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. If you have any questions about this notice, please contact Gay Marker, our Privacy Contact, at (440) 365-7014.
This Notice of Privacy Practices describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations and for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. It also describes your rights to access and control your protected health information. “Protected health information” (PHI) is information about you, including demographic information, that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services.
We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices. We may change the terms of our notices at any time. The new notice will be effective for all PHI that we maintain both before and after the change. Upon your request, we will provide you with any revised Notice of Privacy Practices by calling the office and requesting that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail or asking for one at the time of your next appointment.
1. Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information
You will be asked by your physician to sign this Notice of Privacy Practices. We will make a good faith effort to obtain a written acknowledgement that you received this Notice of Privacy Practices for PHI the first time we provide services to you after April 14, 2003 or as soon as reasonably practicable under the circumstances. Your PHI may be used and disclosed by your physician, our office staff and others outside of our office that are involved in your care and treatment for the purpose of providing health care services to you. Your PHI may also be used and disclosed to obtain payment for your health care bills and to support the operation of the physician’s practice.
Following are examples of the types of uses and disclosures of your PHI that the physician’s office is permitted to make. These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, but to describe the types of uses and disclosures that may be made by our office.
Treatment. We will use and disclose your PHI to provide, coordinate or manage your health care and any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party that may need access to your PHI. For example, we would disclose your PHI, as necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you. We will also disclose PHI to other physicians who may be treating you. For example, your PHI may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.
In addition, we may disclose your PHI from time-to-time to another physician or health care provider (e.g., a specialist or laboratory) who, at the request of your physician, becomes involved in your care by providing assistance with your health care diagnosis or treatment to your physician.
Payment. Your PHI will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services. This 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, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant PHI be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.
Healthcare Operations. We may use or disclose, as needed, your PHI in order to support the business activities of your physician’s practice. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of medical students, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities.
For example, we may disclose your PHI to medical school students that see patients at our office. In addition, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name and indicate your physician. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you. We may use or disclose your PHI, as necessary, to contact you to remind you of your appointments.
We will share your PHI with third party “business associates” that perform various activities (e.g., billing, transcription services) for the practice. Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your PHI, we will have a written contract that contains terms that will protect the privacy of your PHI.
We may use or disclose your PHI, as necessary, to provide you with information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may also use and disclose your PHI for other marketing activities. For example, your name and address may be used to send you a newsletter about our practice and the services we offer. We may also send you information about products or services that we believe may be beneficial to you. You may contact our Privacy Contact to request that these materials not be sent to you.
2. Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information Based Upon Your Written Authorization
Other uses and disclosures of your PHI 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 your physician or the physician’s practice has taken an action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.
3. Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures that may be made without Your Authorization or Opportunity to Object
We may use and disclose your PHI in the following instances. You have the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure of all or part of your PHI. If you are not present or able to agree or object to the use or disclosure of the PHI, then your physician may, using professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in your best interest. In this case, only the PHI that is relevant to your health care will be disclosed.
Other Involved in Your Healthcare. Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, 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. We may use or disclose PHI to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person that is responsible for your care of your location, general condition or death. Finally, we may use or disclose your PHI to an authorized public or private entity to assist in disaster relief efforts and to coordinate uses and disclosures to family or other individuals involved in your health care.
Emergencies. We may use or disclose your PHI in an emergency treatment situation. If this happens, your physician shall try to obtain your acknowledgement of our Privacy Practices as soon as reasonably practicable after the delivery of treatment. If your physician or another physician in the practice is required by law to treat you and the physician has attempted to obtain your acknowledgement, but is unable, he or she may still use or disclose your PHI for treatment, payment and health care operations.
Communication Barriers. We may use and disclose your PHI if your physician or another physician in the practice attempts to obtain an acknowledgement of our Privacy Practices from you, but is unable to do so due to substantial communication barriers.
4. Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures that may be made without Your Consent, Authorization or Opportunity to Object
We may use or disclose your PHI in the following situations without your acknowledgement or authorization. These situations include:
- Required by law
- Public health
- Communicable diseases
- Health oversight
- Abuse or neglect
- Food and Drug Administration
- Legal proceedings
- Law enforcement
- Coroners, funeral directors, and organ donation
- Criminal activity
- Military activity and national security
- Workers’ compensation
- Required uses and disclosures
5. Your rights
Following is a statement of your rights with respect to your PHI and a brief description of how you may exercise these rights.
You have the right to inspect and copy your PHI. This means you may inspect and obtain a copy of PHI about you that is contained in a designated record set for as long as we maintain the PHI. A “designated record set” contains medical and billing records and any other records that your physician and the practice uses for making decisions about you.
Under federal law, however; you may not inspect or copy the following records: psychotherapy notes; information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding; and PHI that is subject to law that prohibits access to PHI. Depending on the circumstances, a decision to deny access may be reviewable. In some circumstances, you may have a right to have this decision reviewed. Please contact our Privacy Contact if you have any questions about access to your medical record.
You have the right to request a restriction of your PHI. This means you may ask us not to use or disclose any part of your PHI for the purposes of treatment, payment or healthcare operations. You may also request that any part of your PHI not be disclosed to family member or friends who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices. Your request must state the specific restriction requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply. Your physician is not required to agree to a restriction that you may request. If a physician believes it is in your best ineterest to permit use and disclosure of your PHI, your PHI will not be restricted. If your physician does 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. With this in mind, please discuss any restriction you wish to request with your physician. You may request a restriction by submitting a written request to our Privacy Contact.
You have the right to request to receive confidential communications from us 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 our Privacy Contact.
You may have the right to have your physician amend your PHI. This means you may request an amendment of PHI about you in a designated record set for as long as we maintain this information. 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 and we may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy of any such rebuttal. Please contact our Privacy Contact if you have questions about amending your medical record.
You have the right to recieve an accounting of certain disclosures we have made, if any, of your PHI. This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment or healthcare operations and valid authorizations or incidental disclosures as described in this Notice of Privacy Practice. It excludes disclosures we may have made to you, for a facility directory, to family members or friends involved in your care, or for notification purposes. You have the right to receive specific information regarding these disclosures that occurred after April 14, 2003. You may request a shorter timeframe. The right to receive this information is subject to certain exceptions, restrictions and limitations.
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.
You may complain to us or to the Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated by us. You may file a complaint with us by notifying our Privacy Contact of your complaint. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
You may contact Gay Marker, our Privacy Contact, at (440) 365-7014 for further information about the complaint process. This notice was published and becomes effective April 14, 2003.