Eileen H. Glenn, MA, LCPC, ACHT, LLC
1740 Ridge Ave, Suite 101A
Evanston, Illinois 60201
Welcome to my practice. This document (the Agreement) contains important information about my professional services and business policies. It also contains summary information about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a new federal law that provides new privacy protections and new patient rights with regard to the use and disclosure of your Protected Health Information (PHI) used for the purpose of treatment, payment, and health care operations. HIPAA requires that I provide you with a Notice of Privacy Practices (the Notice) for the use and disclosure of PHI for treatment, payment and health care operations. The Notice, which is attached to this Agreement, explains HIPAA and its application to your personal health information in greater detail. The law requires that I obtain your signature acknowledging that I have provided you with this information at the end of this session. Although these documents are long and sometimes complex, it is very important that you read them carefully before our next session. We can discuss any questions you have about the procedures at that time. When you sign this document, it will also represent an agreement between us. You may revoke this Agreement in writing at any time. That revocation will be binding on me unless I have taken action in reliance on it; if there are obligations imposed on me by your health insurer in order to process or substantiate claims made under your policy; or if you have not satisfied any financial obligations you have incurred. [For providers that require signatures on both documents before the beginning of therapy, this paragraph will have to be redrafted accordingly.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the psychotherapist and client, and the particular problems you are experiencing. There are many different methods I may use to deal with the problems that you hope to address. Psychotherapy is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, it calls for a very active effort on your part. In order for the therapy to be most successful, you will have to work on things we talk about both during our sessions and at home.
Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have many benefits. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. But there are no guarantees of what you will experience.
Our first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, I will be able to offer you some first impressions of what our work will include and a treatment plan to follow, if you decide to continue with therapy. You should evaluate this information along with your own opinions of whether you feel comfortable working with me. Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money and energy, so you should be very careful about the therapist you select. If you have questions about my procedures, we should discuss them whenever they arise. If your doubts persist, I will be happy to help you set up a meeting with another mental health professional for a second opinion.
I normally conduct an evaluation/history that will last from 2 to 3 sessions. If psychotherapy is begun, I will usually schedule one 50-minute session (one appointment hour of 50 minutes duration) per week at a time we agree on, although some sessions may be longer or more frequent. Once an appointment hour is scheduled, you will be expected to pay for it unless you provide 24 hours advance notice of cancellation (unless we both agree that you were unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control). It is important to note that insurance companies do not provide reimbursement for cancelled session. [If it is possible, I will try to find another time to reschedule the appointment.]
Due to my work schedule, I am often not immediately available by telephone. While I am usually in my office between 9 AM and 5 PM, I probably will not answer the phone when I am with a client. When I am unavailable, my telephone is answered by voice mail that I monitor frequently. I will make every effort to return your call on the same day you make it, with the exception of weekends and holidays. If you are difficult to reach, please inform me of some times when you will be available. [In emergencies, you can try me on my cell phone.] If you are unable to reach me and feel that you can’t wait for me to return your call, contact your family physician or the nearest emergency room and ask for the psychologist [psychiatrist] on call. If I will be unavailable for an extended time, I will provide you with the name of a colleague to contact, if necessary. LIMITS ON CONFIDENTIALITY
The law protects the privacy of all communications between a client and psychotherapist. In most situations, I can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written Authorization form that meets certain legal requirements imposed by HIPAA and/or Illinois law. However, in the following situations, no authorization is required:I may occasionally find it helpful to consult other health and mental health professionals about a case. During a consultation, I make every effort to avoid revealing the identity of my patient. The other professionals are also legally bound to keep the information confidential. If you don’t object, I will not tell you about these consultations unless I feel that it is important to our work together. I will note all consultations in your Clinical Record (which is called “PHI” in my Notice of Psychotherapist’s Policies and Practices to Protect the Privacy of Your Health Information).
Disclosures required by health insurers or to collect overdue fees are discussed elsewhere in the Agreement.
If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information concerning your diagnosis and treatment, such information is protected by the psychotherapist-patient privilege law. I cannot disclose any information without a court order. If you are involved in or contemplating litigation, you should consult with your attorney to determine whether a court would be likely to order me to disclose information.
If a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight activities, I may be required to provide it for them.
If a patient files a complaint or lawsuit against me, I may disclose relevant information regarding that patient in order to defend myself.CLIENT RIGHTS
HIPAA provides you with several new or expanded rights with regard to our Clinical Records and disclosures of protected health information. These rights include requesting that I amend your record; requesting restrictions on what information from your Clinical Records is disclosed to others; requesting an accounting of most disclosures of protected health information that you have neither consented to nor authorized; determining the location to which protected information disclosures are sent; having any complaints you make about my policies and procedures in your records; and the right to a paper copy of the Agreement, the attached Notice Form, and my privacy policies and procedures. I am happy to discuss any of these rights with you.
MINORS & PARENTS
Clients under 12 years of age and their parents should be aware that the law allows parents to examine their child’s treatment records. Parents of children between 12 and 18 cannot examine their child’s records unless the child consents and unless I find that there are no compelling reasons for denying the access. Parents are entitled to information concerning their child’s current physical and mental condition, diagnosis, treatment needs, services provided and services needed. Since parental involvement is often crucial to successful treatment, in most cases, I require that clients between 12 and 16 years of age and their parents enter into an agreement that allows parents access to certain additional treatment information about the progress of their child’s treatment, and his/her attendance at scheduled sessions. I will also provide parents with a summary of treatment when it is complete. Any other communication will require the child’s Authorization, unless I feel that the child is in danger or is a danger to someone else, in which case, I will notify the parents of my concern. Before giving parents any information, I will discuss the matter with the child, if possible, and do my best to handle any objections he/she may have.
[For psychotherapists who elect to keep Psychotherapy notes] You should be aware that, pursuant to HIPAA, I keep Protected Health Information about you in two sets of professional records. One set constitutes your Clinical Record. It includes information about your reasons for seeking therapy, a description of the ways in which your problem impacts on your life, your diagnosis, the goals that we set for treatment, you, your progress towards those goals, your medical and social history, your treatment history, any past treatment records that I receive from other providers, reports of any professional consultations, your billing records and any reports that have been sent to anyone, including reports to your insurance carrier. In addition, I also keep a set of Psychotherapy Notes. The Notes are for my own use and are designed to assist me in providing you with the best treatment. While the contents of Psychotherapy Notes vary from client to client, they can include the contents of our conversations, my analysis of those conversations, and how they impact on your therapy. They also contain particularly sensitive information that you may reveal to me that is not required to be included in your Clinical Record. These Psychotherapy Notes are kept separate from your Clinical Record. While insurance companies can request and receive a copy of your Clinical Record, they cannot receive a copy of your Psychotherapy Notes without your Authorization. Insurance companies cannot require you Authorization as a condition of coverage nor penalize you in any way for your refusal. You may examine and/or receive a copy of both sets of records, if you request it in writing. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted and/or upsetting to untrained readers. For this reason, I recommend that you initially review them in my presence, or have them forwarded to another mental health professional so you can discuss the contents. [I am sometimes willing to conduct this review meeting without charge.] I am allowed to charge a copy fee of $1.00 per page (and for certain other expenses).
MINORS AND PARENTS
Clients under 12 years of age and their parents should be aware that the law allows parents to examine their child’s treatment records. Parents of children between 12 and 18 cannot examine their child’s records unless the child consents and unless I find that there are no compelling reasons for denying the access. Parents are entitled to information concerning their child’s current physical and mental condition, diagnosis, treatment needs, services provided, and services needed. Since parental involvement is often crucial to successful treatment. In most cases, I require that clients between 12 and 18 years of age and their parents enter into an agreement that allows parents access to certain additional treatment information. If everyone agrees, during treatment, I will provide parents with general information about the progress of their child’s treatment, and his/her attendance at scheduled sessions. I will also provide parents with a summary of treatment when it is complete. Any other communication will require the child’s Authorization, unless I feel that the child is in danger or is a danger to someone else, in which case, I will notify the parents of my concern. Before giving parents any information, I will discuss the matter with the child, if possible, and do my best to handle any objections he/she may have.
PROFESSIONAL FEES/ BILLING AND PAYMENTS
My hourly fee is $150.00. You will be expected to pay for each session at the time it is held, unless we agree otherwise or unless you have insurance coverage that requires another arrangement. [In circumstance of unusual financial hardship, I may be willing to negotiate a fee adjustment or payment installment plan.]
If your account has not been paid for more than 60 days and arrangements for payment have not been agreed upon, I have the option of using legal means to secure the payment. This may involve hiring a collection agency or going through small claims court which will require me to disclose otherwise confidential information. In most collection situation, the only information I release regarding a client’s treatment is his/her name, the nature of services provided, and the amount due. [If such legal action is necessary, its costs will be included in the claim.]
In order for us to set realistic treatment goals and priorities, it is important to evaluate what resources you have available to pay for your treatment. If you have a health insurance policy, it will usually provide some coverage for mental health treatment. I will fill out forms and provide you with whatever assistance I can in helping you receive the benefits to which you are entitled; however, you (not your insurance company) are responsible for full payment of my fees. The only exception is if I am a Provider for your insurance company. It is very important that you find out exactly what mental health services your insurance policy covers.
You should carefully read the section in your insurance coverage booklet that describes mental health services. If you have questions about the coverage, call your plan administrator. Of course, I will provide you with whatever information I can based on my experience and will be happy to help you in understanding the information you receive from your insurance company. If it is necessary to clear confusion, I will be willing to call the company on your behalf.
Due to the rising costs of health care, insurance benefits have increasingly become more complex. It is sometimes difficult to determine exactly how much mental health coverage is available. “Managed Health Care” plans such as HMOs and PPOs often require authorization before they provide reimbursement for mental health services. These plans are often limited to short-term treatment approaches designed to work out specific problems that interfere with a person’s usual level of functioning. It may be necessary to seek approval for more therapy after a certain number of sessions. While much can be accomplished in short-term therapy, some clients feel that they need more services after insurance benefits end. [Some managed-care plans will not allow me to provide services to you once your benefits end. If this is the case, I will do my best to find another provider who will help you continue your psychotherapy.]
You should also be aware that your contract with your health insurance company requires that you authorize me to provide it with information relevant to the services that I provide to you. If you are seeing reimbursement for services under your health insurance policy, you will be required to sign an authorization form that allows me to provide such information. I am required to provide a clinical diagnosis. Sometimes I am required to provide additional clinical information such as treatment plans or summaries, or copies of your entire Clinical Record. In such situation, I will make every effort to release only the minimum information about you that is necessary for the purpose requested. This information will become part of the insurance company files and will probably be stored in a computer. Though all insurance companies claim to keep such information confidential, I have no control over what they do with it once it is in their hands. In some cases, they may share the information with a national medical information databank. I will provide you with a copy of any report I submit, if you request it.
Once we have all of the information about your insurance coverage, we will discuss what we can expect to accomplish with the benefits that are available and what will happen if they run out before you feel ready to end your sessions. It is important to remember that you always have the right to pay for my services yourself to avoid the problems described above [unless prohibited by contract.]