In Dr. Nathan’s practice, patient privacy is of paramount importance. While there is no shame in seeking psychiatric treatment, patients often require that no one knows they are seeking help. Dr. Nathan practices with a level of discretion that is beyond what is required by law. Dr. Nathan’s medical records are stored securely and carry the legal protection of the doctor-patient privilege. With a few specific exceptions (discussed below), the only way that third parties will ever know that someone is seeing Dr. Nathan is if the information comes from the patient himself or herself.
Dr. Nathan will not release patient information to third parties, nor even confirm or deny that an individual is seeing him, unless at least one of the following conditions is met:
- The patient has given permission to release information to an individual or organization.
- The patient has submitted a claim to an insurance company and the company needs information to supplement the claim.
- The patient needs Dr. Nathan to communicate with other treaters about him or her.
- The patient has failed to pay for services, in which case Dr. Nathan may engage an outside agency to collect the payment.
- The patient is a danger to self or others.
- Dr. Nathan suspects that a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person is being abused.
- A court order is issued requiring Dr. Nathan to turn over records.
Except for the first three instances, which involve the patient’s implied or explicit consent, these situations rarely arise in Dr. Nathan’s practice, and he would try to discuss any such issue with the patient before contacting a third party.