NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU (AS A PATIENTOF THIS PRACTICE) WILL BE USED AND DISCLOSED, AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO YOUR INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE HEALTH INFORMATION.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.
A. OUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR PRIVACY
Our practice is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your individually protected health information (PHI). In conducting our business, we will create records regarding you and the treatment and services we provide to you using your PHI. We are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of health information that identifies you. We also are required by law to provide you with this notice of our legal duties and the privacy practices that we maintain in our practice concerning your PHI. By federal and state law, we must follow the terms of the notice of privacy practices that we have in effect at the time. We realize that these laws are complicated, but we must provide you with the following important information:
• How we may use and disclose your PHI
• Your privacy rights in your PHI
• Our obligations concerning the use and disclosure of your PHI
• Our obligations to inform you of any unauthorized access, use or disclosure of your unencrypted
confidential information in the event its security or privacy is compromised (i.e. in the event that a
reportable breach occurs as provided by the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule.) We will provide such notice to you
without unreasonable delay but in no case later than sixty (60) days after we discover the breach.
The terms of this notice apply to all records containing your PHI that are created or retained by our practice. We reserve the right to revise or amend this Notice of Privacy Practices. Any revision or amendment to this notice will be effective for all of your records that our practice has created or maintained in the past, and for any of your records that we may create or maintain in the future. Our practice will post a copy of our current Notice in our office in a visible location at all times, and you may request a paper copy of our most current Notice at any time. In addition, the current version of our notice will be posted on our website at www.ob-gynassoc.com
B. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS NOTICE, PLEASE CONTACT:
Director of Compliance, Risk, Quality 855 A Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, 319-368-5537.
C. WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI) IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS WITHOUT AN AUTHORIZATION
The following categories describe the different ways in which we may use and disclose your PHI.
l. Treatment. Our practice may use your PHI to treat you. For example, we may ask you to have laboratory
tests(such as blood or urine test), and we may use the results to help us reach a diagnosis. We might use your PHI in order to write a prescription for you, or we might disclose your PHI 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 PHI in order to treat you or to assist others in your treatment. Finally, we may also disclose your PHI to other health care providers for purposes related to your treatment.
2. Payment. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI 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 PHI to obtain payment from third parties that may be responsible for such costs, such as family members. Also, we may use your PHI to bill you directly for services and items. We may disclose your PHI to other health care providers and entities to assist in their billing and collection efforts.
3. Health Care Operation. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI 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 PHI to evaluate the quality of care you received from us, or to conduct cost-management and business planning activities for our practice. We may disclose your PHI to other health care providers and entities to assist in their health care operations.
4. Appointment Reminders. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to contact you and remind you of an appointment.
5. Treatment Options. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to inform you of potential treatment options or alternatives.
6. Health-Related Benefits and Services. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to inform you of health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
7. Release of Information to Family/Friends. Our practice may release your PHI to a friend or family member that is involved in your care, or who assists in taking care of you unless you object. In addition we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family may be notified about your condition, status and location.
8. Disclosure Required by Law. Our practice will use and disclose your PHI when we are required to do so by federal, state or local law.
D. USE AND DISCLOSURE OF YOUR PHI IN CERTAIN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
The following categories describe unique scenarios in which we may use or disclose your protected health information without your authorization.
l. Public Health Risks. Our practice may disclose your PHI 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 a dependent adult patient (including domestic violence)
• notifying your employer under limited circumstances related primarily to workplace injury or illness or medical surveillance.
2. Health Oversight Activities. Our practice may disclose your PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Oversight activities can include, for example, investigations, inspection, audits, surveys, licensure 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.
3. Lawsuits and Similar Proceedings. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI in response to a court or administrative order, if you are involved in a lawsuit or similar proceeding. We also may disclose your PHI 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. In addition, we may disclose medical information to the opposing party in any lawsuit of administrative proceeding where you have put your physical or mental condition at issue once you have signed a written authorization to release the information.
4. Law Enforcement. We may release PHI 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
• Regarding criminal conduct at our office(s)
• Concerning a death we believe has resulted from criminal conduct
• 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)
• If a patient is being treated for a wound of violence – or some injury believed to have been caused by some violent act. i.e. gunshot wound, stabbing - of which it is our duty to report.
5. Deceased Patients. Our practice may release PHI 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.
6. Organ and Tissue Donation. Our practice may release your PHI 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.
7. Serious Threats to Health or Safety. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI 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.
8. Military - Our practice may disclose your PHI if you are a member of U.S. or foreign military forces (including veterans) and if required by the appropriate authorities.
9. National Security. Our practice may disclose your PHI to federal officials for intelligence and national security activities authorized by law. We also may disclose your PHI to federal officials in order to protect the President, other officials or foreign heads of state, or to conduct investigations.
10. Inmates. Our practice may disclose your PHI 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.
11.Workers’Compensation. Our practice may release your PHI for workers’ compensation and similar programs.
E. WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI) IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS WITH AN AUTHORIZATION
Some uses and disclosures of your medical information can be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law. You may revoke this authorization anytime, in writing, unless we have relied on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.
Examples of those uses and disclosures that may only be made with your written authorization:
• We will obtain your authorization for uses and disclosures of your health information that are not describes
in this Notice.
• We will disclose AIDS or HIV-related information, or substance abuse treatment information only with
written authorization as required by applicable state law and/or federal regulations unless the law
expressly permits otherwise.
• We will provide mental health information only if you have signed an authorization consistent with Iowa
• We will not use or disclose your protected health information for marketing purposes without your
authorization. Moreover, if we will receive any financial remuneration from a third party in connection
with marketing, we will tell you that in the authorization form.
• We will not sell your protected health information to third parties without your authorization. Any such
authorization will disclose that we will receive compensation in the transaction.
F. YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR PHI
You have the following rights regarding the PHI that we maintain about you:
l. Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that our practice communicate with you about your health and related issues in a particular manner or at a certain location. For instance, you may ask that we contact you at home, rather than work. In order to request a type of confidential communication, you must make a written request to the Manager-Administration Services, specifying the requested method of contact, or the location where you wish to be contacted. Our practice will accommodate reasonable requests. You do not need to give a reason for your request.
2. Requesting Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your PHI for treatment, payment or health care operations. Additionally, you have the right to request that we restrict our disclosure of your PHI to only certain individuals involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as family members and friends. We are not required to agree to your request unless the disclosure is to a “health
Plan, “i.e. any third party payer, including Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers for payment or health care operations if you pay for the services in full and in advance out of pocket. For all other disclosures, if we do agree, we are bound by our agreement except when otherwise required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is necessary to treat you. In order to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your PHI, you must make your request in writing to Manager-Administrative Services. Your request must describe in a clear and concise manner: • the information you wish restricted • whether you are requesting to limit our practice’s use, disclosure or both; and • to whom you want the limits to apply.
3. Inspection and Copies. You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the PHI that may be used to make decisions about you, including patient medical records and billing records. You must submit your request in writing to Manager-Administrative Services, in order to inspect and/or obtain a copy of your PHI. For any medical information maintained in your electronic medical record, your written request may include a request to provide a copy in electronic form. We will provide the information to you in the form and format you requested, assuming it is readily producible. If we cannot readily produce the record in the form and format you request, we will produce it in another readable electronic form we agree to. In addition, we will transmit information from your electronic medical record directly to a person or entity of your choosing if the request is made in writing and you sign an authorization. Our practice may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, labor and supplies associated with your request. Our practice may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances; however, you may request a review of our denial. Another licensed health care professional chosen by us will conduct reviews.
4. Amendment. You may ask us to amend your health information if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete, and you may request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our practice. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to Manager-Risk, Quality, Compliance. You must provide us with a reason that supports your request for amendment. Our practice will deny your request if you fail to submit your request (and the reason supporting your request) in writing. Also, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that is in our opinion: (a) accurate and complete; (b) not part of the PHI kept by or for the practice; (c) not part of the PHI which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or (d) not created by our practice, unless the individual or entity that created the information is not available to amend the information.
5. Accounting of Disclosures. All of our patients have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures”. An “accounting of disclosures” is a list of certain non-routine disclosures our practice has made of your PHI. For
Records maintained in paper format, an accounting will not include disclosures for treatment, payment or health care operations and you may receive an accounting for up to six (6) years of disclosures. For records maintained in electronic format, an accounting will include disclosures for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations and you may receive an accounting for up to three (3) years of disclosures.
In order to obtain an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to Manager – Risk, Quality, Compliance. All requests for an “accounting of disclosures” must state a time period. The first list you request within a 12-month period is free of charge, but our practice may charge you for additional lists within the same 12-month period. Our practice will notify you of the costs involved with additional requests, and you may withdraw your request before you incur any costs.
6. Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You are entitled to receive a paper copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact the front office Reception Staff.
7. Right to File a Complaint. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our practice or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our practice, contact the Manager – Risk, Quality, Compliance, 319-368-5537. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
Again, if you have any questions regarding this notice of our health information privacy policies, please contact the Director of Compliance, Risk, Quality at 319-368-5537 for further information and/or assistance.