Notice of Privacy Practices

THE MEDICAL EYE CENTER, P.C.

NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

Effective Date: September 23, 2013

 

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.

 

PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY

 

If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact our Privacy Officer at the number listed at the end of this Notice.

 Each time you visit a healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, a plan for future care or treatment, and billing-related information.  This Notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by your health care provider.

Please be advised that The Medical Eye Center, P.C. participates in a shared electronic medical record with Elliot Health Systems and participating members of the medical staff of Elliot Hospital.  This means that when you visit this office, the hospital, or the offices of other participating members of the Elliot Hospital Medical Staff, all of your health information will be stored in one electronic medical record and used by those providers for treatment purposes.

Who is Required to Follow the Terms of This Notice:

This notice describes our medical group’s privacy practices and that of:

  • Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your medical record.
  • All departments and units of our medical group.
  • All employees and staff of our medical group.

Our Responsibilities:

The Medical Eye Center, P.C. is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with a description of our legal duties and privacy practices regarding your health information. The current Notice will be available at the front desk and will include the effective date.

We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice and notify you if we make changes to this Notice, which may be at any time. Changes to the Notice will apply to your medical information that we already maintain as well as new information received after the change occurs.

How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information About You:

The following describes the ways we may use and disclose health information that identifies you (“Health Information”). 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.

  • For Treatment: We may use and disclose Health Information for your treatment and to provide you with treatment-related health care services. 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.
  • For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about your treatment and services to bill and collect payment from you, your insurance company or a third party payer. For example, we may need to give your insurance company information before it approves or pays for the health care services we recommend for you. The insurance company may use that information in connection with making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for medical necessity, and undertaking utilization review activities.
  • For Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose, as needed, your health information in order to support our business activities. These uses and disclosures are necessary to make sure that all of our patients receive quality care and to operate and manage our office.  These activities may include, but are not limited to, internal auditing functions and administering compliance programs.  These activities may include, but are not limited to, calling you by name in the waiting room when your physician or technician is ready to see you.  We may contact you to remind you of your appointment either by phone or by mail.  We also may share information with other entities that have a relationship with you (for example, your health plan) for their health care operation activities.
  • Business Associates: There are some services provided in our organization through contracts with business associates (e.g., transcription services, radiology, laboratory tests). When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job that we have asked them to do and bill you or your third-party payer for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information through a written contract.

Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures That May Be Made With Your Consent, Authorization or Opportunity to Object

 

We also may use and disclose your health information as set forth below. You have the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure of all or part of your health information in these instances. If you are not present or able to agree or object to the use or disclosure of the health information (such as in an emergency situation), then your physician may, using professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in your best interest.  In this case, only the information that is relevant to your health care will be disclosed.

  • Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care: Unless you object, we may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care or who helps to pay for your care. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
  • Future Communications: We may communicate to you via mailings or telephone calls regarding treatment options; information on health-related benefits or services; to remind you that you have an upcoming appointment; to inform you of an appointment change or to assess your satisfaction with our services.

Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures That May Be Made Without Your Authorization or Opportunity to Object

We may use or disclose your health information in the following situations without your authorization or without providing you with an opportunity to object. These situations include:

  • As Required by Law. We will disclose Health Information when required to do so by international, federal, state or local law.
  • 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.
  • Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release Health Information as required by military command authorities. We also may release Health Information to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military.
  • Workers’ Compensation. We may release Health Information for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
  • Public Health Risks. We may disclose Health Information for public health activities. These activities generally include disclosures to prevent or control 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 will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.
  • Health Oversight Activities. 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.
  • Data Breach Notification Purposes. We may use or disclose your Protected Health Information to provide legally required notices of unauthorized access to or disclosure of your health information.
  • Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose Health Information in response to a court or administrative order. We also may disclose Health Information in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
  • Law Enforcement. We may release Health Information if asked by a law enforcement official if the information is: (1) in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; (2) limited information to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; (3) about the victim of a crime even if, under certain very limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement; (4) about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; (5) about criminal conduct on our premises; and (6) in an emergency to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.
  • Organ and Tissue Donation.       If you are an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
  • Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Director We may release Health Information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death.  We also may release Health Information to funeral directors as necessary for their duties.
  • National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release Health Information to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counter-intelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
  • Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose Health Information to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or to conduct special investigations.
  • Inmates or Individuals in Custody. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release Health Information to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be if necessary: (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) the safety and security of the correctional institution.

Your Written Authorization is Required For Other Uses and Disclosures

The following uses and disclosures of your Protected Health Information will be made only with your written authorization:

  1. Uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information for marketing purposes; and
  2. Disclosures that constitute a sale of your Protected Health Information

Other uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization. If you do give us an authorization, you may revoke it at any time by submitting a written revocation to our Privacy Officer and we will no longer disclose Protected Health Information under the authorization.  But disclosure that we made in reliance on your authorization before you revoked it will not be affected by the revocation.

Your Health Information Rights

Although your health record is the physical property of The Medical Eye Center, P.C. that compiled it, you have the right to:

You have the following rights regarding Health Information we have about you:

  • Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care. You must make your request in writing.  Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes or information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or for use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding.  We have up to 30 days to make your Protected Health Information available to you and we may charge you a reasonable fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.  We may not charge you a fee if you need the information for a claim for benefits under the Social Security Act or any other state of federal needs-based benefit program. We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances.  Depending on the grounds for the denial, you may request that the denial be reviewed.  The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request.  We will comply with the outcome of the review.   
  • Right to an Electronic Copy of Electronic Medical Records. If your Protected Health Information is maintained in an electronic format (known as an electronic medical record or an electronic health record), you have the right to request that an electronic copy of your record be given to you or transmitted to another individual or entity. We will make every effort to provide access to your Protected Health Information in the form or format you request, if it is readily producible in such form or format. If the Protected Health Information is not readily producible in the form or format you request your record will be provided in either our standard electronic format or if you do not want this form or format, a readable hard copy form.  We may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for the labor associated with transmitting the electronic medical record.
  • Right to Get Notice of a Breach. You have the right to be notified upon a breach of any of your unsecured Protected Health Information.
  • Right to Amend. If you feel that Health Information we have is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our office.  To request an amendment, you must make your request, in writing.
  • Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an accounting of our disclosures of medical information about you except for certain circumstances, including disclosures for treatment, payment, health care operations or where you specifically authorized a disclosure.
  • Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the Health Information we use or disclose for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the Health Information we disclose to someone involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend.  For example, you could ask that we not share information about a particular diagnosis or treatment with your spouse.  To request a restriction, you must make your request, in writing.  We are not required to agree to your request unless you are asking us to restrict the use and disclosure of your Protected Health Information to a health plan for payment or health care operation purposes and such information you wish to restrict pertains solely to a health care item or service for which you have paid us “out-of-pocket” in full. If we agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
  • Out-of-Pocket-Payments. If you paid out-of-pocket (or in other words, you have requested that we not bill your health plan) in full for a specific item or service, you have the right to ask that your Protected Health Information with respect to that item or service not be disclosed to a health plan for purposes of payment or health care operations, and we will honor that request.
  • Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location.  For example, you can ask that we only contact you by mail or at work.  To request confidential communications, you must make your request, in writing.  Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.  We will accommodate reasonable requests.
  • Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time.  Even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice.  You may obtain a copy of this notice at our web site, www.bgseyecenter.com.  To obtain a paper copy of this notice, please contact the Privacy Officer or any member of The Medical Eye Center.

To exercise any of your rights, please obtain the required forms from the Privacy Officer and submit your request in writing.

Complaints

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with The Medical Eye Center, P.C. by contacting (603) 668-2020 and asking for the Privacy Officer or by contacting the Secretary of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. All complaints must be submitted in writing.

You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

Other Uses of Medical Information

Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time.  If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization.  However, we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission and we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.

Please contact (603) 668-2020 and ask for the PRIVACY OFFICER, if you have any questions regarding this notice.