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 (IIHI). Please review this notice carefully. We may use and disclose your individually identifiable health information in the following ways:
The following categories describe the different ways in which we may use and disclose your IIHI.
- Treatment. Our practice may use your IIHI to treat you. For example, we may ask you to have laboratory tests (such as blood or urine tests), and we may use the results to help us reach a diagnosis. We might use your IIHI in order to write a prescription for you, or we might disclose your IIHI to a pharmacy when we order a prescription for you. Many of the people who work for our practice – including, but not limited to, our doctors and nurses – may use or disclose your IIHI in order to treat you or to assist others in your treatment. Additionally, we may disclose your IIHI to others who may assist in your care, such as your spouse, children or parents.
- 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 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. Also, we may use your IIHI to bill you directly for services and items.
- 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 received from us, or to conduct cost-management and business planning activities for our practice.
- Optional: Appointment Reminders. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI to contact you and remind you of an appointment.
- Optional: Treatment Options. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI to inform you of potential treatment options or alternatives.
- Optional: 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.
- Optional: 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. For example, a parent or guardian may ask that a baby-sitter take their child to the pediatrician’s office for treatment of a cold. In this example, the baby-sitter may have access to this child’s medical information. 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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, licenser 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.
- 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 a 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.
- 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, identity or location of the perpetrator)
- 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.
- Organ 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 if you are an organ donor.
- 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 or a researcher 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 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.
- 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.
- Military. Our practice may disclose your IIHI if you are a member of U.S. or foreign military forces (including veterans) and if required by the appropriate authorities.
- 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.
- 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.
- Workers’ Compensation. Our practice may release your IIHI for workers’ compensation and similar programs.