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.
Federal regulations developed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that the practice provide you with the Notice Regarding Privacy of Personal Health Information. This notice describes (1) how the practice may use and disclose you protected health information, (2) your rights to access and control your protected health information in certain circumstances, and (3) the practice's duties and contact information.
I. Protected Health Information (PHI)
"Protected health information" is health information created or received by your health care provider that contains information that may be used to identify you, such as demographic data. It includes written or oral health information that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health; the provision of health care to you; and your past, present or future payment for health care.
II. The Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information in Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations
Your PHI may be used and disclosed by the practice in the course of providing treatment, obtaining payment for treatment, and conducting health care operations. Any disclosures may be made in writing, electronically, by facsimile, or orally. The practice may also use or disclose your PHI in other circumstances if you authorize the use of disclosure, or if state law or the HIPAA privacy regulations authorize the use or disclosure.
Treatment. The practice may use and disclose your PHI in the course of providing or managing your health care as well as any related services. For the purpose of treatment, the practice may coordinate your health care with a third party. For example, the practice may disclose your PHI to a pharmacy to fulfill a prescription for asthma medication, to an X-ray facility to order an X-ray, or to another physician who is administering your allergy shots, which we prepared. In addition, the practice may disclose PHI to other physicians or health care providers for treatment of those other providers.
Payment. When needed, the practice will use of disclose your PHI to obtain payment for its services. Such use or disclosure may include disclosures to your health insurer to get approval for a recommended treatment or to determine whether you are eligible for benefits or whether a particular service is covered under your health plan. When obtaining payment for your health care, the practice may also disclose your PHI to your insurance company to determine the medical necessity of the care or for utilization review when required to do so by your insurance company. Finally, the practice may also disclose your PHI to another provider where that provider is involved in your care and requires the information to obtain payment.
Operations. The practice may use or disclose your PHI when needed for the practice's health care operations for the purpose of management or administration of the practice and for offering quality health care services. Health care operations may include: (1) quality evaluations and improvement activities; (2) employee review activities and training programs; (3) accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities; (4) review and audits such as compliance reviews, medical reviews, legal services, and maintaining compliance programs, and (5) business management and general administrative activities. For instance, the practice may use, as needed, PHI of patients to review their treatment course when making quality assessments regarding allergy care or treatment. In addition, the practice may disclose your PHI to another provider or health plan for their health care operations.
Other Uses and Disclosures. As part of treatment, payment and health care operations, the practice may also use or disclose your PHI to; (1) remind you of an appointment including the leaving of appointment reminder information on your telephone answering machine; (2) inform you of potential treatment alternatives or options; (3) inform you of health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
III. Additional Uses and Disclosures Permitted Without Authorization or An Opportunity to Object
In addition to treatment, payment and health care operation, the practice may use or disclose your PHI without your permission or authorization in certain circumstances, including:
When Legally Required. The practice will comply with any Federal, state or local law that requires it to disclose your PHI.
When There Are Risks to Public Health. The practice may disclose your PHI for public health purposes, including to, as permitted or required by law:
Prevent, control or report disease, injury or disability;
Report vital events such as birth or death;
Conduct public health surveillance, investigation, and interventions;
Collect or report adverse events and product defects, track FDA regulated products, enable product recalls, repairs or replacements and conduct post marketing surveillance;
Notify a person who has been exposed to a communicable disease or who may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease; and
Report to an employer information about an individual who is a member of the work force.
To Report Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence. As required or authorized by law or with the patient's agreement, the practice may inform government authorities if it is believed that a patient is the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
To Conduct Health Oversight Activities. The practice may disclose your PHI to a health oversight agency for use in (1) audits; (2) civil, administrative or criminal investigations, proceedings or actions; (3) inspections; (4) licensure or disciplinary actions; or (5) other necessary oversight activities as permitted by law. However, if you are the subject of an investigation, the practice will not disclose PHI that is not directly related to your receipt of health care or public benefits.
For Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. The practice may disclose your PHI for any judicial or administrative proceeding if the disclosure is expressly authorized by an order of a court or administrative tribunal as expressly authorized by such order or a signed authorization is provided.
For Law Enforcement Purposes. The practice may disclose your PHI to a law enforcement official for law enforcement purposes when:
Required by law to report certain types of physical injuries;
Required by court order, court-orders warrant, subpoena, summons or similar process;
Needed to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person;
Needed to report a crime in an emergency situation;
You are the victim of a crime in specific limited instances; and
Your death is suspected by the practice to be the result of criminal conduct.
To Coroner, Funeral Directors and for Organ Donation. The practice may disclose PHI to a coroner or medical examiner for the purpose of (1) identification, (2) determination of cause of death, or (3) performance of the coroner or medical examiner's other duties as authorized by law. In addition, as permitted by law, the practice may disclose PHI, including when death is reasonably anticipated, to a funeral director to enable the funeral director to carry out his or her duties. PHI may also be used and disclosed for the purpose of cadaver organ, eye or tissue donation.
To Prevent or Diminish a Serious and Imminent Threat to Health of Safety. If in good faith the practice believes that use or disclosure of your PHI is necessary to prevent or diminish a serious and imminent threat to your health and safety, or to the health and safety of the public, the practice may use or disclose your PHI as permitted under law and consistent with ethical standards of conduct.
For Special Government Function. As authorized by the HIPAA privacy regulations, the practice may use or disclose your PHI to facilitate specified government functions, relating to military and veterans activities, national security and intelligence activities, protective services for the President and others, medical suitability determinations, correctional institutions, and law enforcement custodial situations.
For Worker's Compensation. The practice may disclose your PHI to comply with worker's compensation laws or similar programs.
IV. Uses and Disclosures Permitted With an Opportunity to Object
Subject to your objection, the practice may disclose your PHI (1) to a family member or close personal friend if the disclosure is directly relevant to the person's involvement in your care or payment related to your care; or (2) when attempting to locate or notify family members or others involved in your care to inform them of your location, condition or death. The practice will inform you orally or in writing of such uses or disclosures of your PHI as well as provide you with an opportunity to object in advance. Your agreement or objection to the uses and disclosures can be oral or in writing. If you do not object to these disclosures, the practice is able to infer from the circumstances that you do not object, or the practice determines, in its professional judgment, that it is in your best interests for the practice to disclose information that is directly relevant to the person's involvement with your care, then the practice may disclose your PHI. If you are incapacitated or in an emergency situation, the practice may exercise its professional judgment to determine if the disclosure is in your best interests and if such a determination is made, may only disclose information directly relevant to your health care.
V. Uses and Disclosures Authorized by You
Other than the circumstances described above, the practice will not disclose your PHI unless you provide written authorization. You may revoke your authorization in writing at any time except to the extent that the practice has taken action in reliance upon the authorization.
VI. Your Rights
You have certain rights regarding your PHI under the HIPAA privacy regulations. These rights include:
The right to inspect and copy your PHI. For as long as the practice holds your PHI, you may inspect and obtain a copy of such information included in a designated record set. A "designated record set" contains medical and billing records as well as any other records that your physician and the practice uses to make decisions regarding the services provided to you. The practice may deny your request to inspect or copy your PHI if the practice determines in its professional judgment that the access requested is likely to endanger your life or safety or that of another person, or that it is likely to cause substantial harm to another person referred to in the information. You have the right to request a review of this decision.
In addition, you may not inspect or copy certain records by law, including: (1) information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or for use in a civil, criminal or administrative action or proceeding; and (2) PHI that is subject to a law that prohibits access to PHI. You may have the right to have a decision to deny access reviewed in some situations.
You must submit a written request to the practice's Privacy Officer to inspect and copy your health information. The practice may charge you a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other costs incurred by the practice in complying with your request. Please contact our Privacy Officer if you have question about access to your medical record at the number given on the last page of this Notice.
The right to request a restriction on uses and disclosures of your PHI. You may request that the practice not use or disclose specific sections of your PHI for the purposes of treatment, payment of health care operations. Additionally, you may request that the practice not disclose you health information to a family member or friends who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as described in this Notice. In your request, you must specify the scope of restriction requested as well as the individuals for which you want the restriction to apply. Your request should be directed to the practice's Privacy Officer.
The practice may choose to deny your request for a restriction, in which case the practice will notify you of its decision. Once the practice agrees to the requested restriction, the practice may not violate the restriction unless use or disclosure of the relevant information is needed to provide emergency treatment. The practice may terminate the agreement to a restriction in some instances.
The right to request to receive confidential communications from the practice by alternative means or at an alternative location. You have the right to request that the practice communicates with you through alternative means or at an alternative location. The practice will make every effort to comply with reasonable requests. However, the practice may condition its compliance by asking you for information regarding the procurement of payment or specific information regarding an alternative address or other method of contact. You are not required to provide an explanation for your request. Requests should be made in writing to the practice's Privacy Officer.
The right to request an amendment of your PHI. During the time that the practice holds your PHI, you may request an amendment of your information in a designated record set. The practice may deny your request in some instances. However, should the practice deny your request for amendment, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with the practice. In turn, the practice may develop a rebuttal to your statement. If it does so, the practice will provide you with a copy of the rebuttal. Requests for amendment must be submitted in writing to the practice's Privacy Officer. Your written request must supply a reason to support the request amendments.
The right to request an accounting of certain disclosures. You have the right to request an accounting of the practice's disclosures of your PHI made for purposes other than treatment, payment of health care operations as described in this notice. The practice is not required to account for disclosures (1) which you requested; (2) which you authorized by signing an authorization form; (3) for a facility directory; (4) to friends of family members involved in you care; and (5) certain other disclosures that practice is permitted to make without your authorization. The request for an accounting must be made in writing to our Privacy Officer and should state the time period for which you wish the accounting to include up to a six your period. The practice will not charge you for the first accounting you request of any 12 month period. Subsequent accountings may require a fee based on the practice's reasonable costs for compliance of the request.
The right to obtain a paper copy of the Notice. The practice will provide a separate paper copy of the Notice upon request even if you have already been given a copy of it or have agreed to review it electronically.
VII. The Practice's Duties
The practice is required to ensure the privacy of your health information and to provide you with this Notice of your rights and the practice's duties and procedure regarding your privacy. The practice must abide by the terms of the Notice, as may be amended periodically. The practice reserves the right to change the terms of this Notice and to make the new Notice provisions effective for all PHI that the practice collects and maintains. If the practice alters its Notice, the practice will provide a copy o the revised Notice through regular mail or in-person contact.
If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated, you have the right to relate complaints to the practice and to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. You may provide complaints to the practice verbally or in writing. Such complaints should be directed to the practice's Privacy Officer. The practice encourages you to relate any concerns you may have regarding the privacy of your information and you will not be retaliated against in any way for filing a complaint.
IX. Contact Person
The practice's contact person regarding the practice's duties and your right under the HIPAA privacy regulations is the Privacy Officer. The Privacy Officer can provide information regarding issues to this Notice by request. Complaints to the practice should be directed to the Privacy Officer at the following address:
Exton Allergy & Asthma Associates
656 W. Lincoln Hwy.
Exton, PA 19341
Attn: Privacy Officer
The Privacy Officer can be contacted by telephone at (610) 269-3066.
X. Effective Date
This Notice is effective on September 14, 2008.