INFORMATION FOR NEW CLIENTS — CLINICIAN SERVICES
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc., funded by a portion of the annual bar registration fee, is an independent, private, non-profit corporation, whose purpose is to help attorneys, law students, judges, family members and associates with a variety of problems affecting their career functioning. LCL’s staff clinicians are licensed mental health/addiction professionals.
LCL clinicians provide the following confidential services:
- Assessment and recommendations/referral
- Support/Discussion groups
- Educational outreach
- Monitored probation with client consent
The above services are confidential, but do not constitute a treatment relationship with you. We do not provide ongoing therapy or crisis/emergency services. If you have, as yet, no ongoing mental health provider and are in crisis, you can reach out to your primary care provider or, in urgent circumstances, should call 911 or go to an emergency room.
There is no fee for our services. We may refer you to any of a variety of resources, many of which do charge fees and/or bill health insurance coverage. Although we do not meet criteria requiring compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we take confidentiality and privacy very seriously and set forth detailed information about our policies and procedures below.
In keeping with professional standards, LCL clinicians keep clinical records of our assessments and ongoing clinical work. Via written request, you may examine and/or receive a copy of your records unless we believe that reading them would affect you adversely, in which case we could provide you with a summary or have your records sent to another mental health provider of your choice or your attorney. You may submit any of the following kinds of requests: amendment to your record; restriction on what information is included in any disclosure that you have authorized; accounting of information disclosed without consent/authorization (see further information below); determination of destinations to which information has been sent; notation in records of any complaints you may have about our policies or procedures; and any documented information about our privacy policies.
The information in your record may be used for purposes of follow-up contact (though you may opt out) or for reviews/studies of clinical or administrative data as part of our process of improving services or sharing our experience with other programs. Any such use of information would be presented in aggregate form with no indication of a client’s identity.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY
The law protects the privacy of communications between mental health professionals and their clients. In most situations, we can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written (revocable) authorization form that meets certain criteria. LCL’s support groups allow participants to share their experiences with confidence that other participants are required by the Rules of Professional Conduct to keep them confidential, and that Rule 8.3 (the mandatory reporting requirement) does not require them to report misconduct disclosed in an LCL support group meeting. There are other situations where disclosure does not require specific written consent. Your signature of having read and agreed to this statement provides consent for those activities as follows:
- Occasional case consultations with other health professionals. We may share clinical information with other LCL staff (clinicians, director, office manager, LOMAP). In both cases, those with whom we may share information are equally bound to keep it confidential.
- Disclosures necessary for making clinical referrals.
- If you choose to include others in sessions here (e.g., family members or associates), the confidentiality becomes modified accordingly.
- We may use information in your record to contact you (e.g., for follow-up, or to offer further services, unless you opt out), or for purposes of program evaluation or other study of clinical or administrative data (from which any reports would not disclose a client’s identity).
There are situations that require or permit disclosure without your consent or authorization, including court orders; health oversight purposes; in the context of a lawsuit between you and LCL; reporting abuse of children, elderly, or disabled; responding to mandated governmental investigations, (e.g., DCF); threat of physical harm to self or others; or worker’s compensation claims. Should such an occasion arise, we would if feasible and clinically appropriate, discuss it with you before taking action, and would not disclose any more information than necessary. While we have attempted here to offer a (non-exhaustive) summary of exceptions to confidentiality, the relevant laws can be complex, and other exceptions may arise. For further consumer information on health care privacy, a useful web site is: www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.
If you think that we may have violated your privacy rights or have other complaints, we encourage you to write to the Executive Director, LCL, 31 Milk Street, Boston, MA 02109. Beyond that, you may also lodge any complaints with the LCL President (name and address of current president can be obtained from LCL). If there is a need to escalate a complaint outside of LCL and its board, complaints about a clinical professional who is an LCL employee can also be made to the board of registration pertaining to that clinician’s profession.