Notice of Privacy Practices
I. 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.
II. WE HAVE A LEGAL DUTY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI)
We are legally required to protect the privacy of your health information. We call this information “protected health information,” or “PHI” for short, and it includes information that can be used to identify you that we’ve created or received about your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of health care to you, or the payment of this health care. We must provide you with this notice about our privacy practices that explains how, when, and why we use and disclose your PHI. With some exceptions, we may not use or disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose of the use or disclosure. We are legally required to follow the privacy practices that are described in this notice.
However, we reserve the right to change the terms of this notice and our privacy policies at any time. Any changes will apply to the PHI we already have. Before we make an important change to our policies, we will promptly change this notice and publish the new notice. You can also request a copy of this notice from the contact person listed in Section VI below at any time.
III. HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION.
We use and disclose health information for many different reasons. For some of these uses or disclosures, we need your prior consent or specific authorization. Below, we describe the different categories of our uses and disclosures and give you some examples of each category.
A. Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations Require Your Prior Written Consent. We may use and disclose your PHI with your consent for the following reasons:
B. Certain Uses and Disclosures Do Not Require Your Consent. We may use and disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:
C. One Use and Disclosure Requires You to Have the Opportunity to Object:
D. All Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in section IIIA, B, and C above, we will ask for your written authorization before using or disclosing any of your PHI. If you choose to sign an authorization to disclose your PHI, you can later revoke that authorization in writing, to stop any future uses and disclosures (to the extent that we haven’t taken any action relying on the authorization).
IV. WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PHI
You have the following rights with respect to your PHI:
A. The Right to Request Limits on Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI. You have the right to ask that we limit how we use and disclose your PHI. We will consider your request but are not legally required to accept it. If we accept your request, we will put any limits in writing and abide by them except in emergency situations. You may not limit the uses and disclosures that we are legally required or allowed to make.
B. The Right to Choose How We Send PHI to You. You have the right to ask that we send information to you to an alternate address (for example, sending information to your work address rather than your home address) or by alternate means (for example, e-mail instead of regular mail). We must agree to your request as long as we can easily provide it in the format you requested.
C. The Right to See and Get Copies of Your PHI. In most cases, you have the right to look at or get copies of your PHI that we have, but you must make the request in writing. If we don’t have your PHI but we know who does, we will tell you how to get it. We will respond to you within 30 days after receiving your written request. In certain situations, we may deny your request. If we do, we will tell you, in writing, our reasons for the denial and explain your right to have the denial reviewed. Note: CLIA regulations and state law will determine whether a lab can provide test results directly to a patient.
If you request copies of your PHI, we will charge you for each page. Instead of providing the PHI you requested, we may provide you with a summary or explanation of the PHI, as long as you agree to that and to the cost in advance.
D. The Right to Get a List of the Disclosures We Have Made. You have the right to get a list of instances in which we have disclosed your PHI. The list will not include uses or disclosures that you have already consented to, such as those made for treatment, payment, or health care operations, directly to you, to your family, or in our facility directory. The list also won’t include uses and disclosures made for national security purposes, to corrections or law enforcement personnel, or before April 14, 2003
We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. The list we will give you will include disclosures made in the last six years unless you request a shorter time. The list will include the date of the disclosure, to whom PHI was disclosed (including their address, if known), a description of the information disclosed, and the reason for the disclosure. We will provide the list to you at no charge, but if you make more than one request in the same year, we will charge you for each additional request.
E. The Right to Correct or Update Your PHI. If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI or that a piece of important information is missing, you have the right to request that we correct the existing information or add the missing information. You must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. We may deny your request in writing if the PHI is (i) correct and complete, (ii) not created by us, (iii) not allowed to be disclosed or (iv) not part of our records. Our written denial will state the reason for the denial and explain your right to file a written statement of disagreement with the denial. If you don’t file one, you have the right to request that your request and our denial be attached to all future disclosures of your PHI. If we approve your request, we will make the change to your PHI, tell you that we have done it, and tell others that need to know about the change to your PHI.
F. The Right to Get This Notice by E-Mail. You have the right to get a copy of this notice by e-mail. Even if you have agreed to receive notice via e-mail, you also have the right to request a paper copy of this notice.
V. HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PRIVACY PRACTICES
If you think that we may have violated your privacy
rights, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your PHI,
you may file a complaint with the person listed in the Section VI below.
You also may send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department
of Health and Human Services. We will take no retaliatory action against
you if you file a complaint about our privacy practices.
VI. PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PRIVACY PRACTICES
If you have any questions about this notice or any complaints about our privacy practices, or would like to know how to file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, please contact:
VII. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE.
This notice went into effect on March 18, 2003.