THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. If you have any questions about this notice, please contact our office: 304-766-4300
We are required by law to:
• Maintain the privacy of protected health information
• Give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices regarding health information about you
• Follow the terms of our notice that is currently in effect
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION:
The following describes the ways we may use and disclose your protected health information that identifies you (“Health Information”) 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 about you, including demographic information, that may identify you and that relates to your past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services. We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices. We may change the terms of our notice, at any time. The new notice will be effective for all protected health information that we maintain at that time. Upon your request, we will provide you with a revised Notice of Privacy Practices by calling the office and requesting that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail or asking for one at the time of your next appointment. Except for the purposes described below, we will use and disclose Health Information only with your written permission. You may revoke such permission at any time by writing to our practice Privacy Officer.
We may use and disclose Health Information for your treatment and to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and related services. This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party that has already obtained your permission to have access to your protected health information. For example, we may disclose Health Information to doctors, nurses, technicians, or other personnel, including people outside our office, who are involved in your medical care and need the information to provide you with medical care. In addition, we may disclose your protected health information from time-to-time to another physician or health car provider (e.g., a specialist or laboratory) who, at the request of your physician, becomes involved in your care by providing assistance with our health care diagnoses or treatment to your physician.
We may use and disclose Health Information so that we or others may bill and receive payment from you, an insurance company or a third party for the treatment and services you received. Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services. This may include certain activities that your health insurance plan may undertake before it approves or pays for the health care services we recommended for you such as, making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for medical necessity, and undertaking utilization review activities. For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.
For Health Care Operations:
We may use or disclose, as needed, your protected health information in order to support the business activities of your physician’s practice. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of medical students, licensing, marketing and fundraising activities, and conduction or arraigning for other business activities. For example, we may disclose your protected health information to medical school students that see patients at our office. In addition, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name and indicate your physician. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when our physician is ready to see you. We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to contact you to remind you of your appointment. We will share your protected health information with third party “business associates” that perform various activities (e.g. billing services) for the practice. Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure or your protected health information, we will have a written contract that contains terms that will protect the privacy of your protected health information. We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to provide you with information about treatment alternatives, or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may also use and disclose your protected health information for other marketing activities. For example, your name and address may be used to send you a newsletter about our practice and services we offer. We may also send you information about products or services that we believe may be beneficial to you. You may contact our Privacy Contact to request that these materials not be sent to you.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care:
When appropriate, we may share Health Information with a person who is involved in your medical care or payment for your care, such as your family or a close friend. We also may notify your family about your location or general condition or disclose such information to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort.
USES AND DISCLOSURES OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION BASED UPON YOUR WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION:
Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law described below. You make revoke this authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician’s practice has taken an action in reliance on the use of disclosure indicated in the authorization.
OTHER PERMITTED AND REQUIRED USES AND DISCLOSURES THAT MAY BE MADE WITH YOUR CONSENT, AUTHORIZATION OR OPPORTUNITY TO OBJECT:
We may use and disclose your protected health information in the following instances. You have the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure of all or part of your protected health information. If you are not present or able to agree or object to the use or disclosure of the protected health information, then your physician may, using professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in your best interest. In this case, only the protected health information that is relevant to your health care will be disclosed.
OTHERS INVOLVED IN YOUR HEALTHCARE: Unless you object, we may disclose to a member your family, a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, your protected health information that directly relates to that person’s involvement in your health care. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment. We may use or disclose protected health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person that is responsible for your care of your location, general condition, or death. Finally, we may use or disclose your protected health information to an authorized public or private entity to assist in disaster relief efforts and to coordinate uses and disclosures to family or other individuals involved in your health care.
EMERGENCIES: We may use or disclose your protected health information in any emergency treatment situation. If this happens, your physician or another physician in the practice is required by law to treat you and the physician has attempted to obtain your consent, he or she may still use or disclose your protected health information to treat you.
COMMUNICATION BARRIERS: We may use and disclose your protected health information if your physician or another physician in the practice attempts to obtain consent from you but is unable to do so due to substantial communication barriers and the physician determines, using professional judgment, that you intend to consent to use or disclose under the circumstances.
OTHER PERMITTED AND REQUIRED USES AND DISCLOSURES THAT MAY BE MADE WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT, AUTHORIZATION OR OPPORTUNITY TO OBJECT: We may use or disclose your protected health information in the following situations without your consent or authorization. These situations include:
REQUIRED BY LAW: We may use or disclose your protected health information to the extent that the use or disclosure is required by law. The use or disclosure will be made in compliance with the law and will be limited to the relevant requirements of the law. You will be notified: as required by law, of any such uses or disclosures.
TO AVERT A SERIOUS THREAT TO HEALTH OR SAFETY. We may use and disclose health information when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Disclosures, however, will be made only to someone who may be able to help prevent the threat.
BUSINESS ASSOCIATES. We may disclose health information to our business associates that perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the information is necessary for such functions or services. For example, we may use another company to perform billing services on our behalf. All business associates are obligated to protect the privacy of your information and are not allowed to use or disclose any information other than specified in our contract.
ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION. If you are an organ donor, we may use or release health information to organizations that handle organ procurement or other entities engaged in procurement, banking or transporting of organs, eyes or tissues to facilitate organ, eye or tissue donation and transplantation.
MILITARY ACTIVITY AND NATIONAL SECURITY. When the appropriate conditions apply, we may use or disclose protected health information of individuals who are Armed Forces personnel (1) for activist deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities; (2) for the purpose of a determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs of your eligibility for benefits, or (3) to foreign military authority if you are a member of that foreign services. We may also disclose your protected health information to authorized federal officials for conduction national security and intelligence activities, including for the provision of protective services to the President or others legally authorized.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION. Your protected health information may be disclosed by us as authorized to comply with workers’ compensation laws and other similar legally-established programs.
PUBLIC HEALTH RISKS. We may disclose your protected health information for public health activities and purposes to a public health authority that is permitted by law to collect or receive the information. The disclosure will be made for the purposes of controlling disease, injury, or disability, report births and deaths, report child abuse or neglect, report reactions to medications or problems with products, notify people of recalls of products they may be using, a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition, and the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. We may also disclose your protected health information, if directed by the public health authority, to a foreign government agency that is collaborating with the public health authority. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.
HEATH OVERSIGHT ACTIVITES: We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.