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Is it OK for p-doc to call your dad?!


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;) My p-doc called my dad who I wasn't in communication with.  She called him to get confirmation of details that I told her in therapy! I swear! She wanted to know what he did for a living, where I went to college, other, and more intimate details of my family life!  (Or at least this is as much as she admitted to getting.)  Isn't this outrageous?  Isn't this uncool?  She did it with absolutely no knowledge or approval on my part.  Anybody heard of this?  It's unethical, isn't it?
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definately unethical I'd say. Your permission is needed her to contact your family, workplace etc...

If my pdoc did this, I'd be majorly pissed off...and I'd probably stop seeing him (at the very least).

I'm in Australia, so I'm not sure about the US's laws etc.. regarding patient confidentiality.

With whatever steps you take next, good luck.  ;)

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You may have signed a whole lot of paper work before you started treatment. did you read everything? there are a whole bunch of different types of waivers and documents that a doctor could have you sign. whether or not you choose to sign these papers, is your decision.

so do you think in any of the paperwork there were any waivers of any kind allowing your pdoc to do "research" on you or your past, or contacting anyone? ie your father?

Theres a little US govt thing called "HIPPA" which protects a lot of your health info. however, if you signed a waiver. then your doctors can do whatever you signed away....

BTW - i know this cuz my BF is a HIPPA consultant.

good luck!!

december

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Unethical to break doctor-patient confidentiality, yes a big no-no. As mentioned some different rules may apply if you are a minor. But as an adult for her to call your Dad for any information is beyond proper practice. If you wrote your Dad's name as an emrgency contact then he should only be contacted if the pdoc thinks you may be a threat to yourself or others. This does not allow her just to call your Dad and ask questions or verify facts.

HIPPA does protect the patient to some degree but it is really more so that certain state/federal authorities to have your records available to them for certain reasons, openly threatening someone, e.g. the president, information needed by police in relation to a possible crime, or abusing other people or children. Just a few of the reasons that give your pdoc to release info via HIPPA regulations.

Unless you sign(ed) a release with the pdoc or give/gave her verbal approval to involve any one else in your care including sharing files with another pdoc or todc, except the above noted emergency situations, she was unethical in her call to your Dad. If that is exactly what happened, she called him just for info, and there was no emergency that she felt someone else needed to be brought in re: your mental health, which you might have signed a waiver for her to do, it is unprofessional and unethical of her to call your Dad.

Erika

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Thanks everybody.  To fill in the facts:  I am not a minor, there was no emergency, it was just to get facts for whatever reason, and I did not sign a waiver, that's for sure.

I decided to leave her care.  I appreciate your help in sorting out what happened!

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I am not a minor, there was no emergency, it was just to get facts for whatever reason, and I did not sign a waiver, that's for sure.

If she is a psychologist I would be contacting the licensing board of my state to report this person. This is certainly a breach of confidentiality. And if your health insurance is paying for any of her services, I would file a grievance against her there as well.

Greeny

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Hi,

Well HIPPA is a little more than that Erika, **IF** there were NO waivers signed. Then "guest" could hire an attorney and the doctor would have to pay $ for violating HIPPA. **Because from what was written**, it seems fairly easy to prove that the pdoc violated HIPPA rules.

december

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Guest guest guest

Hi,

Well HIPPA is a little more than that Erika, **IF** there were NO waivers signed. Then "guest" could hire an attorney and the doctor would have to pay $ for violating HIPPA. **Because from what was written**, it seems fairly easy to prove that the pdoc violated HIPPA rules.

december

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I saw a copy of HIPPA once. I think HIPPA's fee against my psychiatrist would be something like $300,000, but I don't think I'll file.  I just want it over, plus I can't afford the lawyer or the emotionalism in fighting right now. She, the psychiatrist, really just hurt my feelings (she really asked intimate questions) and I want it over.

Thanks everybody for listening and giving good advice.

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Well HIPPA is a little more than that Erika, **IF** there were NO waivers signed. Then "guest" could hire an attorney and the doctor would have to pay $ for violating HIPPA. **Because from what was written**, it seems fairly easy to prove that the pdoc violated HIPPA rules.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Of course, thanks I was just stating one facet of HIPPA, there is of course prottection for the patient. I was concentarting on some negative parts, and feelings about HIPPA. My bias, my bad. Thanks for adding more info Brigette.

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Hey Erika,

No problem. When HIPPA first came out, I was kind of against it as well, thinking it was anti-anti-privacy. and then once I started dating my current BF, he showed me the legistation, technical stuff, blah blah boring crap....but enough to where I see how it helps us as the patient, especially in a case like "guest's."

Happy 4th!!!

December

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Not only is it unethical, it is enough to have her licence revoked and you have a legitimate law suit against her. It is actually a very serious breach of confidentiality.  Basically one step above sleeping with a patient.  It would be illegal for her to give the information to a court, unless there was evidence that you were about to commit a major felony.

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Just a note: Even if you're a minor, there are privacy protections that apply to you. For instance, substance abuse. A mental health professional cannot release substance abuse information without a release, even if your parents are paying for your treatment, without your permission or a court order. However, a release is not necessary for continuity of care, mental health emergencies, cases of child/elderly/adults with special needs being abused or neglected, there is a court order, and cases in which a patient is a direct threat (read: stated intent to harm) to someone else. In general, it is a good idea for a mh pro to talk with you before releasing any info, just for ethics amd therapeutic relationship stuff.

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