At your scheduled appointment you will be meeting with a counselor who will:
- explore your concerns and help identify your needs
- make recommendations about services, resources and activities (e.g. exercise, self-care techniques, evaluation for medication, diagnostic assessment, group counseling, individual therapy)
- provide information about your options for counseling services (both on and off campus)
You will be talking with a licensed mental health professional or a counselor trainee who is supervised according to Ohio law. Supervisors will have knowledge of your counseling sessions and access to your counseling record. You will be given the name of your counselor’s supervisor and have the right to ask for an appointment with that person at any time.
COUNSELING CENTER SERVICES
Services offered in our Center include individual, couples and group counseling, psychoeducational programs, diagnostic assessment, crisis intervention, consultation, referral and follow-up. Our Center typically offers brief individual counseling on a bi-weekly basis (every other week), students who may require more frequent appointments will be evaluated on an individual basis. Most students are able to meet their goals for counseling within that time frame. If you should require services that we do not have the resources to provide (e.g. longer-term or more frequent appointments), we will assist you in connecting with appropriate services in the community. Any fees for counseling obtained elsewhere will be your responsibility. You will need to check with your health insurance provider regarding your coverage of psychiatric and mental health services received outside of Wittenberg University Counseling Services.
Individual and couples counseling sessions end 45 minutes after the scheduled start time. If you are unable to keep a scheduled appointment, please give our staff 24-hour’s notice whenever possible. You may reschedule by calling 937.327.7946.
If you are 15 or more minutes late for your appointment you may be not be seen that day and may be asked to reschedule your appointment by our front desk staff. Students who do not show for their scheduled appointments 3 or more times may have their file closed and may be referred for counseling services within the community.
During regular office hours, one of our counselors may be available for consultation should a crisis arise. Outside of office hours, students in crisis may call the Wittenberg Campus Police 937.327.6263, Mental Health Services of Clark County 937.399.9500, 911 or proceed to Springfield Regional Emergency Room. Students may also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255 or after hours counselors at talkone2one 800.756.3124.
The Tiger Counseling Center and the Wittenberg Health and Wellness Center work collaboratively to provide quality care for students. In order to coordinate your care, we share information with medical staff at the Wittenberg Health and Wellness Center about your attendance in counseling, presenting concerns, and progress. Detailed information about conversations you have with your counselor is not shared without a written release.
Information that you reveal, whether oral or written, will not be discussed with anyone else outside the Center’s professional staff without your written consent. However, some circumstances constitute exceptions to confidentiality and may result in release of limited information to appropriate individuals. These circumstances include: potential harm to self or others (e.g. suicide, homicide, or other life threatening behaviors), suspected child, elder, or persons with disabilities abuse/neglect, and instances in which a court may subpoena our records (e.g., contested divorce actions). The Counseling Center maintains records electronically and stores them on a secure server. Access to our records system is password protected and limited to the staffs of the Counseling Center. Information from your records might be included in service evaluation or descriptive research. If so, at no time will your identity be disclosed nor will the information be associated with you individually (i.e., information from your records would only be included in the tabulation of group scores, ratings, etc.).
Certain intake paperwork is kept as a paper record that are stored within a locked cabinet in a locked room. Access to our records system is limited to the staffs of the Counseling Center.
CONSENT TO USE E-MAIL FOR SCHEDULING
Since the confidentiality of e-mail correspondence cannot be guaranteed, we use this form of communication only if you agree to it when you complete the Wittenberg Counseling Services Intake Form. Although we will typically contact you by phone, if you agree to e-mail communication, we will be able to contact you via e-mail to schedule appointments.
Wittenberg Tiger Counseling Center operates as a training site for master’s level students completing degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. According to the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & Marriage and Family Board, supervision is required of professional counselors who are engaging in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Professional counselors are also required to disclose to their clients in writing that they are engaging in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders under the supervision of an appropriately licensed mental health professional as well as the name and contact information for the supervisor in writing to each client.
In order to insure the highest standard of care, supervisors meet with the supervised therapists weekly and review the progress of your work with your therapist. Therefore, supervisors will have knowledge of your counseling sessions and access to your counseling file. You have a right to ask for an appointment with your counselor’s supervisor at any time. To request an appointment with the supervisor please contact our office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8AM and 5PM at 937-327-7946.
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Wittenberg University Student Counseling Services
The Counseling Center is required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information (PHI) and to provide individuals with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices with respect to such information. Clients who have questions or require additional information may direct their inquiries to Amanda Jones (Director of the Counseling Center). Clients who believe their rights have been violated can submit complaints on the “Form for Reporting a Privacy Rights Infraction” which is available upon request. These complaints will be reviewed by the Director of the Counseling Center. Clients whose complaints have not been resolved to their satisfaction can address complaints to the Secretary of the United States Dept. of Health and Human Services. The Counseling Center will not retaliate against any individual for filing a complaint.
A copy of this notice is given to all clients, and we request that they sign an acknowledgement form. Additional copies of this notice are available upon request.
Personal health-related information that could identify an individual client is considered Protected Health Information (PHI).
Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations (TPO) are activities related to the provision of health care, the collection of payment from the client or a third party, and the implementation of health care operations.
Health Care Operations encompass functions such as quality improvement, peer review, accreditation, licensing, business planning, contracting with business associates, auditing and general administration.
The Minimum Necessary information is the least amount of PHI that is required to achieve the desired purpose.
Access and Disclosure:
Protected health information (PHI) may be used and disclosed for purposes related to the provision of your health care (TPO). PHI may be disclosed in certain other situations, as described below, relating to public health and safety or to court proceedings. The Counseling Center may also use PHI to contact clients who have missed appointments, to reschedule appointments, or to advise clients of issues or options that have arisen in relation to their treatment.
The following people or entities will have access to PHI:
- The client. (We require that a member of our staff be present if a client requests to review his/her clinical record.)
- Any person to whom the client has provided written authorization for the release of information.
- Parents or legal guardians of a minor. (NOTE: In accordance with state law, minors are allowed to be seen for six sessions or 30 days [whichever comes first] without consent of parents or legal guardians; any records generated during this period of time are not available to the parents or guardians unless the client provides written permission).
- Public health services, regulatory officials, and law enforcement agencies, when required by law. (Staff members are legally required to report the abuse of certain populations [e.g., children, elderly adults, and individuals with intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities]; staff members are also mandated to disclose information to avert a serious and imminent threat to any person’s health or safety).
- Courts. When we receive a court order or a request for information pertaining to legal proceedings, we consult University General Counsel to assure that all legal conditions are satisfied. We also attempt to inform the client prior to responding.
- Officially-designated business associates (such as accreditation reviewers, providers of bonded disposal services, and technology staff) may have limited access but must sign confidentiality agreements forbidding them from disseminating PHI.
- Counseling Center and the Wittenberg Health and Wellness Center staff (with appropriate authorization) will have access to PHI for purposes of TPO. Examples of staff members needing access for such purposes include the following: The staff member providing counseling, the clinical supervisor, those providing emergency services, medical care providers that may be involved in your care, and reception staff (who have very limited access).
When disclosure of PHI is warranted, the Counseling Center staff strives to reveal the least amount of client information that is necessary to achieve the desired purpose.
Before we use or disclose PHI for purposes not related to TPO, and not required by law, we must obtain written client authorization, signed and dated. The authorization must contain a description of the information to be used or disclosed, the name of the recipient of the PHI, an expiration date, and a description of the purpose of the use or disclosure. The client can revoke the authorization at any time. Upon providing PHI to an authorized party, the Counseling Center has no ability to monitor or control the manner in which that party protects the released information. Center policy prohibits the re-disclosure of information received from a third party without written consent from the client.
- Clients have a right to see and to obtain a copy of their PHI.* We require that a member of our staff be present when the client inspects the original clinical record. (NOTE: There may be a charge for photocopying records).
- Clients have a right to request limitations to the routine use of PHI for TPO.* If we agree to any limitation, we must abide by that agreement except in emergencies.
- Clients have a right to request amendments to their PHI.* If we deny the request, we must provide an explanation and we must also allow the client to provide a statement of disagreement that will be added to the clinical record. Changes resulting from an amendment to a record do not expunge any prior information or part of the record; the amended information is instead added to the existing record.
- Clients have a right to request that they receive information from us by alternative means or at alternative locations.* We must accommodate any reasonable request.
- Clients have the right to see a list (i.e., “disclosure log”) of people to whom PHI has been disclosed within the past six years. This list may include disclosures such as legally-mandated reports of child abuse. The list does not include disclosures related to TPO, disclosures to the client, and disclosures pursuant to an authorization. We must also suspend the right of clients to receive an accounting of disclosures to law enforcement officials if the official provides a written statement as required.
* Such requests are to be made in writing.
Privacy measures are designed to protect the confidentiality of PHI. All Counseling Center staff will observe the following rules:
- Staff will exert due diligence to avoid being overheard when discussing PHI.
- All records will be kept secured. When the Counseling Center is open, exposed client records are not left unattended in unlocked offices. Clients and others who are not part of the Counseling Center staff are prohibited access to client appointment schedules. When the Counseling Center is closed, its records are locked. Staff members are generally prohibited from taking any written PHI out of the Center.
- Staff members in the Counseling Center will exercise caution when using their computers to generate confidential documents. Information containing PHI is not saved to the hard-drive of the Counseling Center’s computers. Instead, necessary PHI is retained on a secure server or within paper documents that are locked and secured in the Center.
- Staff members will fax PHI only to secure locations and only after obtaining proper authorization.
- Staff members avoid or minimize any e-mail communications with clients regarding confidential matters, although, with client permission, appointments may be scheduled via email. (Clients are informed that e-mail is not a secure means of communication.)
- Counseling Center and Wittenberg Health and Wellness Center staff not already obligated to maintain confidentiality by a particular licensing board are required to sign a Center “confidentiality agreement.”
- Former employees do not have keys to the office and are not permitted access to client records.
- Any Business Associates who must have access to PHI will be required to sign an agreement that they will hold confidential and private all PHI. Business Associates who do not honor their agreement will be subject to termination of their relationship with the Counseling Center.
If you have any concerns about our procedures, records, supervision, confidentiality, or professional qualifications, please make them known to your counselor at any time.