NOTICE OF HEALTH INFORMATION PRIVACY PRACTICES
As Required by the Privacy Regulations Created as a Result of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED OR DISCLOSED BY CHOICE MEDICAL GROUP (CMG) AND HOW TO ACCESS THIS INFORMATION
Effective Date Of This Notice: April 14, 2003 PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY If you have any questions about this notice, please contact Choice Medical Group’s General Manager at 408-995-0102. OUR PLEDGE REGARDING YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION We understand that health information about you and your healthcare is personal. We are committed to protecting health information about you. We will create a record of the care and services you receive from us. We do so to provide you with quality care and to comply with any legal or regulatory requirements.
This Notice applies to all of the records generated or received by CMG, whether we documented the health information, or another doctor forwarded it to us. This Notice will tell you the ways in which we may use or disclose health information about you. This Notice also describes 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.
Our pledge regarding your health information is backed-up by Federal law. The privacy and security provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) require us to:
- Make sure that health information that identifies you is kept private;
- Make available 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 may use or disclose health information about you. Unless otherwise noted each of these uses and disclosures may be made without your permission. For each category of use or disclosure, we will explain what we mean and give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, unless we ask for a separate authorization, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
For Treatment: We may use health information about you to provide you with healthcare treatment and services. We may disclose health information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, health students, volunteers or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you. They may work at our offices, at a hospital if you are hospitalized under our supervision, or at another doctor’s office, lab, pharmacy, or other healthcare 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 may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. We may provide that information to a physician treating you at another institution.
For Payment: We may use and disclose health information about you so that the treatment and services you receive from us may be billed to and payment collected from you, an insurance company, a state Medicaid agency or a third party. For example, we may need to give your health insurance plan information about your office visit so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the visit. Alternatively, we may need to give your health information to the state Medicaid agency so that we may be reimbursed for providing services to you. In some instances, we may need to 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 Healthcare Operations: We may use and disclose health information about you for operations of our healthcare 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 healthcare delivery without learning who our specific patients are.
Research. There may be situations where we want to use and disclose health information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the efficacy of one medication over another. Our practice may use and disclose your health information for research purposes in certain limited circumstances. We will obtain your written authorization to use your health information for research purposes except when : (a) our use or disclosure was approved by an Institutional Review Board or a Privacy Board; (b) we obtain the oral or written agreement of a researcher that (i) the information being sought is necessary for the research study; (ii) the use or disclosure of your health information is being used only for the research and (iii) the researcher will not remove any of your health information from our practice; or (c) the health information sought by the researcher only relates to decedents and the researcher agrees either orally or in writing that the use or disclosure is necessary for the research and, if we request it, to provide us with proof of death prior to access to the health information of the decedents.
Organ and Tissue Donation . Our practice may release your health information to organizations that handle organ or tissue procurement or transplantation, including organ donation banks, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation if you are an organ donor.
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 are 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. 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.
Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose health information about you in response to an order issued by a court or administrative tribunal. 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 after efforts have been made to tell you about the request and you have time 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 suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
- If you are the victim of a crime and we are unable to obtain your consent;
- About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
- In an instance of 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.
Such releases of information will be made only after efforts have been made to tell you about the request and you have time to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
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 to carry out their duties.
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 healthcare; (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 the following rights regarding health information we maintain about you:
Confidential Communications . You have the right to request that our practice communicate with you about your health and related issues in a particular manner or at a certain location. For instance, you may ask that we contact you at home, rather than work. In order to request a type of confidential communication, you must make a written request to General Manager, 408-995-0102 specifying the requested method of contact, or the location where you wish to be contacted. Our practice will accommodate reasonable requests. You do not need to give a reason for your request.
Requesting Restrictions . You have the right to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your health information for treatment, payment or health care operations. Additionally, you have the right to request that we restrict our disclosure of your health information to only certain individuals involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as family members and friends. We are not required to agree to your request ; however, if we do agree, we are bound by our agreement except when otherwise required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is necessary to treat you. In order to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your health information, you must make your request in writing to General Manager, 1834 Stone Avenue, Suite 2B , San Jose , CA 95125 . Your request must describe in a clear and concise fashion:
- the information you wish restricted;
- whether you are requesting to limit our practice’s use, disclosure or both; and
- to whom you want the limits to apply.
Inspection and Copies . You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the health information that may be used to make decisions about you, including patient medical records and billing records, but not including psychotherapy notes. You must submit your request in writing to General Manager, 1834 Stone Avenue, Suite 2B , San Jose , CA 95125 in order to inspect and/or obtain a copy of your health information. Our practice may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, labor and supplies associated with your request. Our practice may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances; however, you may request a review of our denial. Another licensed health care professional chosen by us will conduct reviews.
Amendment . You may ask us to amend your health information if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete, and you may request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our practice. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to General Manager, 1834 Stone Avenue, Suite 2B , San Jose , CA 95125 . You must provide us with a reason that supports your request for amendment. Our practice will deny your request if you fail to submit your request (and the reason supporting your request) in writing. Also, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that is in our opinion: (a) accurate and complete; (b) not part of the health information kept by or for the practice; (c) not part of the health information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or (d) not created by our practice, unless the individual or entity that created the information is not available to amend the information.
Accounting of Disclosures . All of our patients have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures.” An “accounting of disclosures” is a list of certain non-routine disclosures our practice has made of your health information for non-treatment or operations purposes. Use of your health information as part of the routine patient care in our practice is not required to be documented. For example, the doctor sharing information with the nurse; or the billing department using your information to file your insurance claim. In order to obtain an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing General Manager, 1834 Stone Avenue, Suite 2B , San Jose , CA 95125 . All requests for an “accounting of disclosures” must state a time period, which may not be longer than six (6) years from the date of disclosure and may not include dates before April 14, 2003 . The first list you request within a 12-month period is free of charge, but our practice may charge you for additional lists within the same 12-month period. Our practice will notify you of the costs involved with additional requests, and you may withdraw your request before you incur any costs.
Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice . You are entitled to receive a paper copy of our notice of privacy practices. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact General Manager, 1834 Stone Avenue, Suite 2B , San Jose , CA 95125 .
Right to File a Complaint . If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our practice or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our practice, contact General Manager, 1834 Stone Avenue, Suite 2B , San Jose , CA 95125 . All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint .
Right to Provide an Authorization for Other Uses and Disclosures . Our practice will obtain your written authorization for uses and disclosures that are not identified by this notice or permitted by applicable law. Any authorization you provide to us regarding the use and disclosure of your health information may be revoked at any time in writing . After you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your health information for the reasons described in the authorization. Please note, we are required to retain records of your care. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain the records of the care that we provided to you.
Again, if you have any questions regarding this notice or our health information privacy policies, please contact General Manager, 1834 Stone Avenue, Suite 2B , San Jose , CA 95125 .
MINORS AND PERSONS WITH GUARDIANS
Minors have all the rights outlined in this Notice with respect to health information relating to reproductive healthcare, except in emergency situations or when the law requires reporting of abuse and neglect.
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 you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current Notice in our facility. The Notice contains the effective date on the first page. In addition, each time you register for treatment or healthcare services, we will offer you a copy of the current Notice in effect.