Information for Clients
What you should know before entering treatment
Saratoga Center for the Family (SCFF) is a private, not-for-profit agency serving Saratoga County and surrounding communities. SCFF is committed to strengthening, empowering and improving the emotional wellbeing of children, families and the community, and to reduce the incidence and effects of child abuse and neglect.
Individual/Family Counseling: Counseling at Saratoga Center for the Family includes meeting with a therapist at predetermined intervals of time (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly). Therapy can cover a range of topics depending on the purpose for seeking treatment. There are no physical risks associated with therapy, although in the beginning an increase in emotional distress can occur as issues and topics are being brought up. Please speak to your therapist if you have any concerns. Therapists at Saratoga Center for the Family are professionals holding masters or doctoral degrees in social work, mental health counseling or psychology. The Center also sometimes acts as a training site for interns who are pursuing licensure in their field. All interns are supervised by licensed staff. All therapists employed by Saratoga Center for the Family are under supervision of a licensed professional. For LMSWs, the supervisor (LCSWR) is responsible for the diagnosis and practice of the LMSW. For LMHC therapists, the supervisor (LCSWR) is responsible for the final diagnosis of each client.
Custody: The therapists at SCFF are not trained in custody evaluation nor do they provide supervised visitation between family members. You must seek outside providers for these services. If called to appear in court, we will not speak to custody issues.
Court Appearances: SCFF staff will only appear in court for testimony if a judicial subpoena is served.
Recording of Psychotherapy Sessions: Recording audio or visual images during psychotherapy sessions is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from both parties. While occasional audio or visual recording of some segments of psychotherapy sessions may be beneficial to enhance therapeutic outcomes or for training purposes, without proper consent from both parties, it is a violation of confidentiality. Any violation of confidentiality may be grounds for action up to and including discharge from counseling services.
Modes of Communication and Correspondence with client(s), families and third party entities: Email, fax and intermediary phone text messaging services have become commonly used in the course of business during the global pandemic of 2020-21. These are not necessarily private or confidential means of communication, correspondence, nor are they all fully HIPAA compliant (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Public Law 104-191). Please be advised if you correspond with the staff at SCFF or allow by consent SCFF employees to communicate/correspond with you or third parties, there are risks involved. If you chose to use one of the above modes, then you, as the client, are assuming the risk, though slight, that identifying information communicated could be read accidently, or otherwise inadvertently intercepted by a third party. While SCFF puts safeguards in place to ensure your privacy and to avoid such an interception, nothing is 100% foolproof. It is not illegal to correspond with clients via non-encrypted modes as a consumer of services from SCFF, however you are being informed of the assumed risks of communicating/corresponding using these modes. By signing this document, you attest that you understand the risks involved and are consenting to communicating and/or corresponding with SCFF employees and third party entities via email, fax and intermediary phone text messaging services if you so choose.
Record Requests: You have the right to request your medical and billing records. A release of information form is available at the main office reception desk and is required to be signed to begin the process of requesting records for you or your child. Although every effort will be made to accommodate your request in a timely manner, SCFF has 60 days to fulfill your request. The fee for the preparation of records is .75 per page. Once your records are prepared, you will be advised as to the final cost of the records request. Records can be picked up at the reception desk during the Center’s posted business hours. Payment for the records is expected at the time of pick up, before the records are released.
- No-show and Late Cancellation Policy: The staff at SCFF strives to provide the best services possible. Therefore, your appointment time is reserved especially for you. If you have to cancel your appointment, call the center at 518-587-8008 no less than 24 hours before your appointment. If you miss two appointments without notifying us, we will discharge you as a client. Additionally, if you have 3 same day cancellations, SCFF may choose to discharge you from treatment. Should you be discharged due to no-shows or cancellations, you will be placed on SCFFs waitlist and be required to undergo the intake process again should you choose to return to SCFF for services in the future.
- A client may be discharged if he/she exhibits physical violence, verbal abuse, carries weapons, or engages in illegal acts at SCFF.
- A client may be discharged if he/she refuses to comply with stipulated program rules, refuses to comply with treatment recommendations, or does not make payment or payment arrangements in a timely manner.
- Clients will be notified of non-voluntary discharges by letter. The client may appeal this decision with the Clinical Director or request to reapply for services at a later date.
- A client may end services at any time. Clients are strongly encouraged to discuss this decision with their therapist.
Your Rights as a Client:
- Releases of Information: You have the right to cancel a release of information by providing us a written notice. If you desire to have your information sent to a location different than our address on file, you must provide this information in writing.
- Suggestions: You are invited to suggest changes in any aspect of the services we provide.
- Civil rights: Your civil rights are protected by federal and state laws.
- Cultural/spiritual/gender issues: You may request services from someone with training or experiences from a specific cultural, spiritual, or gender orientation. If these services are not available, we will help you in the referral process.
- Treatment: You have the right to take part in formulating your treatment plan.
- Denial of services: You may refuse services offered to you and be informed of any potential consequences. Refer to Consent to Treatment for more information.
- Medical/legal advice: We encourage you to discuss your treatment with your doctor or attorney.
- Disclosures: You have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of your protected health information that you have not authorized. Request this in writing.
- Crisis Services: SCFF does not provide crisis services. If someone is at risk for serious harm: CALL 911 OR GO OTHE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text CONNECT to 741741 for help 24 hours/7 days a week.
- After Hours Contact: SCFF does not provide emergency after hours contact. For non-urgent matters, you may leave after hours voice mail messages for your therapist by calling the main number at 518-587-8008 and following the menu.
Your Rights to Receive Information:
- Termination of services: You will be informed as to what behaviors or violations could lead to discontinuation of services.
- Confidentiality: You will be informed of the limits of confidentiality and how your protected health information will be used.
- Policy changes: We will do our best to immediately inform you of policy changes that may affect you.
Our Ethical Obligations:
- We dedicate ourselves to serving the best interest of each client.
- We are committed to providing care in a manner that supports and protects the personal dignity of each client.
- We are committed to providing care that reflects ‘best practices’ and evidence-based treatments.
- We will not discriminate against clients or professionals based on age, race, creed, disabilities, handicaps, preferences, or other personal concerns.
- We maintain an objective and professional relationship with each client.
- We respect the rights and views of other mental health professionals.
- We will appropriately end services or refer clients to other programs if deemed necessary.
- We will evaluate our personal limitations, strengths, biases, and effectiveness on an ongoing basis for the purpose of self-improvement. We will continually attain further education and training.
- We respect various institutional and managerial policies but will help to improve such policies if the best interest of the client is served.
- We will provide ongoing discussions with you about how and with whom your information is shared.
- You are responsible for your financial obligations to SCFF as outlined in the document entitled Fees.
- You are responsible for following the policies of SCFF.
- You are responsible for treating staff and fellow patients in a respectful, cordial manner in which their rights are respected and not violated.
- You are responsible to provide accurate information about yourself.
What to do if you believe your rights have been violated:
Express your concerns with your therapist.
- If discussion with your therapist does not resolve the problem, please contact:
Clinical Director (Center and Community Services), Wende Tedesco LCSWR
518-587-8008 ext. 313
Clinical Director (School Based Services), Megan Heeder Megan LMHC
518-587-8008 ext. 302
- If discussion with one of the SCFF’s Clinical Directors does not resolve the issue, you may contact:
Executive Director, Rebecca Baldwin, MSW
518-587-8008, ext. 303
- If your concern is not adequately handled via these avenues, please direct your concerns to the following agency:
NYS Office of Mental Health Commission on Quality of Care
99 Washington Avenue, Suite 1002, Albany, NY 12210
General Phone: 518-473-4090 or 1-800-624-4143
Customer Relations Service: 1-800-597-8481 or En Espanol: 1-800-210-6456
TDD (for those who are deaf/hearing impaired): 1-800-597-9810
NYS Office of Victim Services
The NYS Office of Victims Services process for registering complaints against an entity such as SCFF who receive U.S. Department of Justice federal grant funds from OVS states the following for redress of grievances: Any person who has reason to believe that they have been unlawfully discriminated against or experienced discriminatory harassment based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, marital status, disability, or genetic information by the sub-recipients of federal funds may contact the Office of Victim Services by going to the link below:
ALLEGATION OF DISCRIMINATION
IMPORTANT NOTICE – PLEASE READ
Filing a complaint with the New York State Office of Victim Services is voluntary. OVS is not your attorney or advocate. OVS may or may not forward this complaint to U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) or other agencies for investigation. OVS does not take responsibility for your notifying your employer of a discrimination or retaliation claim, nor for filing this complaint with the appropriate agency or court, within the appropriate time periods for doing so.
To: New York State Office of Victim Services
Attn: Sandra van Kampen
80 South Swan St, Suite 1035
Albany, New York, 12210
By clicking the Read and Agree button, I certify that I have read the outlined in the Information for Clients. Any questions concerning these policies have been discussed. This also certifies my understanding of, and agreement with, the policies outlined in the Information for Clients.