Under no circumstances is the business or counseling affairs of a survivor or the agency to be discussed with any outside party, nor should they even be discussed on the job unless it is necessary for the safety and support of the survivor. Even such an innocent statement as “I saw Mrs. Smith in the office today” is to be avoided. ANY violation makes an employee subject to the discipline policy which may include immediate dismissal.
Staff will ensure confidentiality and privacy in regard to history, records and discussions about the people we serve. Disclosure can be made only under specified conditions, which are described below, for reasons relating to law enforcement, and fulfillment of our mission. This means that staff shall not disclose any information about a person, including the fact that the person is or is not served by Project Woman; to anyone outside our agency unless authorized by the Executive Director or designee. The principle of confidentiality must be maintained in all programs, departments, functions and activities. Staff will adhere to all standards and regulations related to confidentiality including those outlined under the Violence Against Women Act, HIPPA, and other governing statutes as determined necessary.
- No information requested by someone outside Project Woman will be given over the telephone. Staff is instructed to respond with the statement: “Our policy does not permit me to give out client information over the telephone or without a release of information form completed and signed by the client.”
- Release-of-information forms will be explained and completed in the presence of the person about whom any information may be released, before it is released.
- No information about individuals or records will be released to state, federal or other agencies that enable the identification of any person by name, address, social security number or other coding procedures unless otherwise required by legal action i.e. subpoena.
- If records are inspected by an outside agency, the individual(s) who inspect the records must be specifically authorized to do so in writing. Taking notes, copying records or removal of records is specifically prohibited in such cases.
- All staff members are required to sign a confidentiality acknowledgment stating their responsibility with regard to client information.