HIPPA Notice of Privacy Practices
Effective Date: April 14, 2003
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.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact our Privacy Officer @ (219) 738-2081.
This Notice of Privacy Practices describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations and for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. It also describes your rights to access and control your protected health information. "Protected health information" is information about you, including demographic information that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services.
We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices. We may change the terms of our notice at any time. The new notice will be effective for all protected health information that we maintain at that time. Upon your request, you may receive any revised Notice of Privacy Practice by accessing our website at www.gimed.com, by calling the office and requesting that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail or by asking for a copy at the time of your next appointment.
Who Will Follow This Notice
This notice describes our facility's practices and that of the following:
- Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your chart.
- All departments of Internal Medicine Associates
- Any student we allow to observe while you are at Internal Medicine Associates
- All employees and staff.
Our Pledge Regarding Medical Information:
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive at Internal Medicine Associates. 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 Internal Medicine Associates, whether made by staff or your personal doctor.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to:
- make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;
- post this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and
- follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
How We May Use And Disclose Medical Information About You
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
- Treatment We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you at Internal Medicine Associates. 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. Different departments may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays. We may disclose medical information about you to people outside of Internal Medicine Associates who may be involved in your medical care such as family members or other service providers that we use as part of your care.
In addition, we may disclose your protected health information from time-to-time to another physician or health care provider (e.g. , a specialist or laboratory) who, at the request of your physician, becomes involved in your care by providing assistance with your health care diagnosis or treatment to your physician.
- Payment Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services. This may include certain activities that your health insurance plan may undertake before it approves or pays for the health care services we recommend for you, such as making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for medical necessity, and undertaking utilization review activities. For example, obtaining approval for a procedure may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the procedure.
- Health Care Operations We may use or disclose, as-needed, your protected health information in order to support the business activities of your physician's practice. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of medical students, licensing, marketing and fundraising activities, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. For example, we may disclose your protected health information to medical school students that see patients at our office. In addition, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you.
- Appointment Reminders We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at Internal Medicine Associates. We may mail you a letter to remind you that it is time to schedule a procedure.
- Follow-Up Care We may use and disclose medical information when contacting you or attempting to contact you by phone regarding various test results, changes in appointment times, or other reasons in an ongoing effort to coordinate your care.
- Treatment Alternatives We may use and disclose medical information to research the availability of possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
- Health-Related Benefits and Services We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
- Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information Based upon Your Written Authorization Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your written authorization unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below. You may revoke this authorization at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician's practice has taken an action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.
- Others Involved in Your Healthcare Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, your protected health information that directly relates to that person's involvement in your health care. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment. We may use or disclose protected health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person that is responsible for your care of your location, general condition or death. Finally, we may use or disclose your protected health information to an authorized public or private entity to assist in disaster relief efforts and to coordinate uses and disclosures to family or other individuals involved in your health care.
Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures that May Be Made Without Your Authorization or Opportunity to Object:
We may use or disclose your protected health information in the following situations without your authorization. These situations include the following:
- Required By Law We may use or disclose your protected health information to the extent that the use or disclosure is required by law. The use or disclosure will be made in compliance with the law and will be limited to the relevant requirements of the law. You will be notified, as required by law, of any such uses or disclosures.
- Public Health We may disclose your protected health information for public health activities and purposes to a public health authority that is permitted by law to collect or receive the information. The disclosure will be made for the purpose of controlling disease, injury or disability. We may also disclose your protected health information, if directed by the public health authority, to a foreign government agency that is collaborating with a public health authority.
- Communicable Diseases We may disclose your protected health information, if authorized by law, to a person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or may otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading the disease or condition.
- Health Oversight We may disclose protected health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies that oversee the health care system, government benefit programs, other government regulatory programs and civil rights laws.
- Abuse or Neglect We may disclose your protected health information to a public health authority that is authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. In addition, we may disclose your protected health information if we believe that you have been a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence to the governmental entity or agency authorized to receive such information. In this case, the disclosure will be made consistent with the requirements of applicable federal and state laws.
- Food and Drug Administration We may disclose your protected health information to a person or company required by the Food and Drug Administration to report adverse events, product defects or problems, biologic product defects or problems, biologic product deviations, to track products; to enable product recalls; to make repairs or replacements, or to conduct post marketing surveillance, as required.
- Legal Proceedings We may disclose protected health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal (to the extent such disclosure is expressly authorized), in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process.
- Law Enforcement We may disclose protected health information, so long as applicable legal requirements are met, for law enforcement purposes. These law enforcement purposes include (1) legal processes and otherwise required by law, (2) limited information requests for identification and location purposes, (3) pertaining to victims of a crime, (4) suspicion that death has occurred as a result of criminal conduct, (5) in the event that a crime occurs on the premises of the practice, and (6) medical emergency (not on the Practice's premises) and it is likely that a crime has occurred.
- Coroners, Funeral Directors, and Organ Donation We may disclose protected health information to a coroner or medical examiner for identification purposes, determining cause of death or for the coroner or medical examiner to perform other duties authorized by law. We may also disclose protected health information to a funeral director, as authorized by law, in order to permit the funeral director to carry out his/her duties. We may disclose such information in reasonable anticipation of death. Protected health information may be used and disclosed for cadaver organ, eye and/or tissue donation purposes.
- Research We may disclose your protected health 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 protected health information.
- Criminal Activity Consistent with applicable federal and state laws, we may disclose your protected health information, if we believe that the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. We may also disclose protected health information if it is necessary for law enforcement authorities to identify or apprehend an individual.
- Military Activity and National Security When the appropriate conditions apply, we may use or disclose protected health information of individuals who are Armed Forces personnel (1) for activities deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities, (2) for the purpose of a determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs of your eligibility for benefits, or (3) to a foreign military authority if you are a member of the foreign military service. We may also disclose your protected health information to authorized federal officials for conducting national security and intelligence activities, including for the provision of protective services to the President or others legally authorized.
- Workers' Compensation Your protected health information may be disclosed by us as authorized to comply with workers' compensation laws and other similar legally-established programs.
- Inmates We may use or disclose your protected health information if you are an inmate of a correctional facility and your physician created or received your protected health information in the course of providing care to you.
- Required Uses and Disclosures Under the law, we must make disclosures to you and when required by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate or determine our compliance with the requirements of Section 164.500.
Your Rights Regarding Medical Information About You
Following is a statement of your rights with respect to your protected health information and a brief description of how you may exercise these rights.
- You have the right to inspect and copy your protected health information This means you may inspect and obtain a copy of protected health information about you that is contained in a designated record set for as long as we maintain the protected health information. A "designated record set" contains medical and billing records and any other records that your physician and the practice uses for making decisions about you. To inspect and copy such information, you must submit your request in writing. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge you a reasonable fee to cover expenses associated with your request.
Under federal law, however, you may not inspect or copy the following records: psychotherapy notes; information compiled in reasonable anticipation of or use in a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding, and protected health information that is subject to law that prohibits access to protected health information. Depending on the circumstances, a decision to deny access may be reviewable. In some circumstances, you may have a right to have this decision reviewed. Please contact our Privacy Officer if you have questions about access to your medical record.
- You have the right to request a restriction of your protected health information This means you may ask us not to disclose any part of your protected health information for the purposes of treatment, payment or healthcare operations. You may also request that any part of your protected health information not be disclosed to family members or friends who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices. Your request must state the specific restrictions requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply.
Your physician is not required to agree to a restriction that you may request. If the physician believes it is in your best interest to permit use and disclosure of your protected health information, your protected health information will not be restricted. If your physician does agree to the requested restriction, we may not use or disclose your protected health information in violation of that restriction unless it is needed to provide emergency treatment. With this in mind, please discuss any restriction you wish to request with your physician. You may request a restriction by contacting our Privacy Officer.
- You have the right to have your physician amend your protected health information This means you may request an amendment of protected health information about you in a designated record set for as long as we maintain this information. In certain cases, we may deny your request for an amendment. If we deny your request for an amendment, you have the right to file a Statement of Disagreement with us and we may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy of any such rebuttal. If you have questions about amending your medical record, please contact our Privacy Officer.
- You have the right to receive an accounting of certain disclosures we have made, if any, of your protected health information This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment or healthcare operations as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices. It excludes disclosures we may have made to you, family members or friends involved in your care, or for notification purposes. You have the right to receive specific information regarding these disclosures that occurred after April 14, 2003. You may request a shorter timeframe. If you would like to make a request for restrictions, you must submit your request in writing. The right to receive this information is subject to certain exceptions, restrictions and limitations.
- You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from us upon request, even if you have agreed to accept this notice electronically.
You may complain to us or to the Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated by us. Website for the Office for Civil Rights is: www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/ You may file a complaint with us by notifying our Privacy Officer of your complaint. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
You may contact our Privacy Officer at (219)738-2081 or e-mail our Privacy Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about the complaint process.
This notice was published and becomes effective on April 14, 2003.
Omnibus Final Rule: 2013
Final modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules mandated by the Health Information technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH), Act, are as follow:
- You have the right to be notified of a data breach.
- You have the right to ask for a copy of your electronic medical record in an electronic form.
- If you pay in cash in full (out of pocket) for your treatment, you can instruct Internal Medicine Associates not to share information about your treatment with your health plan.
- You have the right to opt out of fundraising communications from Internal Medicine Associates, and Internal Medicine Associates cannot sell your health information without your permission.
- Certain uses of your medical data, such as use of patient information in marketing, require prior disclosure and your authorization. Uses and disclosures not described in this notice will be made only with your authorization.