Notice of Privacy Policies
Thank you for choosing us as your primary care providers. We are committed to providing you with quality and affordable health care. In order to reduce misunderstandings, we have adopted the following Privacy Policies.
Notice of Privacy Practices for Protected Health Information
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY
This office is required by a federal regulation, known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices. This office will not use or disclose your health information except as described in this Notice. The office is permitted by federal privacy laws to make uses and disclosures of your health information for purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations. Protected health information is the information we create and obtain in providing our services to you. The health information about you is documented in a medical record and on a computer. Such information may include documenting your symptoms, medical history, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and applying for future care or treatment. It also includes billing documents for those services.
Examples of uses of your health information for treatment purposes are:
- A staff or medical assistant obtains treatment information about you and records it in a health record.
- During the course of your treatment, the provider determines he/she will need to consult with another specialist in the area. He/she will share the information with such specialists and obtain his/her input.
Example of use of your health information for payment purposes:
- We submit requests for payment to your health insurance company. The health insurance company (or other business associate helping us obtain payment) requests health information from us regarding medical care given. We will provide information to them about you and the care given; which may include copies or excerpts of your medical record which are necessary for payment of your account. For example, a bill sent to your health insurance company may include information that identifies your diagnosis, and the procedures and supplies used.
Example of use of your health information for health care operations:
- We obtain services from our insurers or other business associates (an individual or entity under contract with us to perform or assist us in a function or activity that necessitates the use or disclosure of health information) such as quality assessment, quality improvement, outcome evaluation, protocol and clinical guidelines development, training programs, credentialing, medical transcription, medical review, legal services, and insurance. We will share health information about you with our insurers or other business associates as necessary to obtain these services. We require our insurers and other business associates to protect the confidentiality of your health information.
Your Health Information Rights
The health and billing records we maintain are the physical property of the doctor’s office. The information in it, however, belongs to you. You have a right to:
- Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your health information by delivering the request in writing to our office—we are not required to grant the request but we will comply with any request granted;
- Obtain a paper copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices for Protected Health Information (“Notice”) by making a request at our office;
- Request that you be allowed to inspect and copy your medical record and billing record–you may exercise this right by delivering the request in writing to our office using the form we provide to you upon request; we may charge a cost-based fee for this service;
- Appeal a denial of access to your protected health information except in certain circumstances;
- Request that your medical record be amended to correct incomplete or incorrect information by delivering a written request, including a reason to support it, to our office using the form we provide to you upon request. (We are not required to make such amendments);
- File a statement of disagreement if your amendment is denied, and require that the request for amendment and any denial be attached in all future disclosures of your protected health information;
- Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information as required to be maintained by law by delivering a written request to our office using the form we provide to you upon request. An accounting will not include uses and disclosures of information for treatment, payment, or health care operations; disclosures or uses made to you or made at your request; uses or disclosures made pursuant to an authorization signed by you; or to family members or friends or uses relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or in payment for such care; or uses or disclosures to notify family or others responsible for your care of your location, condition, or your death; we may charge a cost-based fee for more than one accounting in a 12-month period.
- Request that confidential communication of your health information be made by alternative means or at an alternative location by delivering the request in writing to our office using the form we provide to you upon request; and,
- Revoke authorizations that you made previously to use or disclose the information except to the extent information or action has already been taken by delivering a written revocation to our office.
If you want to exercise any of the above rights, please contact the Privacy Officer at the above address, by phone, or in writing during normal business hours. Our Privacy Officer will provide you with’ assistance on the steps to take to exercise your rights.
The office is required to:
- Maintain the privacy of your health information as required by law;
- Provide you with a notice as to our duties and privacy practices as to the information we collect and maintain about you;
- Abide by the terms of this Notice;
- Notify you if we cannot accommodate a requested restriction or request; and
- Accommodate your reasonable requests regarding methods to communicate health information with you.
We reserve the right to amend, change, or eliminate provisions in our privacy practices and access practices and to enact new provisions regarding the protected health information we maintain. If our information practices change, we will amend our Notice. You are entitled to receive a revised copy of the Notice by calling and requesting a copy of our “Notice” or by visiting our office and picking up a copy.
To Request Information or File a Complaint
If you have questions, would like additional information, want to report a problem regarding the handling of your information, or if you believe your privacy rights have been violated and wish to file a written complaint with our office, please contact the Privacy Officer at the above address. You may also file a complaint by mailing it or e-mailing it to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- We cannot; and will not require you to waive your rights under the Privacy Rule including the right to file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a condition of receiving treatment from the office.
- We cannot, and will not, retaliate against you for filing a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Other Disclosures and Uses We Can Make Without Your Written Authorization
Notification of Family/Friends
- Unless you object, we may use or disclose your protected health information to notify, or assist in notifying, a family member, personal representative, or other person responsible for your care, about your location, and about your general condition, or your death.
Communication with Family/Friends
- Using our best judgment, we may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend, or any other person you identify, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or in payment for such care if you do not object or in an emergency.
- We may use and disclose your health information to assist in disaster relief efforts.
- We may release health information about you to your employer if we provide health care services to you at the request of your employer, and the health care services are provided either to conduct an evaluation relating to medical surveillance of the workplace or to evaluate whether you have a work-related illness Or injury. In such circumstances, we will give you, written notice of such release of information to your employer. Any other disclosures to your employer will be made only if you execute an authorization for the release of that information to your employer.
- We may disclose your health information to funeral directors, medical examiners, or coroners consistent with applicable law to allow them to carry out their duties. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release health information about patients to funeral directors as necessary for them to carry out their duties.
Organ Procurement Organizations
- Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose your health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
Appointment Reminders, Marketing, and Treatment Alternatives
- We may contact you to provide you with appointment reminders, with information about treatment alternatives, or with information about other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We will not disclose your health information without your written authorization.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- We may disclose to the FDA your health information relating to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, products, and product defects, or post-marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacements.
- If you are seeking compensation through Workers’ Compensation, we may disclose your health information to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to Workers’ Compensation.
- As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing Or controlling disease, injury, or disability; to report reactions to medications or problems with products; to notify people of recalls; to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or who is at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition.
Abuse, Neglect & Domestic Violence
- We may disclose your health information to public authorities as allowed by law to report abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
Sign in Sheet
- We may use and disclose your health information by having you sign in when you arrive at our office. We may also call out your name when we are ready to see you.
- If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement officer, we may disclose to the institution or law enforcement official health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.
- We may disclose your health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law, such as when required by a court order; for identification of a victim of a crime if certain protective requirements are met; to report a crime on our premises; to report crime in emergencies; and other appropriate situations permitted by law.
- We may disclose your health information to appropriate health oversight agencies or for health oversight activities.
- We may disclose your health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding as allowed Or required by law or as directed by a proper court order or in response to a subpoena, with your authorization, discovery request or other lawful process if certain specific requirements are met.
- To avert a serious threat to health or safety, we may disclose your health information consistent with applicable law to prevent or lessen a serious, imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.
For Specialized Governmental Functions
- We may disclose your health information for specialized government functions as authorized by law such as to Armed Forces personnel, for national security purposes, or to public assistance program personnel.