Effective April 14, 2003
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can obtain access to this information. Please review it carefully.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of “protected health information.” “Protected health information” includes any identifiable information that we obtain from you or others that relates to your physical or mental health, the health care you have received, or payment for your health care.
As required by law, this notice provides you with information about your rights and our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to the privacy of protected health information. This notice also discusses the uses and disclosures we will make of your protected health information. We must comply with the provisions of this notice, although we reserve the right to change the terms of this notice from time to time and to make the revised notice effective for all protected health information we maintain. You can always request a copy of our most current privacy notice from our office.
Permitted Uses and Disclosures
We can use or disclose your protected health information for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations.
Treatment means the provision, coordination or management of your health care, including consultations between health care providers regarding your care and referrals for health care from one health care provider to another. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. Therefore, the doctor may review your medical records to assess whether you have potentially complicating conditions like diabetes.
Payment means activities we undertake to obtain reimbursement for the health care provided to you, including determinations of eligibility and coverage and other utilization review activities. For example, prior to providing health care services, we may need to provide to your insurance carrier (or other third party payor) information about your medical condition to determine whether the proposed course of treatment will be covered. When we subsequently bill the carrier or other third party payor for the services rendered to you, we can provide the carrier or other third party payor with information regarding your care if necessary to obtain payment.
Health Care Operations mean the support functions of our practice related to treatment and payment, such as quality assurance activities, case management, receiving and responding to patient complaints, physician reviews, compliance programs, audits, business planning, development, management and administrative activities. Disclosures Related To Communications With You Or Your Family
We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you or relate specifically to your medical care through our office. For example, we may leave appointment reminders on your answering machine or with a family member or other person who may answer the telephone at the number that you have given us in order to contact you.
We may disclose your protected health information to your family or friends or any other individual identified by you when they are involved in your care or the payment for your care. We will only disclose the protected health information directly relevant to their involvement in your care or payment.
Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the Armed Forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in a response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute.
Law Enforcement. We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
- In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process
- To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person
- About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement
- About a death we believe may be the result of a criminal conduct
- About criminal conduct on our premises
- In emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated, you should immediately contact our Practice or our Privacy Officer. All complaints must be submitted in writing. We will not take action against you for filing a complaint. You also may file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services.