HIPAA Privacy Policy

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN OBTAIN ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
INTRODUCTION
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of “protected health information.” “Protected health information” includes any identifiable information that we obtain from you or others that relates to your physical or mental health, the health care you have received, or payment for your health care.

As required by law, this notice provides you with information about your rights and our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to the privacy of protected health information. This notice also discusses the uses and disclosures we will make of your protected health information. We must comply with the provisions of this notice, although we reserve the right to change the terms of this notice from time to time and to make the revised notice effective for all protected health information we maintain. You can always request a copy of our most current privacy notice from our office.

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 from the clinicians of our practice. 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 our practice. This notice tells you about the ways in which we may use and disclose your medical information. It also describes your rights and certain obligations we have regarding use and disclosure of information.

PERMITTED USES AND DISCLOSURES
We can use or disclose your protected health information for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations.

Treatment- means the provision, coordination or management of your health care, including consultations between health care providers regarding your care and referrals for health care from one health care provider to another. For example, we may share your medical information with other physicians or other health care providers who will provide services that we do not provide. Or we may share this information with a pharmacist who needs it to dispense a prescription to you, or a laboratory that performs a test.

Payment- means activities we undertake to obtain reimbursement for the health care provided to you, including determinations of eligibility and coverage and other utilization review activities. For example, prior to providing health care services, we may need to provide to your insurance carrier (or other third party payor) information about your medical condition to determine whether the proposed course of treatment will be covered. When we subsequently bill the carrier or other third party payor for the services rendered to you, we can provide the carrier or other third party payor with information regarding your care if necessary to obtain payment.

Health Care Operations- means the support functions of our practice related to treatment and payment, such as quality assurance activities, case management, receiving and responding to patient complaints, physician reviews, compliance programs, audits, business planning, development, management and administrative activities. For example, we may use your medical information to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine medical information about many patients to decide what additional services we should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We will not use your medical information for fundraising or marketing solicitations without obtaining a signed release of information form from you.

Appointment Reminders- means we may use and disclose medical information to contact and remind you about appointments. If you are not home, we may leave this information on your answering machine or a message left with a person answering the phone.

Sign in Sheet- means we may use and disclose medical information about you by having you sign in when you arrive at our facility. We may also call out your name when we are ready to see you.

Notification and Communication with Family means we may disclose your health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, your personal representative or another person responsible for your care about your location, your general condition or, unless you had instructed us otherwise, in the event of your death. In the event of a disaster, we may disclose information to a relief organization so that they may coordinate these notification efforts. We may also disclose information to someone who is involved with your care or helps to pay for your care. If you are able and available to agree or object, we will give you the opportunity to object prior to making these disclosures, although we may disclose this information in a disaster even over your objection if we believe it is necessary to respond to the emergency circumstances. If you are unable to or unavailable to agree or object, our health professionals will use their best judgment in communication with your family and others.

Marketing- means, provided we do not receive any payment for making these communications, we may contact you to give you information about products or services related to your treatment, case management or care coordination, or to direct or recommend other treatments, therapies, health care providers or settings of care that may be of interest to you. We may similarly describe products or services provided by this practice and tell you which health plans this practice participates in. We may also encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and get recommended tests, participate in a disease management program, tell you about government sponsored health programs or encourage you to purchase a product or service when we see you, for which we may be paid. We will not otherwise use or disclose your medical information for marketing purposes or accept any payment for other marketing communications without your prior written authorization. The authorization will disclose whether we receive any compensation for any marketing activity you authorize, and we will stop any future marketing activity to the extent you revoke the signed authorization.

Sale of Health Information– means we will not sell your health information without your prior written authorization. The authorization will disclose that we will receive compensation for your health information if you authorize us to sell it, and we will stop future sales of your information to the extent that you revoke the authorization.

Required by Law– means as required by the law, we will use and disclose your health information, but we will limit our use and disclosure to the relevant requirements of the law. When the law requires us to report abuse, neglect and domestic violence, or to respond to judicial or administrative proceedings, or to law enforcement officials, we will further comply with the requirement set forth below concerning those activities.

Public Health- means we may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose your health information to public health authorities for purposes related to: preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability; reporting child, elder or dependent adult abuse or neglect; reporting domestic violence; reporting to the Food and Drug Administration problems with products and reactions to medications; and reporting disease or infection exposure. When we report suspected elder or dependent abuse or domestic violence, we will inform you or your personal representative promptly unless in our best professional judgment, we believe the notification would place you at risk of serious harm or would require informing a personal representative we believe is responsible for the abuse or harm.

Health Oversight Activities- means we may, and are sometimes required by law to disclose your health information to health oversight agencies during the course of audits, investigations, inspections, licensure and other proceedings, subject to the limitations imposed by the law.

Judicial and Administrative Proceedings- means we may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose your health information in the course of any administrative or judicial proceeding to the extent expressly authorized by a court or administrative order. We may also disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process if reasonable efforts have been made to notify you of the request and you have not objected, or if your objections have been resolved by a court or administrative order.

Law Enforcement- means we may, and are sometimes required by law to disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for purposes such a s identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person, complying with a court order, warrant, grand jury subpoena and other law enforcement purposes.

Coroners- means we may have to, as required by law, disclose your health information to coroners in connection with their investigations of deaths.

Organ and Tissue Donation- means we may disclose your health information to organizations involved in procuring, banking, or transplanting organs and tissues.

Public Safety– means we may, and are sometimes required by law to disclose your health information to appropriate persons in order to prevent or lesson a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a particular person or the general public.

Proof of Immunizations- means we will disclose proof of immunization to a school that is required to have it before admitting a student where you have agreed to the disclosure on behalf of yourself or your dependent.

Specialized Government Functions– means we may disclose your health information for military or national security purposes or to correctional institutions or law enforcement officers that have you in their lawful custody.

Worker’s Compensation- means we may disclose your health information as necessary to comply with worker’s compensation laws. For example, to the extent your care is covered by worker’s compensation, we will make periodic reports to your employer about your condition. We are also required by law to report cases of occupational injury or occupational illness to the employer or worker’s compensation insurer.

Change of Ownership- means that in the event this facility is sold or merged with another organization, your health information/records will become the property of the new owner. You will maintain the right to request copies of your health information.

Breach Notification– means that in the case of a breach of unsecured protected health information, we will notify you as required by law. If you have provided us with a current e-mail address, we may use e-mail to communicate information related to the breach. In some circumstances we may use other methods as appropriate.

Research– means we may disclose your health information to researchers conducting research with respect to which your written authorization is not required as approved by an Institutional Review Board or privacy board in compliance with governing law.

Fundraising– means we may use and disclose limited health information for the purposes of raising funds for the Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center. You will be asked to sign a release form before information is used. You have the right not to participate. We may notify you by mail or phone of fundraisers.

Health Information Exchange– means your information may be maintained in an electronic health information exchange network.  

YOUR RIGHTS

1. You have the right to request restrictions on our uses and disclosures of protected health information for treatment, payment and health care operations. However, we are not required to agree to your request except as required by law. If there is a breach of your protected health information, we will notify you.

2. You have the right to reasonably request to receive communications of protected health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.

3. Subject to payment of a reasonable copying charge as provided by state law, you have the right to inspect or obtain a copy of the protected health information contained in your medical and billing records and in any other practice records used by us to make decisions about you, including in electronic format, if available, except for:

psychotherapy notes, which are notes recorded by a mental health professional documenting or analyzing the contents of conversation during a private counseling session or a group, joint or family counseling session and that have been separated from the rest of your medical record

information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or for use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding

protected health information involving laboratory tests when your access is required by law

if you are a prison inmate and obtaining such information would jeopardize your health, safety, security, custody, or rehabilitation or that of other inmates, or the safety of any officer, employee, or other person at the correctional institution or person responsible for transporting you

if we obtained or created protected health information as part of a research study for as long as the research is in progress, provided that you agreed to the temporary denial of access when consenting to participate in the research

your protected health information is contained in records kept by a federal agency or contractor when your access is required by law

if the protected health information was obtained from someone other than us under a promise of confidentiality and the access requested would be reasonably likely to reveal the source of the information

We may also deny a request for access to protected health information if:

a licensed health care professional has determined, in the exercise of professional judgment, that the access requested is reasonably likely to endanger your life or physical safety or that of another person

the protected health information makes reference to another person (unless such other person is a health care provider) and a licensed health care professional has determined, in the exercise of professional judgment, that the access requested is reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to such other person

the request for access is made by the individual’s personal representative and a licensed health care professional has determined, in the exercise of professional judgment, that the provision of access to such personal representative is reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to you or another person

If we deny a request for access for any of the three reasons described above, then you have the right to have our denial reviewed in accordance with the requirements of applicable law.

4. You have the right to request a correction to your protected health information, but we may deny your request for correction, if we determine that the protected health information or record that is the subject of the request:

was not created by us, unless you provide a reasonable basis to believe that the originator of protected health information is no longer available to act on the requested amendment

is not part of your medical or billing records

is not available for inspection as set forth above

is accurate and complete

In any event, any agreed upon correction will be included as an addition to, and not a replacement of, already existing records.

5. You have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of protected health information made by us to individuals or entities other than to you for the period provided by law, except for disclosures:

to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations as provided above

to persons involved in your care or for other notification purposes as provided by law

for national security or intelligence purposes as provided by law

to correctional institutions or law enforcement officials as provided by law

that occurred prior to April 14, 2003

that are otherwise not required by law to be included in the accounting

6. You have the right to request and receive a paper copy of this notice from us.

7. The above rights may be exercised only by written communication to us. Any revocation or other modification of consent must be in writing delivered to us.

8. In order to deal with storage issues, and in accordance with state regulations, we reserve the right to shred paper medical records for adult patients six years after the last patient encounter with our office.

OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION

Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by 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 medical 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 medical 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 retain our records of the care and services that we provided to you.

COMPLAINTS

If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated, you should immediately contact our Practice or our Privacy Officer named below. All complaints must be submitted in writing. We will not take action against you for filing a complaint. You also may file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

PRIVACY OFFICER

If you have any questions or would like further information about this notice, please contact:

Mary Blain, Director of Finance
Permian Basin Rehabilitation Center
620 N. Alleghaney
Odessa, Texas 79761
Phone: (432) 332-8244