Privacy Practices

SEMO Health Network

NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

September 1, 2013

 

This notice describes how health 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 suggestions about this notice, please contact:  Chief Operations Officer, SEMO Health Network, P.O. Box 400, New Madrid, MO  63869

 

WHO WE ARE:

This Notice describes the privacy practices of SEMO Health Network and the privacy practices of:

  • All of our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals authorized to enter information about you into your medical chart.
  • All of our departments, including, e.g., our medical records and billing departments.
  • All of our health center sites.
  • All of our employees, staff, volunteers and other personnel who work for us or on our behalf.

 

OUR PLEDGE REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION:

We understand that health information about you and your health care is personal.  We are committed to protecting health information about you.  We create a record of the care and services you receive from us.  We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements.  This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by this health care practice, whether made by your personal doctor or others working in this office.  This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose health information about you.  We also describe your rights to the health information we keep about you, and describe certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of your health information.

 

We are required by law to:

  • Make sure that health information that identifies you is kept private;
  • Give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health information about you; and
  • Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.

 

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

 

The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose your health information.

 

For Treatment:  We may use health information about you to provide you with health care treatment or services.  We may disclose health information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, health students, or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you.  They may work at our offices, at the hospital if you are hospitalized under our supervision, or at another doctor’s office, lab, pharmacy, or other health care provider to whom we may refer you for consultation, to take x-rays, to perform lab tests, to have prescriptions filled, or for other treatment purposes.  For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process, in addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian at the hospital if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals.

 

For  Payment:  We may use and disclose health information about you so that the treatment and services you received from us may be billed to and payment collected from you, an insurance company, or a third party.  For example, we may need to give your health plan information about your office visit so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the visit.  We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.

 

For Health Care Operations:  We may use and disclose health information about you for operations of our health care practice.  These uses and disclosures are necessary to run our practice and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care.  For example, we may use health information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you.  We may also combine health information about many patients to decide what additional services we should offer, what services are not needed, whether certain new treatments are effective, or to compare how we are doing with others and to see where we can make improvements.  We may remove information that identifies you from this set of health information so others may use it to study health care delivery without learning who our specific patients are.

 

Health-Related Services and Treatment Alternatives:  We may use and disclose health information to tell you about health-related services or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.  Please let us know if you do not wish us to send you this information, or if you wish to have us use a different address to send this information to you.

 

Research:  Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose health information about you for research purposes.  For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition.  All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process.  This process evaluates a p proposed research project and its use of health information, trying to balance the research needs with patients’ need for privacy of their health information.  Before we use or disclose health information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process; but we may disclose health information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project.  For example, we may help potential researchers look for patients with specific health needs, so long as the health information they review does not leave our facility.  We will almost always ask for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address, or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care.

 

As Required By Law:  We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.

 

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety:  We 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.  Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.

 

Military and Veterans;  If you are a member of the armed forces or separated/discharged from military services, we may release health information about you as required by military command authorities or the Department of Veterans Affairs as may be applicable.  We may also release health information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authorities.

 

Workers’ Compensation:  We may release health information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs.  These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

 

Public Health Risks:  We may disclose health information about you for public health activities.  These activities generally include the following:

  • To prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
  • To report births and deaths;
  • To report child abuse or neglect;
  • To report reactions to medications or problems with products;
  • To notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
  • To notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
  • To notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, as required 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.

 

Lawsuits and Disputes:  If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order.  We may also disclose health information about you 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 to do so by a law enforcement official:

  • In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
  • To identify or locate a suspects, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
  • About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement;
  • About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
  • About criminal conduct at our facility; and
  • In emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description, or location of the person who committed the crime.

 

Coroners, Health Examiners and Funeral Directors:  We may release health information to a coroner or health examiner.  This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death.  We may also release health information about patients to funeral directors as necessary t carry out their duties.

 

Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation Purposes:  If you are an organ donor, we may disclose health information about you 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.

 

National Security and Intelligence Activities:  We may release health information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

 

Protective Services for the President and Others:  We may disclose health information about you to authorized federal officials so that they may provide Protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations.

 

Inmates:  If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release health information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official.  This release would be 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) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.

 

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

 

You have certain rights with respect to your personal health information.  This section of our notice describes your rights and how to exercise them.

 

Right to Inspect and Copy:  You have the right to inspect and copy health information that may be used to make decisions about your care.  Usually, this includes health and billing records.  This right does not include the right to inspect and copy psychotherapy notes, although we may, at your request and on payment of the applicable fee, provide you with a summary of these notes.

 

To inspect and copy health information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to our privacy contact person identified on the first page of this notice.  If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, or other supplies and services associated with your request.

 

We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances.  If you are denied access to health information, you may request that the denial be reviewed.   A license health care professional chosen by our practice will review your request and the denial.  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 Amend:  If you feel that health information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information.  You have the right to request an amendment for as long as we keep the information.  To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing, submitted to our privacy contact person identified on the first page of this notice, and must be contained on one page of paper legibly handwritten or typed in at least 10 point font size.  In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request for an amendment.

 

We may deny your request for amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request.  In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:

  • Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is not longer available to make the amendment;
  • Is not part of the health information kept by or for our practice;
  • Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
  • Is accurate and complete.

Any amendment we make to your health information will be disclosed to those with whom we disclose information as previously specified.

 

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures:  You have the right to request a list accounting for any disclosures of your health information that we have made.  Any accounting will not include all disclosures that we make.  For example, an accounting will not include disclosures:

  • To carry out treatment, payment and health care operations as previously described in this notice.
  • Pursuant to your written authorization.
  • To a family member, other relative, or personal friend involved in your care or payment for your care when you have given us written permission to do so.
  • To law enforcement officials.

To request this list of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to our privacy contact person identified on the first page of this notice.  Your request must state a time period which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003.  The first list you request within a 12 month period will be free.  For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list.  We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.  We will mail you a list of disclosures in paper form within 30 days of your request, or notify you if we are unable to supply the list within that time period and by what date we can supply the list; but this date will not exceed a total of 60 days from the date you made the request.

 

Right to Request Restrictions:  You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the health information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment, or health care operations.  For example, you could ask that we restrict a specified nurse from use of your information.

 

We are not required to agree to your request for restrictions if it is not feasible for us to comply with your request or believe it will negatively impact the care we may provide you.  If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.  To request a restriction, you must make your request in writing to our privacy contact person identified on the first page of this notice.  In your request, you must tell us what information you want to limit and to whom you want the limits to apply; for example, use of any information by specified nurse.

 

Right to Request Confidential Communications:  You have the right to request that we communicate with you about health matters in a certain way or at a certain location.  For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail to a post office box.

 

To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to our privacy contact person identified on the first page of this notice.  We will not ask you the reason for your request.  Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.

We will accommodate all reasonable requests.

 

Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice:  You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice at any time in any of our facilities.  You may also obtain a copy of this notice at our website, www.semohealthnetwork.org

 

CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE.

We reserve the right to change this notice.  We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for health information we already have about as well as any information we receive in the future.  We will post a copy of the current notice in our facility.  The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date.  In addition, each time you register for treatment or health care services, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.

 

COMPLAINTS.

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the federal Department of Health and Human Services.  To file a complaint with either entity, contact;

Chief Operations Officer

SEMO Health Network

P.O. Box 400

New Madrid, MO  63869

(573)748-2404

 

Who will provide you with the necessary assistance and paperwork.

 

All complaints must be submitted in writing.  You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

 

OTHER USES OF HEALTH INFORMATION.

 

Other uses and disclosures of health information not covered b y 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 health 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 health information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization.  You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retina our records of the care we provided to you.

 

DISCLOSURES OF INFORMATION.

Some disclosures of protected health information require a specific authorization.

Some examples include:

  • Disclosure of psychotherapy records can only be released by us, with your specific consent to do so.
  • Disclosure of personal health records for the purpose of marketing.

 

FUNDRAISING NOTIFICATIONS

It is possible that we may send fundraising information to you.  If we do, you have the right opt out of this type of communication, each time we offer it.

 

OUT-OF-POCKET PAYMENTS AND YOUR HEALTH CARE PLAN

If you have paid for health services out-of-pocket and request that this information not be released for this set of health care services to your health care plan (insurance coverage), we will abide by your wishes and not release this information.

 

BREACH NOTIFICATIONS

Finally, we are now required to notify you if and when there is a breach of your unsecured protected health information.

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