with the treating psychologist you may request a photocopy of the file contents. You will be charged a nominal fee to cover the cost of the copying. Alternatively, you may take notes.
Your Right to Correct Information that is in your file
If you believe that information in your record is not accurate, you may request that the treating psychologist correct the information. If your treating psychologist does not agree with the requested correction, you may file a notice of disagreement in you record. In turn, the treating psychologist may add an explanation of why they deem the original information to be accurate. Any such corrections must be shared with all third parties who received the original information that is in question (e.g. insurance companies).
Retention and Destruction of Client Files
Your file will, at all times, be stored in a locked cabinet or locked storage area. It will be retained for ten (10) years beyond your treating psychologist’s last contact with you (or 10 years past your 18th birthday if you are less than 18 years at the point of last contact). All personal information will be shredded prior to disposal.
Procedure upon Death or Disability of Practitioner
In the event of death or disability of your treating psychologist, all active and terminated client files will be transferred to another psychologist as specified on the individual practitioner’s “Conditions of Service” form. The “Conditions of Service” form will be reviewed with you in the first session and signed by you as confirmation that you have discussed and understood the contents of this form.
Complaints Process with regards to Privacy IssuesIf you believe that a psychologist at Markham Psychologists has breached confidentiality you should first speak to the psychologist in question about your concerns (if possible). In the event that you are not satisfied with the outcome, you should contact the College of Psychologists at: (416) 961-8817 and/or the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario at: (416) 326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073.
Copyright 2007 Markham Psychologists | Individual, Couples and Family Therapy