At our hospital, we are committed to treating and using protected health information about you responsibly. This Notice of Privacy Policies describes the personal information we collect, and how and when we use or disclose that information. It also describes your rights as they relate to your protected health information. This Notice is effective April 14, 2003, and applies to all protected health information as defined by federal regulations.
Understanding Your Health Record
Each time you visit our hospital, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a:
• Basis for planning your care and treatment,
• Means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care,
• Legal document describing the care you received,
• Means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided,
• Tool in educating health professionals,
• Source of data for medical research,
• Source of information for public health officials charged to improve the health of the state and nation,
• Source of data for our planning and marketing, and
• Tool by which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and outcomes we achieve.
Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to: ensure its accuracy; better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information; and make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.
Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of our hospital, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:
• Obtain a paper copy of this notice of privacy policies upon request,
• Inspect and copy your health record as provided by 45 CFR 164.524,
• Amend your health record as provided by 45 CFR 164.526,
• Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information as provided by 45 CFR 164.528,
• Request confidential communications of your health information as provided by 45 CFR 164.522, and
• Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information as provided by 45 CFR 164.522 (our hospital, however, is not required by law to agree to a requested restriction).
Our hospital is required to:
• Maintain the privacy of your health information,
• Provide you with this notice as to our legal duties and privacy hospitals with respect to information we collect and maintain about you,
• Abide by the terms of this notice,
• Notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction, and
• Accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate your health information.
We reserve the right to change our hospitals and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. We will keep a posted copy of the most current notice in our facility containing the effective date in the top, right-hand corner. In addition, each time you visit our facility for treatment, you may obtain a copy of the current notice in effect upon request.
We will not use or disclose your health information in a manner other than described in the section regarding Examples Of Disclosures For Treatment, Payment, And Health Operations, without your written authorization, which you may revoke as provided by 45 CFR 164.508(b)(5), except to the extent that action has already been taken.
For More Information Or To Report A Problem
If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact our hospital’s Corporate Privacy Officer at (318) 226-8202.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can either file a complaint with our Privacy Officer, or with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OCR). There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint with either our Privacy Officer or the OCR. The address for the OCR is as follows:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
Examples of Disclosures For Treatment, Payment, And Health Operations
We will use your health information for treatment.
Information obtained by a nurse, physician, or other member of your health care team will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your physician will document in your record his or her expectations of the members of your health care team. Members of your health care team will then record the actions they took and their observations. In that way, the physician will know how you are responding to treatment.
We will also provide your other physician(s) or subsequent health care provider(s) (when applicable) with copies of various reports that should assist them in treating you.
We will use your health information for payment.
A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used.
We will use your health information for regular health operations.
Members of the medical staff, the risk or quality improvement manager, or members of the quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in an effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and service we provide.
• Business Associates
There are some services provided in our organization through contacts with business associates. Examples include physician services in the emergency department and radiology, certain laboratory tests, and a transcription service we use to transfer dictated patient care into the medical record. Due to the nature of business associates’ services, they must receive your health information in order to perform the jobs we’ve asked them to do. To protect your health information, however, when these services are contracted we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
We may disclose information to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information.
• Funeral directors
We may disclose health information to funeral directors to carry out their duties consistent with applicable law.
• Organ Procurement Organizations
Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
We may contact you as part of a fund-raising effort.
• Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
We may disclose to the FDA health information relative to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, product and product defects, or post marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacement.
• Workers Compensation
We may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
• Public Health
As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
• Appointment Reminders
We may contact you or a family member at the phone number you have provided to us as a reminder that you have an appointment.
We may contact you to provide information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
Unless you notify us that you object, we will use your name, location in the facility, and general condition for our directory purposes. This information may be provided to members of your family and to other people who ask for you by name.
We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member or personal representative (or other person responsible for your care) of your location and general condition.
• Communication With Family
Health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relative, or close personal friend (or any other person you identify) health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
• Law Enforcement
We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena.
Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority, or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers, or the public.