As required by the Privacy Regulations created as a result of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
This notice describes how health information about you (as a patient of this practice) may be used and disclosed, and how you can get access to your individually identifiable health information.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY
A. OUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR PRIVACY
Our practice is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your individually identifiable health information (IIHI). In conducting our business, we will create records regarding you and your treatment and the services we provide for you. We are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of health information that identifies you. We also are required by law to provide you with this notice of our legal duties and the privacy practices that we maintain in our practice concerning your IIHI. By federal and state law, we must follow the terms of the notice of privacy practices that we have in effect at this time.
We realize that these laws are complicated, but we must provide you with the following important information:
How we may us and disclose your IIHI
Your privacy rights in your IIHI
Our obligations concerning the use and disclosure of your IIHI
The terms of this notice apply to all records containing your IIHI that are created or retained by our practice. We reserve the right to revise or amend this Notice of Privacy Practices. Any revision or amendment to this notice will be effective for all of your records that our practice has created or maintained in the past, and for any of your records that we may create or maintain in the future. Our practice will post a copy of our current Notice in our offices in a visible location at all times, and you may request a copy of our most current Notice at any time.
B. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS NOTICE, PLEASE CONTACT ON OUR CONTACT PAGE.
C. WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSURE YOUR INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE HEALTH INFORMATION (IIHI) IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS
The following categories describe the different ways in which we may use and disclose your IIHI.
1. Treatment. Our practice may use your IIHI to treat you. Any of the people who work for our practice – including, but not limited to our doctors, or indirectly with any provider we refer you to – may use or disclose your IIHI in order to treat you, or to assist others in your treatment. Additionally, we may need to disclose your IIHI to others who may assist in your care, such as your spouse, children, or parents.
2. Payment. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI in order to bill and collect payment for the services and items you may receive from us. For example, we may contact your health insurer to certify that you are eligible for benefits (and for what
range of benefits), and we may provide your insurer with details regarding your treatment and health status to determine if your insurer will cover, or pay for, your treatment. We also may use and disclose your IIHI to obtain payment from third parties
that may be responsible for such costs, such as family members or insurance companies. Also, we may use your IIHI to bill you directly for services and items.
3. Health Care Operations. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI to operate our business. As examples of the ways in which we may use and disclose your information for our operations, our practice may use your IIHI to evaluate the quality of care you
receive from us, or to conduct cost-management and business planning activities for our practice.
4. Appointment Reminders. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI to contact you or a family member who answers the phone (or to leave a recorded message) to remind you of an upcoming appointment. Only your name, appointment date, time, and
location will be disclosed.
5. Treatment Options. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI to inform you of potential treatment options or alternatives.
6. Health-Related Benefits and Services. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI to inform you of health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
7. Release of Information to Family/Friends. Our practice may release your IIHI to a friend or family member that is involved in your care, or who assists in taking care of you. Our practice must have a records-release form, signed by you within the last 3 months on file in order to release your IIHI in this situation. Example, a parent or guardian may ask that a babysitter take their child to our office for care. In this example, the babysitter may have access to this child’s medical information.
8. Disclosures Required by Law. Our practice will use and disclose your IIHI when we are required to do so by federal, state, or local law.
D. USE AND DISCLOSURE OF YOUR IIHI IN CERTAIN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
The following categories describe unique scenarios in which we may use or disclose your identifiable health information:
1. Public Health Risks. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to public health authorities that are authorized by law to collect information for the purpose of:
Maintaining vital records, such as births and deaths
Reporting child abuse or neglect
Preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability
Notifying a person regarding potential exposure to a communicable disease
Notifying a person regarding a potential risk for spreading or contracting a disease or condition
Reporting reactions to drugs or problems with products or devices
Notifying individuals if a product or device they may be using has been recalled
Notifying appropriate government agency(ies) and authority(ies) regarding the potential abuse or neglect of an adult patient (including domestic violence); however, we will only disclose this information if the patient agrees or we are required or authorized by law to disclose this information
Notifying your employer under limited circumstances related primarily to workplace injury or illness or medical surveillance
2. Health Oversight Activities. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Oversight activities can include, for example, investigations, inspections, audits, surveys, licensure and disciplinary actions; civil,
administrative, and criminal procedures or actions; or other activities necessary for the government to monitor government programs, compliance with civil rights laws and the health care system in general.
3. Lawsuits and Similar Proceedings. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI in response to a court or administrative order, if you are involved in a lawsuit or similar proceeding. We also may disclose your IIHI in response to discovery request, subpoena, or
other lawful process by another party involved in the dispute, but only if we have made an effort to inform you of the request or to obtain an order protecting the information the party has requested. In general, we will require that the party that requests your records provide a records-release form, signed by you within the last 3 months.
4. Law Enforcement. We may release IIHI if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
Regarding a crime victim in certain situations, if we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement
Concerning a death we believe has resulted from criminal conduct
Regarding criminal conduct at our offices
In response to a warrant, summons, court order, subpoena or similar legal process
To identify/locate a suspect, material witness, fugitive or missing person
In an emergency, to report a crime (including the location or victim(s) of the crime, or the description, identify or location of the perpetrator)
5. Deceased Patients. Our practice may release IIHI to a medical examiner or coroner to identify a deceased individual or to identify the cause of death. If necessary, we also may release information in order for funeral directors to perform their jobs.
6. Organs and Tissue Donation. Our practice may release your IIHI to organizations that handle organ, eye or tissue procurement or transplantation, including organ donation banks, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation in you are an organ donor.
7. Research. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI for research purposes in certain limited circumstances. We will obtain your written authorization to use your IIHI for research purposes except when: (a) our use or disclosure was approved by an Institutional Review Board or a Privacy Board; (b) we obtain the oral or written agreement of a research that (i) the information being sought is necessary for the research study; (ii) the use or disclosure of your IIHI is being used only for the research and (iii) the researcher will not remove any of your IIHI from our practice; or (c) the IIHI sought by the research only relates to decedents and the researcher agrees either orally or in writing that the use or disclosure is necessary for the research, and if we request it, to provide us with proof of death prior to access to the IIHI of the decedents.
8. Serious Threats to Health or Safety. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI when necessary to reduce or prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of another individual or the public. Under these circumstances, we will only make disclosures to a person or organization able to help prevent the threat.
9. Military. Our practice may disclose your IIHI if you are member of the U.S. or foreign military forces (including veterans) and if required by the appropriate authorities.
10. National Security. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to federal officials for intelligence and national security activities authorized by law. We also may disclose your IIHI to federal officials in order to protect the President, other officials or foreign heads of state, or to conduct investigations.
11. Inmates. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to correctional institutions or law enforcement officials if you are an inmate or under the custody of a law enforcement official. Disclosure for these purposes would be necessary: (a) for the institution to provide health care services to you, (b) for the safety and security of the institution, and/or (c) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of other individuals.
12. Workers’ Compensation. Our practice may release your IIHI for worker’s compensation and similar programs.
E. YOUR RIGHTS
1. Your Right to Limit Uses or Disclosures. You have the right to request that we do not disclose your health information to specific individuals, companies, or organizations. If you would like to place any restrictions on the use or disclosure of your health information, please indicate so on the Patient Reception Form (below).
2. Your Right to Request that Your Patient Record be Amended. You have the right to request that we amend the information in your patient record. If you would like to amend any information in your record we will provide you with a Request to Amend Protected Health Information Form.
3. Your Right to Revoke Your Authorizations. You may revoke any of your authorizations at any time; however, your revocation must be in writing. We will not be able to honor your revocation request if we have already released your health information before we
receive your written request to revoke your authorization.
4. Your Right to Access Your Health Information. You have the right to request a copy of your Health Information at any time; however your request must be in writing. Upon receiving your request, copies will be made for you within 1 week (7 days). A small paper fee may be charged if records are over twenty (20) pages in length. Copies must be picked up in office by you or by an identified individual on your behalf (in writing). Copies will not be sent by mail or e-mail
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