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Privacy Policy

Protecting your private information is Avalon Psychotherapy Associates, LLC’s (Avalon) top priority. This Statement of Privacy applies to AVALONHEALERS.COM and any of our other websites and all other associated webpages (our “Websites”), and governs data collection and usage by Avalon of your personal information.

For privacy protection, we have outlined the privacy information and practices below and are making this information available via this website. Please read carefully:

Our Websites are meant to provide information, resources, materials, services, and products, including but not limited to: information, documents, forms, services, products, workshops related to mental health as well as life coaching.

In order to use any of our Websites, including our main website, AVALONHEALERS.COM, you do not need to give us any personal information; however, by using any of our Websites, you consent to the data practices described within this Privacy Policy.

Please make careful note that by accessing and/or using any of our Websites as well as submitting any personal information to Avalon via our Websites, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and accept, without limitation or qualification this Privacy Policy.

We reserve the right to change the terms of our Privacy Policy at any time.  Any updates, changes, or additions to our Private Policy will be effective for all personal information as well as all protected health information that we maintain at that time. We will provide you with a copy of the revised Privacy Policy by posting a copy on all of our Websites, or, upon request by you, by sending a copy to you in the mail or providing one to you at your next appointment.

COLLECTION, STORAGE, AND USE of PERSONAL INFORMATION.

We do not collect any personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to us; however, you may be required to provide certain personal information to us when you elect to receive or purchase information and/or updates, special offers, and any resources, products, materials or services available on our Websites.

Under the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), “Personal information” is defined as:

  1. an individual’s first and last name in combination with
  2. their Social Security Number,
  3. Driver’s License Number,
  4. Bank Account or Credit Card or other Financial Information, and/or
  5. an individual’s Taxpayer Identification Number.

Avalon may collect all of the above information in addition to any relevant email addresses, phone numbers, and/or mailing addresses, as well as age and gender (Together, referred going forward as “Personal Information”).

We will store in our databases, any Personal Information you enter on our Websites (including any banking or credit card information) or give us in any other way, including through email, telephone, or other communications.  Any banking or financial information including credit cards, will be stored and used to complete payments and any purchases on our Websites.

Situations where Personal Information may be requested by Avalon on our Websites include but are not limited to:

  1. Registering or accessing an account on one of our Websites;
  2. Signing up for newsletters or other email updates, other electronic or other communications from us;
  3. Signing up for special offers, courses, products, materials, or submitting requests to receive more information about our products, services or special offers;
  4. Sending us an email messages or otherwise contacting us through our Websites;
  5. Submitting your credit card or other payment information when ordering and purchasing offers, courses, products, materials, or other services on our Websites.

To wit, we may use your Personal Information to provide you requested information and/or updates, special offers, and any resources, products, materials or services available on our Websites that you may purchase or otherwise request via our Websites.

Minors Personal Information and Privacy

Avalon is committed to protecting the online privacy of children and we work to comply at a minimum, with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (”COPPA”).  We will not knowingly collect any personally identifiable information from children under the age of sixteen (16) without first obtaining parental or legal guardian’s consent.

Avalon and our Websites are not geared to anyone under the age of sixteen (16) without the guidance and consent of a parent or guardian.

Avalon does not knowingly collect or solicit information from anyone under the age of sixteen (16) or allow anyone under the age of sixteen (16) to sign up to receive any information and/or updates, special offers, and any resources, products, materials or service without the guidance and consent of a parent or guardian.

If you are under the age of sixteen (16) and wish to receive any information and/or updates, or get access to any special offers, resources, products, materials or service you must ask your parent or guardian for permission to access and use our Websites.

Prior to providing any personally identifiable information (your name, email address, address, phone number etc.), children under the age of sixteen (16) must have a parent or legal guardian complete and return (by email or regular mail) a Parental Consent Form (LINK IT) to karen@avalonhealers.com or by mail to the following address:

Avalon Psychotherapy Associates, LLC

c/o Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C

10 Winters Lane

Catonsville, MD 21228

The consent form states that the child’s “Parent” or “Legal Guardian”, by his or her signature, consents to the collection and transfer of the child’s personally identifiable information. Consent may be revoked by completing a “Revocation of Parental Consent Form” and sending it to the email or physical mailing address above.

It is also our intention to adhere to the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) Guidelines on Internet advertising with its special sensitivities regarding solicitations to children under thirteen (13). We encourage parents/guardians to supervise and join their children in exploring cyberspace.

In the event that we learn that we have gathered personal information from anyone under the age of 18 without the consent of a parent or guardian, we will delete that information as soon as possible. If you believe we have collected such information, please contact using the above listed contact information.

Special Categories of Personal Information

Avalon does not collect or process any of the following information, unless required by law, such as in the event of a court case or legal matter:

  1. Political opinions;
  2. Religious or philosophical beliefs;
  3. Trade union memberships;
  4. Genetic or biometric data.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONAL INFORMATION, HOWEVER, MAY BE COLLECTED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI) IF YOU ARE A THERAPY CLIENT OF AVALON:

  1. Race or ethnic origin
  2. Health or mortality
  3. Sex life or sexual orientation

For more information regarding your personal health information and medical record data, please review the information listed below under Collection and Use of Protected Health Information.

COLLECTION AND USE of PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI).

We understand that your medical information is personal and Avalon is committed to its protection. We create a record of the care and services you receive to ensure that we are providing quality care and to comply with all federal and state legal requirements. This Privacy Policy applies to all your medical information that we maintain, whether created by our staff or others.

We are required by law to give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your medical information, to follow the terms of this Privacy Notice, and to notify you following a breach of the privacy or security of your unsecured medical information. In addition to the Personal Information detailed above, this Privacy Policy also covers any personal information about you and your health that Avalon may collect or have in its possession.

Your health record contains information about you and your health.  This is information about you that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services. It is referred to as Protected Health Information (“PHI”).

Please be aware that if you are a therapy client of Avalon, then we may have PHI collected on you, contained in your health record.   Avalon strictly adheres to use and disclosure of your PHI in accordance with applicable Maryland and federal law, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), and regulations promulgated under HIPAA including the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.

We are required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI and to provide you with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI. We are required to abide by the terms of our Privacy Policy.

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PHI.

Your PHI may be used and disclosed by those who are involved in your care for the purpose of providing, coordinating, or managing your health care treatment and related services. This includes consultation with clinical supervisors or other treatment team members.  We may disclose PHI to any other consultant only with your authorization.

We may use and disclose PHI so that we can receive payment for the treatment services provided to you.  This will only be done with your authorization. Examples of payment-related activities are: determining eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, processing claims with your insurance company, reviewing services provided to you to determine medical necessity, or undertaking utilization review activities.  If it becomes necessary to use collection processes due to lack of payment for services, we will only disclose the minimum amount of PHI necessary for purposes of collection.

We may use or disclose, as needed, your PHI in order to support our business activities including, but not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. For example, we may share your PHI with third parties that perform various business activities (e.g., billing or typing services) provided we have a written contract with the business that requires it to safeguard the privacy of your PHI.   For training or teaching purposes PHI will be disclosed only with your authorization.

Under the law, we must disclose your PHI to you upon your request.  In addition, we must make disclosures to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of investigating or determining our compliance with the requirements of the Privacy Rule.

The following are categories of uses and disclosures without an authorization, as permitted by HIPAA and other applicable state and federal law and ethical standards:

  1. For treatment. We may use your medical information so that we and other health care providers may provide you with medical treatment or services. Different health professionals may also share your medical information in order to coordinate the different services you need. We may disclose your medical information to people outside our offices and/or locations who may be involved in your medical care after you leave our care.
  2. Medical Emergencies. We may use or disclose your PHI in a medical emergency situation to medical personnel only in order to prevent serious harm. Our staff will try to provide you a copy of this notice as soon as reasonably practicable after the resolution of the emergency.
  3. For Payment. We may disclose your medical information so that treatment and services you receive may be billed by us to a third party. For example, your health plan may need to know about treatment you received so they will pay us for the services provided. We may also disclose your medical insurance information to obtain prior approval from your health plan.
  4. For Healthcare Operations Purposes. We may use and disclose your medical information for our internal operations, such as business management, and administrative activities, legal and auditing functions, and insurance-related activities. We may use medical information to make sure that all of our patients receive quality care, such as reviewing our processes or to evaluate the performance of those caring for you. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, and other personnel for review and learning purposes. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of information so others may use it to study healthcare and healthcare delivery without learning a specific patient’s identity. Under certain circumstances, we may disclose your medical information for the health care operations of other health care providers.
  5. Health Information Exchange. We may participate in Regional Health Information Organization (“RHIO”) which arranges for the electronic exchange of health information among health care providers in the state where we are located. We may exchange your health information electronically through RHIO for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy. You have the right to request that your information not be included in this exchange.
  6. Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment of Your Care. We may release your medical information to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care, or to someone who helped pay for your care, if the proper legal and ethical guidelines are followed and permit such disclosure.
  7. We may release your medical information to notify a family member, personal representative or another person responsible for your care of your location, general condition, or death. We also may release your medical information for certain disaster relief purposes. This is dependent on the proper legal and ethical guidelines being followed and if they permit such disclosure.
  8. We may contact you to provide appointment reminders, information about treatment alternatives, or other health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
  9. Worker’s Compensation. We may release medical information about you for worker’s compensation or similar programs, which provide benefits for work related injuries or illnesses.
  10. Mental Health Information. State laws create specific requirements for the release of mental health records. We will obtain your specific authorization to release mental medical information when required by these laws. At all times, Avalon will strictly adhere to Maryland and federal laws regarding the use or disclosure of any PHI.
  11. Drug & Alcohol Treatment Records. Specific rules apply to the release of certain drug and alcohol program records, and we will obtain your specific authorization to release those records as required by Federal regulation 42 CFR, Part 2.
  12. Health Oversight. If required, we may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies and organizations that provide financial assistance to the program (such as third-party payors based on your prior consent) and peer review organizations performing utilization and quality control.
  13. Law Enforcement. We may disclose PHI to a law enforcement official as required by law, in compliance with a subpoena (with your written consent), court order, administrative order or similar document, for the purpose of identifying a suspect, material witness or missing person, in connection with the victim of a crime, in connection with a deceased person, in connection with the reporting of a crime in an emergency, or in connection with a crime on the premises.
  14. Specialized Government Functions. We may review requests from U.S. military command authorities if you have served as a member of the armed forces, authorized officials for national security and intelligence reasons and to the Department of State for medical suitability determinations, and disclose your PHI based on your written consent, mandatory disclosure laws and the need to prevent serious harm.
  15. Child Abuse or Neglect. We may disclose your PHI to a state or local agency that is authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect.
  16. Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. We may disclose your PHI pursuant to a subpoena (with your written consent), court order, administrative order or similar process.
  17. Deceased Patients. We may disclose PHI regarding deceased patients as mandated by state law, or to a family member or friend that was involved in your care or payment for care prior to death, based on your prior consent. A release of information regarding deceased patients may be limited to an executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate or the person identified as next-of-kin.  PHI of persons that have been deceased for more than fifty (50) years is not protected under HIPAA.
  18. Public Health. If required, we may use or disclose your PHI for mandatory public health activities to a public health authority authorized by law to collect or receive such information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability, or if directed by a public health authority, to a government agency that is collaborating with that public health authority.
  19. Public Safety. We may disclose your PHI if necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. If information is disclosed to prevent or lessen a serious threat it will be disclosed to a person or persons reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat, including the target of the threat.
  20. We may use or disclose your medical information without your prior authorization for several other reasons. Subject to certain requirements, we may give out your medical information without prior authorization for public health purposes, abuse or neglect reporting, health oversight audits or inspections, research studies, funeral arrangements, Coroner’s investigations, organ donation, and emergencies. We also may disclose medical information when required by law in response to a request from law enforcement in specific circumstances, for specialized government functions including correctional, military or national security purposes, in response to valid judicial or administrative orders or to avoid a serious health threat. Additional specific rules apply to mental health records.
  21. Other Disclosures. Other uses and disclosures not described above will be made only with your written authorization. For example, we require your signed authorization for uses and disclosure that constitute the sale of your medical information and for most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes. Additionally, we will not use or disclose your medical information for marketing purposes unless we have a signed authorization from you. The exception to this is:
    1. If a communication occurs face-to-face;
    2. If a communication consists of marketing gifts of nominal value.

You may revoke your authorization at any time unless we have relied on your authorization or your authorization was required as a condition of obtaining health care services.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

You also have the following rights regarding your PHI:

  1. Right to Inspect and Copy. In most cases you have the right to inspect or receive a copy of your medical information (or have a copy provided to an individual whom you designate) when you submit a written request. If your medical record is maintained electronically in a designated record set, you have the right to request a copy of the information in an electronic form and format. We may charge a reasonable, cost-based fee for copies. If your records are maintained electronically, you may also request an electronic copy of your PHI.  You may also request that a copy of your PHI be provided to another person.

We may deny your request in certain circumstances. Your right to inspect and copy PHI will be restricted only in those situations where there is compelling evidence that access would cause serious harm to you or if the information is contained in separately maintained psychotherapy notes.  If you are denied access to your medical information, you may appeal.

  1. Right to Amend. If you believe the information in your record is incorrect or incomplete, you have the right to request an addendum be added to your record by submitting a written request giving your reason. We may deny your request under certain circumstances. If we deny it, we may advise you in writing of the reason or explain your rights to submit a statement of explanation.
  2. Right to an Accounting of Disclosure. You have the right to a list of those instances where we have disclosed your medical information other than for treatment, payment, healthcare operations, or where a disclosure was specifically authorized., for the Hospital’s directory, to persons involved in your care, and certain other limited situations. To request an accounting of disclosures, you must submit a written request to our Support Department.
  3. Right to a Paper Copy of this Notice. If this notice was sent to you electronically you have a right to a paper copy of this notice. You may request that we send other communications of protected health information by alternative means, or to an alternative location. This request must be made in writing to the person listed below in Section 13. We are required to accommodate only reasonable requests. Please specify in your correspondence exactly how you want us to communicate with you; and if you are directing us to send it to a particular place, the contact/address information.
  4. Right to Request Restrictions. You may request in writing that we not use or disclose your medical information except when specifically authorized by you, when required by law, or in an emergency. Except in the case of certain requests related to disclosures to health plans, we are not required by law to agree to your request, but we will consider the request. We will inform you of our decision.
  5. Right to Request Restrictions on Disclosures to Health Plans. You may request in writing that we restrict disclosures of your medical information to a health plan for purposes of carrying out payment or healthcare operations if the disclosure is not required by law and the medical information pertains solely to a health care item or service for which you (or a person other than the health plan who is acting on your behalf) have paid us out of pocket and in full at the time of service. We must agree to a request that meets these requirements.

If you feel that the PHI we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information although we are not required to agree to the amendment. If we deny your request for amendment, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with us. We may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy. Please contact the Privacy Officer if you have any questions.

To exercise any of these rights, OR if you believe we have violated your privacy rights, you have the right to file a complaint in writing with us.  Please submit your request in writing to our office at:

Avalon Psychotherapy Associates, LLC

c/o Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C

10 Winters Lane

Catonsville, MD 21228

SHARING INFORMATION WITH THIRD PARTIES.

Except as otherwise stated in this Privacy Policy, we do not sell, trade, rent or otherwise share for marketing purposes your Personal Information with third parties unless you expressly provide approval to do so in writing, granting Avalon permission for such use.

In general, the Personal Information you provide to us is used to help us communicate with you. For example, we use Personal Information to contact users in response to questions, solicit feedback from users, provide technical support, and inform users about any updates, special offers, and any resources, products, materials or services that Avalon may offer.

We do share Personal Information with vendors who are performing services for Avalon, such as the servers for our email communications who are provided access to user’s email address for purposes of sending emails from us. Those vendors use your Personal Information only at our direction and in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

We may also at times provide information about you to third parties to provide various services on our behalf, such as providers who process credit card payments. We will only share information about you that is necessary for the third party to provide the requested service. These companies are prohibited from retaining, sharing, buying, selling, storing or using your personally identifiable information for any secondary purposes.

SPECIFIC THIRD-PARTY SERVICERS (NEEDED TO BE COMPLIANT WITH EU GDPR).

Avalon also utilizes the following third-party servicers:

  1. FACEBOOK
  2. MAILERLITE

We may also collect non-personally identifiable information about you, such as your use of our web sites, communication preferences, aggregated data relative to the information and/or updates, special offers, and any resources, products, materials or services that Avalon may offer, including responses to promotional offers and surveys.

We may use or disclose aggregate information only where no individual is identified for a number of purposes, including:

  1. Compiling aggregate statistics of usage for improving the web site;
  2. Developing, maintaining and administering our Websites;
  3. Following up on comments and other messages that you submit to us through our Websites or via other social media; and
  4. Responses to blog comments or comments on any social media sites.

Please note, to better safeguard your information, please do not include any credit card information in your electronic communication to us, unless it is specifically required by us for payment or purchase of any resources, products, materials or services via our Websites.

Our Websites may at times contain links to other third-party sites not affiliated with Avalon. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the content or privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and we encourage you to review the terms and conditions of their website(s) as well as their privacy policies, especially regarding their collection and use of personally identifiable information.

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU REQUIRE MEDICAL INFORMATION FROM AVALON, AND/OR ANY ASPECT OF YOUR PHI, WE REQUEST THAT YOU NOTIFY AVALON IN WRITING VIA OUR MEDICAL RECORDS REQUEST (LINK IT HERE) FORM.

TRANSFER OF DATA ABROAD.

If you are visiting any of our Websites from a country other than the United States, your communications with us may result in the transfer of information across international boundaries. By visiting our Websites and communicating electronically with us, you consent to such transfers.

SECURITY.

All of Avalon’s websites have security measures in place to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of the information under our control. If one of our websites allows you to enter sensitive information (such as a credit card number) on order forms, we encrypt the transmission of that information.

We strive to take appropriate security measures to protect against unauthorized access to or alteration of your personal information. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet or any wireless network can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, you acknowledge that:

  • There are security and privacy limitations inherent to the Internet which are beyond our control;
  • Security, integrity, and privacy of any and all information and data exchanged between you and Avalon through our Websites cannot be guaranteed.

Data Protection

If you have any questions or concerns about protection personal information data by Avalon, and/or regarding our policies or our practices, you may contact Karen Helfrich, owner of Avalon, and who’s information is as follows:

Avalon Psychotherapy Associates, LLC

c/o Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C

10 Winters Lane

Catonsville, MD 21228

User Access Request to your Personal Information Data

You may always review any of the Personal Information retained by Avalon, as well as update or modify it, or to remove it.   You may also always opt out of receiving communications from Avalon at any time.

If you should wish to review, modify or remove any of your Personal Information we have, or, if you wish to change your preferences regarding how we use or disclose your information, please contact us using a User Access Request form, which may be found HERE (Link it).

Once completed, you may submit to Avalon using the following information:

Avalon Psychotherapy Associates, LLC

c/o Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C

10 Winters Lane

Catonsville, MD 21228

 Phone: 410-487-2977

Email: karen@avalonhealers.com

Upon receipt of the User Access Request form, Avalon will compile and give you the requested information within thirty (30) days and provide you a copy of the information we have as well as comply with your request.

You may also request to not to receive any further communications from us via the User Access Request as well.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS AND COOKIES

We may use a tool called “Google Analytics” to collect information about use of this Site, such as how often users visit the Site, what pages they visit when they do so, and what other sites they used prior to coming to this Site. Google Analytics collects only the IP address assigned to you on the date you visit this Site, rather than your name or other identifying information.

Google Analytics plants a permanent cookie on your web browser to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit this Site. This cookie cannot be used by anyone but Google, Inc. The information generated by the cookie will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States.

We use the information received from Google Analytics only to improve services on this Site. We do not combine the information collected through the use of Google Analytics with personally identifiable information.

Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics about your visits to this Site is restricted by the Google Privacy Policy. You can prevent Google Analytics from recognizing you on return visits to this Site by disabling the Google Analytics cookie on your browser.

COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT.

We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials and private parties to enforce and comply with the law.

We will disclose any information about you to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate to respond to claims and legal process (including without limitation subpoenas), to protect our property and rights or the property and rights of a third party, to protect the safety of the public or any person, or to prevent or stop activity we consider to be illegal or unethical. We will also share your information to the extent necessary to comply with ICANN’s rules, regulations and policies.

To the extent we are legally permitted to do so, we will take reasonable steps to notify you in the event that we are required to provide your personal information to third parties as part of legal process.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY.

We reserve the right to modify this Privacy Policy at any time. If we decide to change our Privacy Policy, we will post those changes to this Privacy Policy and any other places we deem appropriate, so that you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it.

If we make material changes to this Policy, we will notify you here under this Privacy Policy and by means of a notice on our Websites.

WHO WILL COMPLY WITH THIS PRIVACY POLICY?    

Any of Avalon’s health care practitioners, including our owner, Karen Helfrich, as well as any and all employees, contractors, interns, volunteers, as well as any other business associates of Avalon will comply with this Policy.

CONTACT INFORMATION.

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this Site or under our Services, your dealings with this Site or our Services please contact us by email or regular mail at the following address:

Avalon Psychotherapy Associates, LLC

c/o Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C

10 Winters Lane

Catonsville, MD 21228

 Phone: 410-487-2977

Email: karen@avalonhealers.com

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 4, 2018

DATE OF LAST POLICY UPDATE: October 4, 2018