Notice of Privacy Practices
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. I HAVE A LEGAL DUTY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI).
I am legally required to protect the privacy of your PHI, which includes information that can be used to identify you that I’ve created or received about your past, present, or future health or condition, that provision of health care to you, or the payment of this health care. I must provide you with this Notice about my privacy practices, and such Notice must explain how, when, and why I will “use” and“disclose” your PHI. A “use” of PHI occurs when I share, examine, utilize, apply, or analyze such information within my practice; PHI is “disclosed” when it is released, transferred, has been given to, or is otherwise divulged to a third party outside of my practice. With some exceptions, I may not use or disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the use or disclosure is made. And, I am legally required to follow the privacy practices described in this Notice.
However, I reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice and my privacy policies at any time. Any changes will apply to PHI on file with me already. Before I make any important changes to my policies, I will promptly change this Notice and provide you with a new copy.
III. HOW I MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PHI
I will use and disclose your PHI for many different reasons. For some of these uses or disclosures, I will need your prior written authorization; for others, however, I do not. Listed below are the different categories of my uses and disclosures along with some examples of each category.
A. Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operation Do not require Your Written Consent. I can use and disclose your PH without your consent for the following reasons:
1. For Treatment. I can use your PHI within my practice to provide you with mental health treatment. I can disclose your PHI to physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other licensed health care providers who provided you with health care services or are involved in your care. For example, if a psychiatrist is treating you, I can disclose your PHI to your psychiatrist to coordinate your care
2. To Obtain Payment for Treatment. I can use and disclose your PHI to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided by me to you. For example, I might send your PHI to your insurance company or health plan to get paid for the health care services that I have provided to you. Imay also provide you PHI to my business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies, and others that process my health care claims.
3. For Health Care Operations. I can use and disclose your PHI to operate my practice. For example, I might use your PHI to evaluate the quality of health care services that you received or to evaluate the performance of the health care professionals who provided such services to you. I may also provide your PHI to my accountant, attorney, consultants, or others to further my health care operations.
4. Patient Incapacitation or Emergency. I may also disclose your PHI to others without your consent if you are incapacitated or if an emergency exists. For example, you consent isn’t required if you need emergency treatment, as long as I try to get your consent after treatment is rendered, or if I try to get your consent but you are unable to communicate with me (for example, if you are unconscious or in severe pain) and I think that you would consent to such treatment if you were able to do so.
B. Certain Other Uses and Disclosures Also Do Not Require Your Consent or Authorization. I can use and disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:
- When federal, state, or local laws required disclosure. For example, I may have to make a disclosure to applicable governmental officials when a law requires me to report information to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of abuse or neglect.
- When judicial or administrative proceedings required disclosure. For example, if you are involved in a lawsuit or a claim for worker’s compensation benefits, I may have to use or disclose your PHI in response to a court or administrative order, I may also have to use or disclose your PHI in response to a subpoena.
- When law enforcement requires disclosure. For example, I may have to use or disclose your PHI in response to a search warrant.
- When public health activities require disclosure. For example, I may have to use or disclose your PHI to report to a government official an adverse reaction that you have to a medication.
- When health oversight activities required disclosure. For example, I may have to provide information to assist the government in conducting an investigation or inspection of a health care provider or organization.
- To avert a serious threat to health or safety. For example, I may have to use or disclose your PHI to avert a serious threat to the health or safety of others. However, any such disclosures will only be made to someone able to prevent the threatened harm from occurring.
- For specialized government functions. If you are in the military, I may have to use or disclose your PHI for national security purposes, including protecting the President of the United States or conducting intelligence operations.
- To remind you about appointments and to inform you of health-related benefits or services. For example, I may have to use or disclose your PHI to remind you about your appointments, or to give you information about treatment alternatives, other health care services, or other health care benefits that I offer that may be of interest to you.
C. Certain Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have the Opportunity to Object.
1. Disclosures to Family, Friends, or Others. I may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
D. Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in sections III A, B, and C above, I will need 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 such authorization in writing to stop any future uses and disclosures (to the extent that I haven’t taken any action in reliance on such authorization) of your PHI by me.
IV. WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PHI
You have the following rights with respect to your PHI:
A. The Right to Request Restrictions on My Uses and Disclosures. You have the right to request restrictions or limitation on my uses or disclosures of your PHI to carry out my treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request that I restrict or limit disclosures of your PHI to family members or friends or to others involved in your care or who are financially responsible for your care. Please submit such requests to me in writing. I will consider your requests, but I am not legally required to accept them. If I do accept your requests, I will put them in writing and I will abide by them, except in emergency situations. However, be advised, that you may not limit the uses and disclosures that I am legally required to make.
B. The Right to Choose How I Send PHI to You. You have the right to request that I send confidential 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). I must agree to your request so long as it is reasonable and you specify how or where you wish to be contacted, and, when appropriate, you provide me with information as to how payment for such alternate communication will be handled. I may not require an explanation form you as to the basis of your request as a condition of providing communications as a confidential basis.
C.The Right to Inspect and Copy Your PHI. In most cases, you have the right to inspect and copy the PHI that I have on you, but you must make the request to inspect and copy such information in writing. If I don’t have your PHI but I know who does, I’ll tell you how to get it. I will respond to your request within 30 days of receiving your written request. In certain situations, I may deny your request. If I do, I will tell you, in writing, my reasons for the denial and explain your right to have my denial reviewed.
If you request copies of your PHI, I will charge you not more than $.25 for each page. Instead of providing the PHI you requested, I may provide you with a summary or explanation of the PHI as long as you agree to that and to the cost in advance.
D. The Right to Receive a List of the Disclosures I Have Made. You have the right to receive a list of instances, i.e., an Accounting Disclosures, in which I have disclosed your PHI. The list will not include disclosures made for my treatment, payment, or health care operations; disclosures made to you; disclosures you authorized; disclosures incident to a use or disclosure permitted or required by the federal privacy rule; disclosures made for national security or intelligence; disclosures made to correctional institutions or law enforcement personnel; or, disclosures made before April 14, 2003.
I will respond to your request for an Accounting of Disclosures within 60 days of receiving such request. The list I will give you will include disclosures made in the last six years unless you request a shorter time. The list will include the date the disclosure was made, to whom the PHI was disclosed(including their address, if known), a description of the information disclosed, and the reason for the disclosure. I will provide the list to you at no cost, but if you make more than one request in the same year, I may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for each additional request.
E. The Right to Amend 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 I correct the existing information or add the missing information. You must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. I will respond within 60 days of receiving your request to correct or update your PHI. I may deny your request in writing if the PHI is (i) correct and complete, (ii) not created by me, (iii) not allowed to be disclosed, or (iv) not part of my records. My 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 my denial be attached to all future disclosures of your PHI. If I approve your request, I will make the change to your PHI, tell you that I have done it, and tell others that need to know about the change to your PHI.
F. The Right to receive a Paper Copy of this Notice. You have the right to receive a paper copy of this Notice.
V. HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY PRIVACY PRACTICES
If you think that I may have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision I made about access to your PHI, you may file a complaint with the person listed in Section VI below. You also may send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at 200Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201. I will take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about my privacy practices.
VI. PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY PRIVACY PRACTICES
If you have any questions about this Notice or any complaints about my privacy practices, or would like to know how to file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Services, please contact me at (805) 886-5538.
VII. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE
This notice went into effect on April 14, 2003.
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