Privacy and Release of Information

First, a few definitions:

Protected Health Information (PHI) :  any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to a specific individual. PHI is kept in a locked filing cabinet in a locked office in a locked building.

Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) : PHI stored in electronic format, such as computerized medical records, prescriptions, and lab tests. ePHI may be stored on encrypted practice computers and within the Electronic Medical Record (EMR).

Your ePHI is kept on secure systems and paper PHI is locked up. Your PHI/ePHI is only released with your written permission, with a few legal exceptions:

  • Consent—A clinician may release confidential information with the written consent of the patient or a legally authorized surrogate decision maker, such as a parent, guardian, or other surrogate designated by an advance medical directive.
  • Court Order—A clinician may be compelled to release confidential information upon the receipt of an order by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Note: Unless issued by a judge, a subpoena is not the equivalent of a court order.) This sometimes comes up during child custody hearings, for example.
  • Continued Treatment—A clinician may release confidential information necessary for the continued treatment of a patient. This allows me to discuss your care with other providers taking care of you, but intimate details are never shared.
  • Comply with the Law—A clinician may reveal confidential information in order to comply with mandatory reporting statutes (e.g., child abuse), business operations (like filing insurance claims for the patient), and other such lawful purposes.
  • Communicate a Threat—This is the “Tarasoff” exception to confidentiality involves the clinician’s duty to protect others from imminent violence by a patient. It also allows breach of confidentiality if needed to protect the patient from self-harm.

This release of information form is required to release any medical records, reports, or any other protected health information.

Questions about Privacy? Send me your inquiry using the form below :


Texas Medical Board Notices

The Texas Medical Board requires the following notices:

Medical practice sites must provide patients with a clear mechanism to:

1.access, supplement, and amend patient-provided personal health information;

2.provide feedback regarding the site and the quality of information and services;

3.register complaints, including information regarding filing a complaint with the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners as provided for in Chapter 178 of this title (relating to Complaints)