Pathways, MI recognizes its fundamental obligation to provide its consumers with confidentiality and privacy. It is the ethical responsibility of all staff members, volunteers, and contractors to protect the rights of consumers to promote privacy, honesty and mutual respect.
Consumers Rights and Responsibilities are clearly outlined in two publications and are provided to consumers at the beginning of service, or if the consumer is disoriented or suffering from impaired cognition at first contact, then these notices will be provided again at the appropriate time.
"Know Your Rights" published by the Michigan Department of Community Health
Pathways, MI Notice of Privacy Practices
In compliance with contractual, licensing, and accreditation requirements, consumer records may be reviewed by professional representatives of those entities. Such representatives will be provided private work space and will be asked to sign the Pathways, MI Confidentiality statement.
Prior to releasing confidential information, Pathways, MI determines if the request is justifiable, legitimate, convincing, legally permissible and in the best interest of the person or family served.
The philosophy of "informed consent" governs the release of information contained in consumer records to any other party. Information will be shared only with specific, written permission of the consumer, or in the case of minors, or children and adults with legal guardians, the parent or legal guardian.
A copy of the Release of Information (varies by department) is given to the client and placed in the clients file. Approval may be withdrawn at any time.
Release of information without the client's permission will only occur if:
- Neglect, abuse or exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult is suspected or known to exist in which Pathways, MI staff is legally required to report to protective services.
- It is believed that either the client or another person is in danger and in that case, the appropriate law enforcement department will be informed.
- On order of a judge or court referee, and then, only after an assertion that the information is regarded as confidential by Michigan certification guidelines. Michigan Child Protection Law, Act No. 238, Public Acts of 1975 as amended, being sections 722.621---722.636, Michigan Complied Laws and Social Welfare, Act 280 of 1939, MCL. 00400.0011, as amended, being sections 400.11---400.11.f.
Pathways, MI provides clients the opportunity to communicate with their staff providers, other health care providers, and administrative services by email. Transmitting confidential client information by email, however, has a number of risks, both general and specific, that clients should consider before using email.
A copy of the signed Email Correspondence Form must be received by Pathways, MI and included with your file prior to communicating via email regarding your confidential case.
USE OF INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Consumers who agree to assist Pathways, MI with photographs, interviews in the press or television, news articles or public speaking must give written acknowledgment and consent, using the Permission for Publication, Photograph, or Presentation Form. Consumers must be informed about what and how their information will be used. Clients who decline a request to participate do so without any penalty.
CONSUMER RECORD ACCESS
Consumers may access their own records with permission from the Executive Director or his/her designee. A minor may access her/his record only if accompanied by the parent or legal guardian, who must also sign all the requests.
The Executive Director or designee will review the record prior to the client's viewing and will withhold information only if in her/his judgment an extreme circumstance exists and the information may be seriously harmful to the consumer. Objective criteria must be used in making this decision. In that event, the Executive Director or designee will inform the client of the decision and will place in the case record, in writing, the reasons for refusal. When this extreme circumstance exists, a qualified professional may review the records on behalf of a consumer, provided the professional signs a statement that information determined to be harmful will be withheld.
If a client disagrees or objects to information in his/her record, the client and the attending staff member may agree to remove or correct that information. If an agreement cannot be reached, the client may submit a written statement explaining her/his position; the statement will become a permanent part of the clients record.
Procedures for access to records:
- All requests to view records must be in writing.
- Appointment to review records must be made in advance.
- Records will be reviewed and noted in the record by the Executive Director (or designee) prior to the client's review.
- A member of the staff must be present for the client review of his/her records.
- A log of requests for access to client records will be maintained by the Executive Director and will include: (a) date of the request, (b) date and time of the appointment, (c) name and role of the person making the request, (d) rationale for withholding information, (e) description of the client's review of record, (f) signature of the staff attending the review
Records will be retained or destroyed as required by law or contract. All records to be destroyed will be shredded and precautions will be taken to safeguard confidentiality.