HOCKING VALLEY MEDICAL GROUP, INC.
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED OR DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
WE ARE COMMITTED TO YOUR PRIVACY
Hocking Valley Medical Group is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your identifiable health information. In conducting our business, we will create records regarding you and the treatment and services we provide to you. We require by law to maintain the confidentiality of health information that identifies you. We are also required by law to provide you with this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices concerning your identifiable health information. By law, we must follow the terms of this notice of privacy practices that we have in effect at this time.
To summarize, this notice provides you with the following important information:
• How we may use and disclose your identifiable health information
• Your privacy rights in your identifiable health information
• Our obligations concerning the use and disclosure of your identifiable health information.
Effective Date: November 1, 2014
This notice was revised on November 1, 2014
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR PRIVACY OFFICER: Kim Brown, Information Specialist, HVMG, PO Box 228, Logan, OH 43138; By telephone, (740) 380-8030, by fax, (740)380-2734, and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About This Notice
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of Protected Health Information and to give you this Notice explaining our privacy practices with regard to that information. You have certain rights – and we have certain legal obligations – regarding the privacy of your Protected Health Information, and this Notice also explains your rights and our obligations. We are required to abide by the terms of the current version of this notice.
What is Protected Health Information?
“Protected Health Information” (PHI) is information that individually identifies you and that we create or get from you or from another health care provider, health plan, your employer, or a health care clearinghouse and that relates to (1) your past, present, or future physical or mental health conditions, (2) the provision of health care to you, or (3) the past, present or future payment for your health care.
How We May Use and Disclose Your Protected Health Information
We may use and disclose your PHI in the following circumstances:
• For Treatment. We may use or disclose your PHI to give you medical treatment or services and to manage and coordinate your medical care. For example, your PHI may be provided to a physician or other health care provider (e.g., a specialist or laboratory) to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician or other health care provider has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you or provide you with a service.
• For Payment. We may use and disclose your PHI so that we can bill for the treatment and services you receive from us and can collect payment from you, a health plan, or a third party. This use and disclosure may include certain activities that your health insurance plan may undertake before it approves or pays for the health care services we recommend for you, such as making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for medical necessity, and undertaking utilization review activities. For example, we may need to give your health plan information about your treatment in order for your health plan to agree to pay for that treatment.
• For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose PHI for our health care operations. For example, we may use your PHI to internally review the quality of the treatment and services you receive and to evaluate the performance of our team members in caring for you. We also may disclose information to physicians, nurses, medical technicians, medical students, and other authorized personnel for educational and learning purposes.
• Appointment Reminders/Treatment Alternative/Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose PHI to contact you to remind you that you have an appointment for medical care. Or to contact you to tell you about possible treatment options or alternatives or health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
• Minors. We may disclose the PHI of minor children to their parents or guardians unless law otherwise prohibits such disclosure.
• Research. We may use and disclose your PHI for research purposes, but we will only do that if an authorized institutional review board or a privacy board that has reviewed the research proposal and has set up protocols to ensure the privacy of your PHI has specially approved the research. Even without that special approval, we may permit researchers to look at PHI to help them prepare for research, for example to allow them to identify patients who may be included in their research project, as long as they do not remove, or take a copy of, any PHI. We may use and disclose a limited data set that does not contain specific readily identifiable information about you for research. However, we will only disclose the limited data set if we enter into a data use agreement with the recipient who must agree to (1) use the data set only for the purposes for which it was provided, (2) ensure the confidentiality and security of the data, and (3) not identify the information or use it to contact any individual.
• As Required by Law. We will disclose PHI about you when required to do so by international, federal, state or local law.
• To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose PHI when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health or safety or to the health or safety of others. But we will only disclose the information to someone who may be able to help prevent the threat.
• Business Associates. We may disclose PHI to our business associates who perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the PHI is necessary for those functions or services. For example, we may use another company to do our billing, or to provide transcription or consulting services for us. All of our business associates are obligated, under contract with us, to protect the privacy and ensure the security of your PHI.
• Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ or tissue donor, we may use or disclose your PHI to organizations that handle organ procurement or transplantation – such as an organ donation bank – as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
• Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may disclose PHI as required by military command authorities. We also may disclose PHI to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military.
• Workers’ Compensation. We may use or disclose PHI for workers’ compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
• Public Health Risks. We may disclose PHI for public health activities. This includes disclosures to: (1) a person subject to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for purposes related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of an FDA-regulated product or activity; (2) prevent or control disease, injury or disability; (3) report births and deaths; (4) report child abuse or neglect: (5) reports reactions to medications or problems with products; (6) notify people of recalls of products they may be using; and (7) a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition.
• Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence. We may disclose PHI to the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence and the patient agrees or we are required or authorized by law to make that disclosure.
• Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, licensure, and similar activities that are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
• Data Breach Notification Purposes. We may use or disclose your PHI to provide legally required notices of unauthorized access to or disclosure of your health information.
• Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose PHI in response to a court or administrative order. We also may disclose PHI in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other legal process from someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to get an order protecting the information requested. We may also use or disclose your PHI to defend ourselves in the event of a lawsuit.
• Law Enforcement. We may disclose PHI, so long as applicable legal requirements are met, for law enforcement purposes.
• Military Activity and National Security. If you are involved with military, national security or intelligence activities or if you are in law enforcement custody, we may disclose your PHI to authorized officials so they may carry out their duties under the law.
• Coroners. Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors. We may disclose PHI to a coroner, medical examiner, or funeral director so that they can carry out their duties.
• Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may disclose PHI to the correctional institution or law enforcement official if the disclosure is necessary (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) the safety and security of the correctional institution.
Uses and Disclosures That Require Us to Give You an Opportunity to Object and Opt Out
• Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, your PHI that directly relates to that person’s involvement in your health care. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment.
• Disaster Relief. We may disclose your PHI to disaster relief organizations that seek your PHI to coordinate your care, or notify family and friends of your location or condition in a disaster. We will provide you with an opportunity to agree or object to such a disclosure whenever we practicably can do so.
Your Written Authorization is Required for Uses and Disclosures
The following uses and disclosures of you PHI will be made only with your written authorization:
1. Most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes;
2. Uses and disclosures of PHI for marketing purposes; and
3. Disclosures that constitutes a sale of your PHI.
Other uses and disclosures of PHI not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization. If you do give us an authorization, you may revoke it ant any time by submitting a written revocation to our Privacy Officer and we will no longer disclose Protected Health Information under the authorization. But disclosure that we made in reliance on your authorization before you revoked it will not be affected by the revocation.
Your Rights Regarding Your Protected Health Information
You have the following rights, subject to certain limitations, regarding your PHI:
• Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and copy PHI that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care. We have up to 30 days to make your PHI available to you and we may charge you a reasonable fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with you request. We may not charge you a fee if you need the information for a claim for benefits under the Social Security Act or any other state or federal needs-based benefit program. We may deny your request in certain limited circumstances. If we do deny your request, you have the right to have the denial reviewed by a licenses healthcare professional who was not directly involved in the denial of your request, and we will comply with the outcome of the review.
• Right to a Summary or Explanation. We can also provide you with a summary of your PHI, rather than the entire record, or we can provide you with an explanation of the PHI that has been provided to you, so long as you agree to this alternative form and pay the associated fees.
Right to an Electronic Copy of Electronic Medical Records. If your PHI is maintained in an electronic format (known as an electronic medical record or an electronic health record), you have the right to request that an electronic copy of your record be given to you or transmitted to another individual or entity. We will make every effort to provide access to your PHI in the form or format you request, if it is readily producible in such form or format. If the PHI is not readily producible in the form or format you request, your record will be provided in either our standard electronic format or if you do not want this form or format, a readable hard copy form. We may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for the labor associated with transmitting the electronic medical record.
• Right to get Notice of a Breach. You have the right to be notified upon a breach of any of your unsecured PHI.
• Right to Request Amendments. If you feel that the PHI we have is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for us. A request for amendment must be made in writing to the Privacy Officer at the address provided at the beginning of this Notice and it must tell us the reason for your request. In certain cases, we may deny your request for an amendment. If we deny your request for an amendment, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with us and we may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy of any such rebuttal.
• Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to ask for an “accounting of disclosures, “ which is a list of the disclosures we made of your PHI. This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment or healthcare operations as described in this Notice. It excludes disclosures we may have made to you, for a resident directory, to family members or friends involved in your care, or for notification purposes. The right to receive this information is subject to certain exceptions, restrictions and limitations. Additionally, limitations are different for electronic health records. The first accounting of disclosures you request within any 12-month period will be free. For additional requests within the same period, we may charge you for the reasonable costs of providing the accounting. We will tell what the costs are, and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request before the costs are incurred.
• Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the PHI we use or disclose for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the PHI we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. To request a restriction on who may have access to your PHI, you must submit a written request to the Privacy Officer. Your request must state the specific restriction request and to whom you want the restriction to apply. We are not required to agree to your request, unless you are asking us to restrict the use and disclosure of your PHI to a health plan for payment or health care operation purposes and such information you wish to restrict pertains solely to a health care item or service for which you have paid us “out-of-pocket” in full. If we do agree to the requested restriction, we may not use or disclose your PHI in violation of that restriction unless it is needed to provide emergency treatment.
• Out-of-Pocket Payments. If you paid out-of-pocket (or in other words, you have requested that we not bill your health plan) in full for a specific item or service, you have the right to ask that your PHI with respect to that item or service not be disclosed to a health plan for purposes of payment or health care operations, and we will honor that request.
• Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communication with you only in certain ways to preserve your privacy. For exam[le, you may request that we contact you by mail at a specific address or call you only at your work number. You must make any such request in writing and you must specify how or where we are to contact you. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. We will not ask you the reason for your request.
• Right to a Paper Copy of the Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice, even if you have agreed to receive this Notice electronically. You may request a copy of this Notice at any time.
How to Exercise your Rights
To exercise your rights described in this Notice, send your request, in writing, to our Privacy Officer at the address listed at the beginning of this Notice. We may ask you to fill out a form that we will supply. Top exercise your right to inspect and copy your PHI, you may also contact your physician directly. To get a paper copy of this Notice, contact our Privacy Officer by phone or mail.
Changes To This Notice
We reserve the right to change this Notice. We reserve the right to make the changed Notice effect for PHI we already have as well as for and PHI we create or receive in the future. A copy of our current Notice is availale in our office and on our website: www.hvmg.org.
You must file a complaint with us or with the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated.
To file a complaint with us, contact our Privacy Officer at the address listed at the beginning of this Notice. All complaints must be made in writing and should be submitted within 180 days of when you knew or should have known of the suspected violation. There will be no retaliation against you for filing a complaint.
To file a complaint with the Secretary, mail it to: Office of Civil Rights, Regional Manager, Dept. of Health & Human Services, 233 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 240, Chicago, IL 60601, or go to the website of the Office for Civil Rights, www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/ for more information, or call 877-696-6775. If you are not satisfied with the response, you may also contact the local Medicare Part B Intermediary: CGS, PO Box 20019, Nashville, TN 37202. There will be no retaliation against you for filing a complaint.
PLEASE SIGN SHOWING THAT YOU HAVE READ/RECEIVED A COPY OF THE NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES as required law.