I. 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.
II. WE HAVE A LEGAL DUTY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI). We are legally required to protect the privacy of your health information. We call this information protected health information, or PHI for short, and it includes information that can be used to identify you that we’ve created or received about your past, present, or future health condition, the provision of health care to you, or the payment of this health care. We must provide you with this notice about our privacy practices that explains how, when, and why we use and disclose your PHI. With some exceptions, we may not use or disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose of the use or disclosure. We are legally required to follow the privacy practices that are described in this notice.
However, we reserve the right to change the terms of this notice and our privacy policies at any time. Any changes will apply to the PHI we already have. Before we make an important change to our policies, we will promptly change this notice and post a new notice in the main reception area. You can also request a copy of this notice from the contact person listed in section VI, below, at any time.
III. HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION.
We use and disclose health information for many different reasons. For some of these uses or disclosures we need your specific authorization. Below, we describe the different categories of our uses and disclosures and give you some examples of each category.
A. Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Organizations. We may use and disclose your PHI for the following reasons.
- For treatment. We may disclose your PHI to physicians, nurses, medical students, and other health care personnel in your care. For example, if you’re being treated for a knee injury, we may disclose your PHI to the physical rehabilitation facility in order to coordinate your care.
- To obtain payment for treatment. We may use and disclose your PHI in order to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided to you. For example, we may provide portions of your PHI to our business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies, and others that process our health care claims.
- For health care operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you to operate this medical practice. For example, we may use and disclose this information to review and improve the quality of care we provide, or the competence and qualifications of our professional staff. Or we may use and disclose this information to get your health plan to authorize services or referrals. We may also use and disclose this information as necessary for medical reviews, legal services and audits, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs and business planning and management. We may also share your medical information with our “business associates”, such as our billing service that performs administrative services for us. We have a written contract with each of these business associates that contains terms requiring them to protect the confidentiality and security of your medical information. Although federal law does not protect health information which is disclosed to someone other than another healthcare provider, health plan, healthcare clearinghouse, or one of their business associates, California law prohibits all recipients of healthcare information from further disclosing it except as specifically required or permitted by law. We may also share your information with other healthcare providers, healthcare clearinghouses or health plans that have a relationship with you, when they request this information to help them with their quality assessment and improvement activities, their patient-safety activities, their population-based efforts to improve health or reduce healthcare costs, protocol development, case management or care coordination activities, their review of competence, qualifications and performance of healthcare professionals, their training programs, their accreditation, certification or licensing activities, their activities related to contracts of health insurance or health benefits, or their healthcare fraud and abuse detection and compliance efforts. We may also share medical information about you with the other healthcare providers, healthcare clearinghouses and health plans that participate with us in “organized healthcare arrangements” (OHCAs) for any of the OHCA’s healthcare operations. OHCAs include hospitals, physician organizations, health plans, and other entities which collectively provide healthcare services. A listing of the OHCAs we participate in is available from the Privacy Official.
B. Certain Uses and Disclosures Do Not Require Your Authorization. We may use and disclose your PHI without your authorization for the following reasons.
- When a disclosure is required by federal, state, or local law, judicial or administrative proceedings, or law enforcement. For example, we make disclosures when a law requires that we report information to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, when dealing with gunshot or other wounds, or when ordered in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
- For public health activities. For example, we report information about births, deaths, and various diseases to government officials in charge of collecting that information, and we provide coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors necessary information relating to an individual’s death.
- For health oversight activities. For example, we will provide information to assist the government when it conducts an investigation or inspection of a health care provider or organization.
- For research purposes. In certain circumstances, we may provide PHI in order to conduct medical research.
- To avoid harm. In order to avoid a serious threat to the health and safety of a person or the public, we may provide PHI to law enforcement personnel or persons able to prevent or lessen such harm.
- For specific government functions. We may disclose PHI of military personnel and veterans in certain situations. And we may disclose PHI for national security purposes, such as protecting the president of the United States or conducting intelligence operations.
- For workers’ compensation purposes. We may provide PHI in order to comply with workers’ compensation laws.
- Appointment reminders and health-related benefits or service. We may use PHI to provide appointment reminders or give you information about treatment alternatives or other health care services or benefits we offer.
C. Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have the Opportunity to Object. Disclosures to family, friends, or others. We may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment of your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
D. All Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in sections IIIA, B, and C above, we will ask for your written authorization before using or disclosing any of your PHI. If you choose to sign an authorization to disclose your PHI, you can later revoke that authorization in writing to stop any future uses and disclosures (to the extent that we haven’t taken any action relying on the authorization).
IV. WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PHI. You have the following rights with respect to your PHI:
- The Right To Request Limits on Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI. You have the right to ask that we use and disclose your PHI. We will consider your request but are not legally required to accept it. If we accept your request, we will put any limits in writing and abide by them except in emergency situations. You may not limit the uses and disclosures that we are legally required or allowed to make.
- The Right to Choose How We send PHI to You. You have the right to ask that we send information to you to an alternate address (for example, sending information to your work address rather than your home address) or by alternate means (for example, e-mail instead of regular mail). We must agree to your request so long as we can easily provide it in the format you requested.
- The Right to See and Get Copies of Your PHI. In most cases, you have the right to look at or get copies of your PHI that we have, but you must make the request in writing. If we don’t have your PHI but we know who does, we will tell you how to get it. We will respond to you within 30 days after receiving your request. In certain situations, we may deny your request. If we do, we will tell you, in writing, our reasons for the denial and explain your right to have the denial reviewed. Instead of providing the PHI you requested, we may provide you with a summary or an explanation of the PHI as long as you agree to that and to the cost in advance.
- The Right to Get a List of the Disclosures We Have Made. You have the right to get a list of instances in which we have disclosed your PHI. The list will not include uses or disclosures that you have already consented to, such as those made for treatment, payment, or health care operations, directly to you, to your family, or in our facility directory. The list also won’t include uses and disclosures made for national security purposes, to corrections or law enforcement personnel, or before April 14, 2003.
We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. The list we will give you will include disclosures made in the last six years unless you request a shorter time. The list will include the date of the disclosure, to whom PHI was disclosed (including their address, if known). A description of the information disclosed, and the reason for the disclosure. We will provide the list to you at no charge, but if you make more than one request in the same year, we will charge you $15.00 for each additional request.
- The Right To Correct or Update Your PHI. If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI or that a piece of important information is missing, you have the right to request that we correct the existing information. You must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. We may deny your request in writing if the PHI is (i) correct and complete, (ii) not created by us, (iii) not allowed to be disclosed, or (iv) not part of our records. Our written denial will state the reasons for the denial and explain your right to file a written statement of disagreement with the denial. If you don’t file one, you have the right to request that your request and our denial be attached to all future disclosures of your PHI, tell you that we have done it, and tell others that need to know about the change to your PHI.
V. PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PRIVACY PRACTICES.
If you have any questions about this notice or any complaints about our privacy practices or would like to know how to file a complaint with the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, please contact: Midori Elfrink, PO Box 6305 Oxnard, CA 93031, (805) 988-0616, Ext 214, or email@example.com.
If you think that we may have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your PHI, you may file a complaint with the person listed above. You also may send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Ave. S. W. Washington, D.C. 20201. We will take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about our privacy practices.
VI. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE
This notice went into effect on January 1, 2014.