Based on the Privacy Regulations Created as a Result of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH)
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 PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.
This Notice of Privacy Practices is NOT an authorization. It describes how we, our Business Associates, and their subcontractors may use and disclose your Protected Health Information (PHI) 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” is information that identifies you individually, including demographic information that relates your past, present, or future physical or mental health condition and related health care services.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.
A. OUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR PRIVACY
Our practice understands the importance of privacy and are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your Protected Health Information (PHI). In conducting our business, we will create records regarding you and the treatment and services we provide to you. This notice applies to the information and records we have about you, your health, health status, and health care and services you receive from Linda L. Isaacs, M.D., P.C.. Your health information may include information created and received by Linda L. Isaacs, M.D., P.C., may be in the form of written or electronic records or spoken words, and may include information about your health history, health status, symptoms, examinations, test results, diagnoses, treatments, procedures, prescriptions, related billing activity and similar types of health-related information.
We are required by law to provide you with this notice. It will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose health information about you and describes your rights and our obligations regarding the use and disclosure of that information. We are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of health information that identifies you. By federal and state law, we must follow the terms of the notice of privacy practices that we have in effect at the time.
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 offices in a visible location at all times, and you may request a copy of our most current Notice at any time.
B. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS NOTICE, PLEASE CONTACT:
Any office employee or the doctor.
C. WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI)
The following categories describe the different ways in which we may use and disclose your PHI.
Treatment. Our practice may use your PHI to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose health information about you to your doctors, nurses, technicians, staff or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you and your health. 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 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. Additionally, we may disclose your PHI to others who may assist in your care, such as your family or friends. We will request your permission before sharing health information with your family or friends unless you are unable to give permission to such disclosures due to your health condition. Finally, we may also disclose your PHI to other health care providers for purposes related to your treatment.
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.
Health Care Operations. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to manage, operate, and support the business activities of our practice. 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. We will disclose your name to the supplement company that supplies our patients, and we will receive reports from them regarding your purchases of key products. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you. In all cases, the minimal PHI is disclosed for the purpose of the health care operation, and all outside parties have agreed to compliance with HIPAA regulations, whether or not those regulations strictly apply.
Appointment Reminders. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI, as necessary, to contact you and remind you of an appointment.
Treatment Options. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI, as necessary, to inform you of potential treatment options or alternatives.
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.
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. For example, a parent or guardian may ask that a babysitter take a child to the pediatrician’s office for treatment of a cold. In this example, the babysitter may have access to this child’s medical information.
Disclosures Required By Law. Our practice will use and disclose your PHI when we are required to do so by local, state, federal and international 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 identifiable health information:
Public Health Risks. Our practice may use and disclose health information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. We may disclose your PHI to public health authorities that are authorized by law to collect information for purposes such as:
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 PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Oversight activities can include, for example, investigations, inspections, 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.
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 a court or administrative order protecting the information the party has requested.
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
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 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.
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.
Research. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI for research purposes in certain limited circumstances. We will obtain your written authorization to use your PHI for research purposes except when an Internal Review Board or Privacy Board has determined that the waiver of your authorization satisfies the following: (i) the use or disclosure involves no more than a minimal risk to your privacy based on the following: (A) an adequate plan to protect the identifiers from improper use and disclosure; (B) an adequate plan to destroy the identifiers at the earliest opportunity consistent with the research (unless there is a health or research justification for retaining the identifiers or such retention is otherwise required by law); and (C) adequate written assurances that the PHI will not be re-used or disclosed to any other person or entity (except as required by law) for authorized oversight of the research study, or for other research for which the use or disclosure would otherwise be permitted; (ii) the research could not practicably be conducted without the waiver; and (iii) the research could not practicably be conducted without access to and use of the PHI.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Workers’ Compensation. Our practice may release your PHI for workers’ compensation and similar programs.
Business Associates. A “business associate” is a person or entity that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of, or provides services to, a covered entity. We may disclose your PHI to our business associates who provide us with services necessary to operate and function as a medical practice. We will only provide the minimum information necessary for the associate(s) to perform their functions as it relates to our business operations. For example, we may use a separate company to process our billing or transcription services that require access to a limited amount of your health information. Please know and understand that all of our business associates are obligated to comply with the same HIPAA privacy and security rules which are obligated. Additionally, all of our business associated are under contract with us and committed to protect the privacy and security of your PHI.
Information Not Personally Identifiable. We may use and disclose health information about you in a way that does not personally identify you or reveal who you are.
E. OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES OF HEALTH INFORMATION
We will not disclose or use your PHI in the situations listed below without first obtaining written authorization to do so. In addition to the used and disclosures listed below, other uses not covered in this Notice will be made only with your written Authorization. If you provide us with authorization, you may revoke it at any time by submitting a request in writing:
Disclosure of psychotherapy notes
Disclosures for marketing purposes and sale of your Protected Health Information
We will not use and disclose your PHI for any purpose other than those identified in the previous sections without your specific, written Authorization. Examples of disclosures requiring your authorization include disclosures to your partner, your spouse, your children and your legal counsel.
F. YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR PHI
You have the following rights regarding the PHI that we maintain about you:
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 your physician 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.
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, except that by law you can request us to refuse to send PHI to insurance plans if you have paid for our services out-of-pocket. However, 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 your physician. Your request must describe in a clear and concise fashion:
(a) the information you wish restricted;
(b) whether you are requesting to limit our practice's use, disclosure or both; and
(c) to whom you want the limits to apply.
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, but not including psychotherapy notes. You must submit your request in writing to your physician in order to inspect and/or obtain a copy of your PHI. 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. This paragraph excludes the PHI of individuals who submitted an application for treatment but did not subsequently become patients by being physically seen in this office, regardless of whether they chose not to pursue their application, were physically unable to come in, or were refused for treatment. Application materials submitted by such individuals will not be copied, returned, or made available for inspection. These materials will be retained for a minimum of six months and then destroyed.
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 your physician. 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.
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 non-treatment, non-payment or non-operations purposes. Use of your PHI as part of the routine patient care in our practice is not required to be documented. For example, the doctor sharing information with the nurse; or the billing department using your information to file your insurance claim. In order to obtain an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to your physician. All requests for an “accounting of disclosures” must state a time period, which may not be longer than six (6) years from the date of disclosure and may not include dates before April 13, 2016. 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.
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 any employee.
Right to Provide an Authorization for Other Uses and Disclosures. Our practice will obtain your written authorization for uses and disclosures that are not identified by this notice or permitted by applicable law. Any authorization you provide to us regarding the use and disclosure of your PHI may be revoked at any time in writing. After you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your PHI for the purposes described in the authorization. Please note, we are required to retain records of your care.
G. NOTIFICATION OF BREACHES
In the event of a breach of your unsecured Protected Health Information, you have the right to be notified of such breach. We will notify you if there are any breaches of confidentiality on our part or on the part of our business associates.
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 your physician. 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 or our health information privacy policies, please contact your physician.