HIPPA & Patient Privacy Disclosures
Chestatee Regional Hospital Notice of Privacy Rights
I. THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.
II. WE HAVE A LEGAL DUTY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI)We are required to protect the privacy of your health information. We this information "protected health information," or "PHI" for short, and it includes information that can be used to identify you. 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.
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 important changes to our policies, we will promptly change this notice and post a new notice on public bulletin boards and in the lobbies within our facilities. You can also request a copy of this notice from the admissions or marketing office at any time.
III. HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATIONWe use and disclose health information for many different reasons. For some of the 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 Operation. We may use or disclose your PHI with or without your consent for the following reasons:
1. For Treatment. We may disclose your PHI to physicians, nurses, medical students and other health care personnel who you with you with health care services or are involved in your care. For example, if you are being treated for a knee injury, we may disclose your PHI to the rehabilitation department in order to coordinate your care.
2. To obtain payment for treatment. We may use and disclose your PHI in order to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided to you. For example, we may provide portions of your PHI to our billing department and your health plan to be paid for the health care services we provided to you. We may also provide your PHI to our business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies and others that process our health care claims.
3. For health care operations: We may disclose your PHI in order to operate this facility. For example, we may your PHI in order to evaluate the quality of health care services that you received or to evaluate the performance of the health care professionals who provided health care services to you. We may also provide your PHI to our accountants, attorneys, consultants, and others in order to make sure we are complying with the laws that affect us.
B. We may use and disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:
1. When a disclosure is required by federal, state or local law, judicial, administrative proceedings, or law enforcement. For example, we make disclosures when a law requires that we report information to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence; when dealing with gunshot or other wounds, or when ordered in judicial or administrative proceedings.
2. For public health activities. For example, we report information about births, deaths and various diseases, to government officials in charge of collecting that information, and we provide coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors necessary information relating to an individual's death.
3. For health oversight activities. For example, we will provide information to assist the government when it conducts an investigation or inspection of a health care provider or organization.
4. For purpose of organ donation. We may notify organ procurement organization to assist them in organ, eye, or tissue donation and transplants.
5. For research purposes. In certain circumstances, we may provide PHI in order to conduct medical research.
6. To avoid harm. In order to avoid a serious threat to the health or safety of a person or to the public, we may provide PHI to law enforcement personnel or persons able to prevent or lessen such harm.
7. For specific government functions. We may disclose PHI of military personnel and veterans in certain situations. And we may disclose PHI for national security purposes, such as protecting the president of the United States or conducting intelligence operations.
8. For workers' compensation purposes. We may provide PHI in order to comply with workers' compensation laws.
9. For appointment reminders and health-related benefits or services. We may use PHI to provide appointment reminders or give you information about treatment alternatives, or other health care services or benefits we offer.
10. For fundraising activities. We may use PHI to raise funds for our organization. The money raised through these activities is used to expand and support the health care services and educational programs we provide to the community. If you do not wish to be contacted as part of our fundraising efforts, please contact the person listed in the section VI below.
C. Two Uses and Disclosures Require You To Have The Opportunity to Object.
1. Patient Directories. We may include your name, location in this facility, general condition, and religious affiliation, in our patient directory for use by clergy and visitors who ask for you by name, unless you object in whole or part. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
2. Disclosures to family, friends, or others. We may provide your PHI to a family member, friend or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment of your health care unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
D. All Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in sections III A, 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 have not taken any action relying on the authorization).
WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PHI
You have the following rights with respect to your PHI:
1. 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.
2. 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 or by alternate means (for example, e-mail instead of regular mail). We must agree to your request so long as we can easily provide it in the format you requested.
3. 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 must make the request in writing. IN certain situations, we may deny your request; i.e. if you are the ward of the state (inmate), your physician has deemed access to your records may be detrimental to your health, or adjudication of incompetence. If we do, we will explain to you and put in writing our reasons for the denial along with other alternatives available to have your records released directly to the state, physician, guardian and explain your right to have the denial reviewed. There may be charges for copies made.
4. 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 will not also include uses and disclosures made for national security purposes, to corrections, or law enforcement personnel.
5. The Rights to Correct or Update your PHI. If you believe 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 the4 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 reasons for the denial and explain your right to file a written statement of disagreement with the denial. If you do not 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.
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 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: Casi Higdon, Compliance Officer/Complaint Office at (706) 867-4307, if in-house dial extension 307.