Confidentiality & Release of Information Policies

In general, information about your treatment is confidential and considered Protected Health Information (PHI). PHI is typically used and/or disclosed with your consent and written authorization. However, there are times when PHI is used and/or disclosed without your consent and written authorization. These mandatory exceptions, as stipulated in Washington State and Federal laws are:

  1. If your therapist has reasonable cause to believe that disclosure will avoid or minimize imminent danger to your health and safety (e.g., self-harm or suicide), or the health and safety of another individual (e.g., violent attack, homicide, etc.). Under these circumstances, required disclosures are made to appropriate law enforcement or public health authorities, or other persons necessary to avoid or minimize imminent danger to health and society.
  2. If your therapist has reasonable cause to believe that either:
    • A child has suffered abuse (e.g., physical assault, sexual molestation or other form of sexual abuse or assault) or neglect/abandonment.
    • A vulnerable adult has suffered abuse (e.g., physical assault, sexual molestation or other form of sexual abuse or assault), or neglect/abandonment, or financial exploitation.
    • Domestic violence or abuse (e.g., physical or sexual assault) has occurred. Under these circumstances, required disclosures are made to appropriate law enforcement or public health authorities, or other persons necessary to avoid or minimize imminent danger to health and society (e.g., Department of Social and Health Services, Child Protective Services).
  3. When directed by a court or court official if you are involved in civil litigation or criminal case, or in the absence of a protective order when involved in a compulsory legal process. Additionally, your records would be subject to compulsory release if you file a complaint and your therapist is subpoenaed by the Washington State Department of Health as part of its investigations, hearings or proceedings relating to the discipline, issuance or denial of licensure. Your records would also be subject to release if you file a worker’s compensation claim.