June 28, 2017

Office Policies

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

~ Edmund Hillary


Psychologist NH - Therapy PracticeA complete description of all policies and procedures, including services, fees/insurance, etc., is available on PDF files in the Treatment Contract and Forms Page.

Contacting Me

Office Hours: I have office hours at my Lebanon, New Hampshire office on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Friday afternoons. While my regular hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, I can see clients as early as 7:00 am, and as late as 7:00 pm, but only by appointment. If you need to reach me between appointments then please call me at 603-448-3588. You may also use my e-mail and my address is Karen@Psychologist-NH.com.

Telephone: Because of the nature of my professional demands, and because telephone calls are picked up by an electronic answering machine rather than an answering service, I can promise only to make every effort to return your call within 48-72 hours (2-3 days) of the day you make it, with the exception of weekends, holidays, and vacations.

Email: While I am the only person with access to the email address above, I cannot vouch for the security, privacy, or confidentiality of electronic transmissions in general. Furthermore, I cannot guarantee that I will read and/or respond to your email before 48-72 hours of when I receive it. Therefore, I strongly suggest that you use email only for the most general administrative issues and that you certainly not use it to cancel/reschedule appointments or to address therapy/crisis issues between sessions.

Crisis Management: If you are unable to reach me immediately or directly or if I am unavailable for an extended period of time and you experience a psychological emergency, do not, under any circumstances, wait for me to return your call/email. In an emergency situation (one involving life threat or harm to self or others or in which you cannot wait for at least 48-72 hours to speak with me), you are to contact your hospital emergency room (e.g., nearest or one covered by your insurance company) and ask for the psychiatrist on call.

Appointment Cancellation Policy

In everyone’s life, at some point or another, things come up and plans go awry. In the event that you need to cancel an appointment, I request that you provide at least twenty four (24) hours’ advance notice.  If you don’t provide sufficient notice, you will be charged the full session fee. Note: This policy is relaxed during the winter months, when weather can make driving hazardous.

Limits on Confidentiality

The law protects the privacy of all communications between a client and a psychologist. In most situations, I can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written authorization.

There are other situations where I am permitted or required to disclose information without either your consent or authorization, for example, if I am presented with a court order, if a government agency is requesting the information for health oversight activities, or if a client files a complaint or lawsuit against me.

If I believe that a client presents an imminent danger to his/her health or safety, I am legally and ethically obligated to intervene appropriately to provide for the client’s protection. In such cases, where interventions may include dispatching police and/or emergency rescue services, seeking hospitalization, or contacting family members or others who can help, I will make every effort to let you know what I need to do, but will act without your express permission if I have to.

There are also similar situations in which I am legally obligated to take actions which I believe are necessary to attempt to protect others from harm, and I may have to reveal some information about a client’s treatment. These situations are unusual in my practice.

If I have cause to suspect that a child under 18 is abused or neglected, or if I have reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult is in need of protective services, I will file all necessary reports with the appropriate state agencies, as per my ethical and legal mandates in the State of New Hampshire. Once such a report is filed, I may be required to provide additional information.

If I believe that a patient presents an imminent danger to the health and safety of another, I may be required to disclose information in order to take protective actions, including initiating hospitalization, warning the potential victim, if identifiable, and/or calling the police.

If any of the above situations arise, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action and I will limit my disclosure to what is necessary.

Professional Records

The laws and standards of my profession require that I keep Protected Health Information (PHI) about you in a Clinical Record. My Clinical Records are primarily stored in a laptop computer that is protected in a manner that is in keeping with the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. While I have exercised due diligence in protecting the confidentiality of my PHI/Clinical Records both on the laptop computer and paper records stored in my office, I cannot provide a complete guarantee against an unanticipated event (i.e., accident, theft).  Given computer safeguards, I do not believe my clients’ PHI will be at any greater risk than if a paper copy of the information was stored in a file cabinet in my office.

Except in unusual circumstances that involve danger to self and/or others, or the record makes reference to another person and I believe that access is reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to such other person, clients may examine and/or receive a copy of their Clinical Record, if requested it in writing.

Patient Rights

HIPAA provides clients with several new or expanded rights with regard to Clinical Records and disclosures of PHI. These rights include requesting record amendments, requesting restrictions on disclosed information, requesting an accounting of most disclosures, and the right to a paper copies of my treatment forms. I am happy to discuss any of these rights with you.

Minors and Parents

Although I primarily work with adults, if you are under 18 years of age and/or are not emancipated, please be aware that the law may provide your parents/guardians the right to examine your treatment records. Because privacy in psychotherapy is often crucial to successful progress, particularly with teenagers, it is my policy to request an agreement from parents that they consent to give up their access to your records. If they agree, during treatment I will provide them only with general information about our work together, including progress in treatment and attendance at scheduled sessions.  Any other communication will require your authorization, unless I feel that you are in danger or a danger to someone else, in which case I will notify your parents of my concern. Before giving them any information, I will discuss the matter with you, if possible, and do my best to handle any objections you may have with what I am prepared to discuss.