Understanding Your Health Record/Information
Each time you visit a hospital, physician, acupuncturist, chiropractor, or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your sumptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a:
- basis for planning your care and treatment
- means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care
- legal document describing the care you received
- means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided
- a tool for educating health professionals
- a source of data for medical research
- a source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of the nation
- a source of data for facility planning and marketing
- a tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve
Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to:
- ensure its accuracy
- better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information
- make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others
Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of the healthcare practitioner or facility that compiled it, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:
- request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information
- obtain a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices upon request
- inspect and obtain a copy of your health record
- amend your health record under certain circumstances
- obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information
- request communications of your health information by alternative means or at alternative locations
- revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken
This organization is required to:
- maintain the privacy of your health information
- provide you with a notices as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you
- abide by the terms of this notice
- notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction
- accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations
We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our information practices change, we will mail a revised notices to the address you supply to us.
We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice.
For More Information or to Report a Problem
If you have questions and would like additional information, ask your provider for clarification. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights. You can find the Office for Civil Rights for your state at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/regmail.html. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
Examples of Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Operations
Needless to say, we will disclose your protected health information in communications with you. For example, we may use and disclose health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment here, or to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that might be of interest to you. We may use and disclose health information about you to tell you about health-related benefits or services that might of interest to you. Other reasons to disclose your health information include the following:
- We will use your health information for treatment.
For example: Information obtained by your practitioner will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your provider will document in your record his or her expectations of any other members of your healthcare team. Those team members will then record the actions they take and their observations. In that way, the practitioner will know how you are responding to treatment.
- We will use your health information for payment.
For example: A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used.
We will use your healthy information for regular clinic operations.
For example: Members of the clinic staff may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in a effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the service we provide.
- Business Associates
There are some services provided in our organization through contacts with business associates. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associates so that they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do and bill you or your third-party payer for services rendered, if appropriate. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
Unless you notify us that you object, we may use your name, general condition, and religious affiliation for directory purposes.
We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or another person responsible for your care, your location, and general condition.
- Communication with family
Health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend or any other person you identify, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
We may disclose 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 health information.
- Coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors
We may disclose health information to coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.
- Organ procurement organizations
Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or tansplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
We may disclose to the FDA health information relative to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, product and product defects, or post marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacement.
- Workers compensation
We may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
- Public health
As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
- Correctional institutin
Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, we may disclose to the institution or agents thereof health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.
- Law enforcement
We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena.
- Health oversight
Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct, or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards, and ar porentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public.
- As required by law
We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law. For example, information nay need to be disclosed to the Department of Health and Human Services to make sure that your rights have not been violated.
- Suspicion of abuse or neglect
We will disclose your health information to appropriate agencies if relevant to a suspicion of child abuse or neglect, or, if you are not a minor, if you are a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence and either you agree to the disclosure or we are authorized by law to disclose this and it is believed that disclosure is necessary to prevent serious harm to you or others.
- 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 to the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone who we believe would be able to prevent the threat or harm from happening.
- For special government functions
We may use or disclose your health information to assist the government in its performance of functions that relate to you. For example, if you are a member of the armed forces, this might include sharing your information with appropriate military authorities to assist in military command.