NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
This Notice describes how health information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.
The privacy of your health information is important to us and has been followed even without the notice. Recently the final omnibus rule was enacted to greatly enhance a patient’s privacy protections, providing individuals new rights to their health information, and strengthens the government’s ability to enforce the law.
This Notice describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to provide treatment, obtain payment and conduct health care operations and for other purposes permitted or required by law. It also describes your rights concerning your protected health information. “Protected health information” is information about you, including demographic information that may identify you and relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services.
We are required by law to follow the practices described in this Notice. We may change the terms of this Notice at any time. The new Notice will be effective for all protected health information we maintain at that time including health information we created or received before we made the changes.
Providing the Notice.
•A covered entity must make its notice available to any person who asks for it.
•A covered entity must prominently post and make available its notice on any web site it maintains that provides information about its customer services or benefits.
•Health Plans must also:
•Provide the notice to individuals then covered by the plan no later than April 14, 2003 (April 14, 2004, for small health plans) and to new enrollees at the time of enrollment.
•Provide a revised notice to individuals then covered by the plan within 60 days of a material revision.
•Notify individuals then covered by the plan of the availability of and how to obtain the notice at least once every three years.
•Covered Direct Treatment Providers must also:
•Provide the notice to the individual no later than the date of first service delivery (after the April 14, 2003 compliance date of the Privacy Rule) and, except in an emergency treatment situation, make a good faith effort to obtain the individual’s written acknowledgment of receipt of the notice. If an acknowledgment cannot be obtained, the provider must document his or her efforts to obtain the acknowledgment and the reason why it was not obtained.
•When first service delivery to an individual is provided over the Internet, through e-mail, or otherwise electronically, the provider must send an electronic notice automatically and contemporaneously in response to the individual’s first request for service. The provider must make a good faith effort to obtain a return receipt or other transmission from the individual in response to receiving the notice.
•In an emergency treatment situation, provide the notice as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so after the emergency situation has ended. In these situations, providers are not required to make a good faith effort to obtain a written acknowledgment from individuals.
•Make the latest notice (i.e., the one that reflects any changes in privacy policies) available at the provider’s office or facility for individuals to request to take with them, and post it in a clear and prominent location at the facility.
•A covered entity may e-mail the notice to an individual if the individual agrees to receive an electronic notice. See 45 CFR 164.520(c) for the specific requirements for providing the notice.
You may obtain a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices at any time by calling our office or requesting one at your next appointment.
I. Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information
Treatment: We will use and disclose your health information to provide, coordinate and manage health care and related services for you. For example we will disclose information to a specialist to whom you have been referred to ensure the provider has enough information to diagnose and/or treat you. We may also disclose information to a laboratory that, at our request, becomes involved in your treatment.
Payment: We may use and disclose your information to obtain payment for services we provided to you. For example we will send the necessary information to your health or dental insurance company to obtain payment for the treatment provided.
Healthcare Operations: We will use and disclose your health information to conduct the business activities of this office. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment and improvement activities, review of the performance and qualifications of employees, evaluating practitioner and provider performance, conducting training programs, accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities.
We may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when we are ready to begin your treatment. We may call to remind you of an upcoming appointment, and if we are unable to reach you, we may leave a message with another member of the household or on your voice mail.
We will share your protected health information with business associates that perform specific functions for our practice such as billing and electronic medical records services. When a business arrangement of this type requires the use of your information, we will have a written contract with the third party to protect the privacy of your protected health information.
Others Involved in Your Health Care: We must disclose your health information to you as described in the Patient Rights section of this Notice. We may disclose your health information to a family member or other person to the extent necessary to help with your health care or with payment for your health care, but only if you agree. If we determine it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment or experience with common practices, we may allow another person to pick up filled prescriptions, medical supplies, x-rays or other forms of health information.
We may use or disclose protected health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, a personal representative or any other person responsible for your care of your location, your general condition or death. If you are present prior to the use or disclosure of your protected health information, we will provide you with the opportunity to object to such uses or disclosures. Finally, we may use or disclose your protected health information to an authorized public or private entity to assist in disaster relief efforts and to coordinate uses and disclosures to family members or others involved in your health care.
Emergencies: In the event of your incapacity or in emergency circumstances, we may use or disclose your protected health information to treat you.
Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information Based upon Your Written Authorization: Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below. You may revoke this authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that an action has already been taken in reliance on the authorization.
Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures That
May Be Made Without Your Consent, Authorization or
Opportunity to Object
Required By Law: We may use or disclose your protected health information to the extent that law requires the use or disclosure. The use or disclosure will be made in compliance with the law and will be limited to the relevant requirements of the law.
We must make disclosures to you and, when required, to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate or determine our compliance with the requirements of the Privacy Rule, Section 164.500 et. seq.
Public Health: We may disclose your protected health information for public health activities and purposes to a public health authority that is permitted by law to collect or receive the information. The disclosure will be made for the purpose of controlling disease, injury or disability. Additionally, we may disclose your protected health information, if authorized by law, to a person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or may otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading the disease or condition.
We may disclose protected health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies that oversee the health care system, government benefit programs, other government regulatory programs and civil rights laws.
Abuse or Neglect: We may disclose your protected health information to a public health authority that is authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. In addition, we may disclose your protected health information if we believe that you have been a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence to the governmental entity or agency authorized to receive such information. In this case, the disclosure will be made consistent with the requirements of applicable federal and state laws.
Legal Proceedings: We may disclose protected health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal (to the extent such disclosure is expressly authorized), in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process.
Law Enforcement: We may also disclose protected health information, so long as applicable legal requirements are met, for law enforcement purposes. These law enforcement purposes include (1) legal processes and otherwise required by law, (2) limited information requests for identification and location purposes, (3) pertaining to victims of a crime, (4) suspicion that death has occurred as a result of criminal conduct, (5) in the event that a crime occurs on the premises of the practice, and (6) medical emergency (not on the Practice’s premises) and it is likely that a crime has occurred.
Military Activity and National Security: When the appropriate conditions apply, we may disclose, to military authorities, protected health information of individuals who are Armed Forces personnel. We may also disclose your protected health information to authorized federal officials for conducting national security and intelligence activities including for the provision of protective services to the President or others legally authorized.
Workers’ Compensation: We may disclose your protected health information as authorized to comply with workers’ compensation laws and other similar legally established programs.
Inmates: We may use or disclose your protected health information if you are an inmate of a correctional facility and your physician created or received your protected health information in the course of providing care to you.
II. Your Rights
Your rights with respect to your protected health information and how you may exercise those rights are outlined below.
You have a right to obtain a copy and/or inspect your health information: Health information includes treatment records, billing records and any other records used by us to make decision about your treatment. You may obtain a form from our office to request access. A reasonable cost-based fee may be charged for expenses such as staff time, copies and postage. Contact us as indicated at the end of this Notice to obtain information about our fees or if you have any questions about your access.
You have a right to request a restriction on the use and disclosure of your protected health information: You may ask us not to use or disclose some part of your protected health information for the purposes of treatment, payment or operations. You may also request that we not disclose some part of your information to family and others who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as otherwise described in this Notice. We are not required to agree to the restrictions but if we do, we are obligated to abide by the agreement except in cases of emergency. You may request a restriction by sending your request in writing to our Privacy Contact.
You have a right to request to receive confidential communications by alternative means or at an alternative location. We will accommodate reasonable requests. We may also condition this accommodation by asking you for information as to how payment will be handled or specification of an alternative address or other method of contact. We will not request an explanation from you as to the basis for the request. Please make this request in writing to us.
You may have the right to request an amendment to your protected health information. You may request that we amend protected health information about you. Your request must be in writing with an explanation as to why the information should be amended. In certain cases, we may deny your request for an 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 of any such rebuttal.
You have the right to receive an accounting of certain disclosures we have made, if any, of your protected health information. This right applies to disclosures made by our Business Associates or us. It excludes disclosures for treatment, payment or healthcare operations as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices, to you, to family members or friends involved in your care, for notification purposes or as a result of an authorization signed by you. You have the right to receive specific information regarding these disclosures that occurred after Oct 22, 2012 for up to the previous 6 years. You may request a shorter timeframe. The right to receive this information is subject to certain exceptions, restrictions and limitations. If you request an accounting more than once in a 12 month period, we may charge you a reasonable cost-based fee for responding to the additional request.
You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from us, upon request, even if you have agreed to accept this notice electronically.
Questions and Complaints
If you are concerned that we may have violated your privacy rights or you disagree with a decision we have made regarding your access to your health information or any other request you have made in the exercise of your rights, you may send your complaint to us using the information below. You may also submit a written complaint to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Contact us for the address of the Department of Health and Human Services.
We support your right to the privacy of your health information, and we will not retaliate against you in any way for filing a complaint.