Last updated January, 2019
I am committed to respecting and protecting your privacy. This statement outlines my policies and procedures with respect to collecting, using and disclosing your personal health information. It also provides information about how you can access records of your personal health information and request correction of recorded information. The website www.drlempert.ca is owned and operated by Dr. Linda Iny Lempert.
Definition of Personal Health Information
The practice of psychology in Ontario is regulated under the provincial Regulated Health Professions Act. As such, all identifiable information collected by a psychologist or psychological associate about an individual, in the course of practicing psychology, is considered “personal health information” under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. This includes your name and contact information, as well as any information collected/recorded in the course of providing services to you.
Collection of Your Personal Health Information
I collect your personal health information only directly from you, except:
- When you have provided consent to obtain such information from others (e.g., reports of previous assessments or of other services);
- Where the law requires or allows us to collect information without your consent (e.g., in an urgent situation, when information is needed to prevent potential harm).
I collect only information that I believe is needed:
- To provide you with the services you have requested and/or for which you have been referred;
- To maintain contact with you for service-related or future consent purposes;
- To prevent or offset harm (e.g., asking for an emergency contact).
If I collect information from you for any other purpose (e.g., research), it will be done only with your informed consent. If you decide that you do not want to provide this latter type of information, you are completely free to refuse. There will be no impact on your services.
By law and in accordance with professional standards, I am required to keep a record of our services to and contacts with you. Your record includes information you provide to us or authorize us to receive, results of any assessments, your service plan, consent forms, contact notes, progress summaries, billing information, and correspondence that we have sent or received related to your service.
The physical records are the property of my practice. However, you have rights regarding access to your record and regarding disclosure of information from your record (see below), regardless of the form in which the information is recorded.
Use of Your Personal Health Information
In my office, the primary use of your personal health information is to provide services to you. This includes carrying out all of the functions reasonably necessary to provide those services (e.g., service planning and monitoring, maintaining your record, billing). Staff members are allowed to access only that information they have a “need-to-know”. This means that staff members involved in billing, for example, are allowed to access only the information needed to carry out their billing function. They are not allowed to access other information.
All personnel are trained in the need for privacy and confidentiality. They also are trained in my practice’s privacy policies and procedures, including prevention of record loss and unauthorized access. Personnel who know a client personally are required to declare this and to remove themselves from access to that client’s record, except if there is an emergency or if the client has given express consent for access.
Your record occasionally may be accessed for external auditing, licensing, or accreditation purposes. However, I do not allow removal of any identifiable client information from my office for these purposes. All personnel involved in these activities are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of any accessed information.
Disclosure of Your Personal Health Information
With only a few exceptions, your personal health information will not be disclosed to persons outside this office without your knowledge and express consent. The exceptions are circumstances in which disclosure is allowed by law:
- When there is a clear and imminent risk of serious bodily harm to someone, including the possibility of self-harm;
- When disclosure is needed to receive professional or legal consultation;
- For mandatory reporting of a child who might be in need of protection;
- For mandatory reporting of a regulated health professional who has sexually abused a client;
- For mandatory reporting of abuse of someone in a long-term care home;
- In compliance with a court order to release information from a record;
- To comply with professional regulations established by the College of Psychologists of Ontario, who may inspect records and interview staff as a part of their regulatory activities (e.g., quality assurance) in the public interest;
- To comply with regulatory authorities under the terms of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) for the purposes of the College of Psychologists of Ontario for fulfilling their respective mandates under the RHPA, as well as for a defense of a legal issue, and;
- To insurance companies, employee assistance programs or other third-party payers as needed, who often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate your entitlement to this funding and to answer questions about our services you have received.
The above exceptions are called “limits of confidentiality”. If there are other limits of confidentiality in your situation, I will identify and discuss them with you before proceeding with your service.
Please note that the law requires any disclosure of your personal health information to be limited to information that is reasonably necessary for the purpose of the disclosure, and not to include private information provided by a third party. Professional ethical standards additionally require that any new information that might cause serious harm to someone not be disclosed, unless the law requires disclosure.
When consenting to the disclosure of your personal health information, you may restrict me from sharing all or any part of your personal information. However, if in my opinion the information is reasonably necessary for another health service provider to provide appropriate service, I am required by law to inform the other provider that you have refused consent to provide some needed information.
Retention and Destruction of Personal Information
I am required by legislation and our regulatory body to retain personal information for no less than 10 years, and in the case of children, 10 years after the child turns 18.
Your Right of Access to your Personal Health Information Record
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to access any record of your personal health information, and to request copies of the information. If the physical record contains personal health information about another individual, that individual’s information must be able to be severed from the record before you may access the record.
Because of the nature of certain services, severing information in some, not all places can be difficult and at times impossible.
Other exceptions include access to copyrighted psychological test information (test items, protocols, manuals), information provided in confidence by a third party, and information that could result in serious harm to someone’s treatment or recovery, or in serious bodily harm to someone.
If you request your personal file:
I may need to confirm your identity, if you have not received service for some time, before providing you with this access. I reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests, including the cost of retrieving your file from storage and separating out your information from those of other affected parties. If I cannot give you access, I will tell you within 14 days and explain why not. If you believe there is an error in the information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. (This applies to factual information and not to any professional opinions we may have formed.) I may ask you to provide documentation that my files are wrong. Where we agree there is an error, I will make the correction and notify anyone to whom I may have sent the incorrect information. If I do not agree that I have made an error, you may provide a notice of disagreement that will be included in the file and I will forward that notice to anyone else who received the earlier information.
These privacy policies and procedures have been developed in accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA), professional regulations and ethical standards. PHIPA is a complex Act and provides some additional exceptions to the information protection and privacy principles that are too detailed to set out here. Further details of the applicable laws, regulations, and standards may be found on the websites of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (www.health.gov.on.ca), the College of Psychologists of Ontario (www.cpo.on.ca), and the Canadian Psychological Association (www.cpa.ca).
I will speak with you directly regarding any questions you might have regarding this Privacy Statement. If you would like more detailed information at any time, would like access or ask for a correction of your record, or have a concern about the way your privacy has been handled, please do not hesitate to speak or write to me.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner can be reached at 80 Bloor Street West, Suite 1700, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2V1, telephone (416) 326-3333, Web www.ipc.on.ca, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third Party Sites
Dr. Lempert’s website contains links to third-party websites; these are provided solely for your convenience. Clicking on these links will take you outside of Dr. Lempert’s website. Please be advised that Dr.Lempert has no control over these third-party sites and, while Dr. Lempert’s website may feature such links, Dr. Lempert will not, at any time, accept liability for these sites. We encourage users who visit external sites from links within www.drlempert.ca to read the privacy statements of those sites, as their privacy practices may differ from ours.