Our Legal Duty
We are required by applicable federal and state laws to maintain the privacy of your protected health information. We are also required to give you this notice about our privacy practices, our legal duties, and your rights concerning your protected health information. We must follow the privacy practices that are described in this notice while it is in effect. This notice takes effect April 14, 2003, and will remain in effect until replaced.
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this notice at any time, provided that such changes are permitted by applicable law. We reserve the right to make the changes in our privacy practices and the new terms of our notice effective for all protected health information that we maintain, including medical information we created or received before we made the changes.
You may request a copy of our notice (or any subsequent revised notice) at any time. For more information about our privacy practices, or for additional copies of this notice, please contact us using the information listed at the end of this notice.
Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information
We will use and disclose the protected health information about you for treatment, payment, and health care operations. Following are examples of the types of uses and disclosures of your protected health care information that may occur. These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, but merely are here to describe the types of uses and disclosures that may be made by our office.
Treatment: We will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate or manage your health care and any related services, which includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party. For example, we could disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you. We would also disclose protected health information to other physicians who may be treating you. For example, your protected health information may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.
In addition, we may disclose your protected health information from time to time to another physician or health care provider (e.g., a specialist or laboratory) who, at the request of your physician, would become involved in your care by providing assistance with your health care diagnosis or treatment by your physician.
Payment: 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 recommend for you, such as: making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for protected health 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 this hospital admission.
Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose, as needed, your protected health information in order to conduct certain business and operational activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of students, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities.
For example, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your doctor is ready to see you. In addition, we may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to contact you by telephone or mail to remind you of your appointment.
We could share your protected health information with third party “business associates” that perform various activities (e.g., billing, transcription services) for the practice. Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your protected health information, we will have a written contract.