Patient Privacy Notice
HIPAA & Your Privacy Rights
We strongly believe in doing everything we possibly can to safeguard the privacy and security of your health information and records.
As a result, we have made some changes in our office management procedures to make sure we follow the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Passed into law in 1996, HIPAA sets federal standards for the privacy and security of patient information for all healthcare providers, plans, insurance companies and anyone they do business with.
HIPAA gives you additional rights regarding control and use of your health information, meaning you have more access and control than ever. Please take a few minutes to review these new rights. We're happy to answer any questions you may have.
Control Over Your Health Information
All healthcare providers (and health plans) are now required to give you a written explanation of how they use and disclose your personal health information before they can treat you. This way, you can decide if a provider is doing everything they should to protect your privacy before you choose them as your caregiver.
We must, by law, post a Notice of Privacy Practices, which outlines how we secure the privacy of patient information, in a place where you can easily see it.
We must get your signature for non-routine uses and disclosures of your information. A non-routine use is any situation not directly related to treatment, payment or operations. For example, if your child is going to summer camp and the camp needs a medical history, you will be asked to authorize us to release it before we can send the information. You have the right to say no, and you don't have to tell anyone why.
Authorizations of non-routine information are one-time-only, case by case, for the use defined by you.
Access To Your Health Information
You can get copies of your medical records simply by asking for them. Healthcare providers are required to get you a copy of your records within 60 days of your request. There may be a cost for this service.
Providers also must give you a history of non-routine disclosures if you ask for it. All you need to do is ask for the record and it is provided to you - no justification is needed.
You can also amend your medical records. You cannot change the existing record, but you can add notes or comment on any procedures, treatments, payments or operations.
The provider then has the right to respond to your amendment. This way, you can be sure your records reflect your side of the story about treatment and payment issues.
Patient Recourse If Privacy Protections Are Violated
Every healthcare provider must also inform you of grievance procedures. If your privacy is violated, report the incident to our Privacy Officer immediately. You also have the right to report any violation to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201.
If you decide to file a grievance either with us or with the Department of Health and Human Services, we are not allowed to discriminate or retaliate against you in any way.
Aside from these new rights to access and control of your medical information under HIPAA, there are also clear limits on all healthcare providers regarding how they disclose medical information. Here are some of the key aspects of these boundaries:
Providers must ensure that health information is not used for non-health purposes. Health information (covered by the privacy rules) generally may not be used for purposes not related to health care - such as disclosures to employers to make personnel decisions, or to financial institutions - without your explicit authorization.
There are clear, strong protections against using health information for marketing. The privacy rules set new definitions, restrictions and limits on the use of patient information for certain marketing purposes. Providers must get your specific authorization before sending you any materials other than those related to treatment.
Use only the minimum amount of information necessary. In general, uses or disclosures of information will be limited to the minimum necessary. This does not apply to disclosure of records for treatment purposes, because physicians, specialists and other providers may need access to the full record to provide quality care.
There are situations where healthcare providers may not have to follow these privacy rules. They include: emergency circumstances; identification of a body or the cause of death; public health needs; judicial and administrative proceedings; limited law enforcement activities; and activities related to national defense and security.
We understand your right to have your medical information kept confidential. Our compliance with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act is one example of our advocacy and leadership on issues of patient's rights and privacy of information. We encourage you to ask questions and look forward to working together to improve the quality of your healthcare experience.
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
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.
This notice takes effect on January 1, 2008 and remains in effect until we replace it.
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION
The privacy of your medical information is important to us. We understand that your medical information is personal and we are committed to protecting it. We create a record of the care and services you receive at our organization. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice will tell you about the ways we may use and share medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain duties we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
OUR LEGAL DUTY
Law Requires Us to:
1. Keep your medical information private.
2. Give you this notice describing our legal duties, privacy practices, and your rights regarding your medical information.
3. Follow the terms of the current notice.
We Have the Right to:
1. Change our privacy practices and the terms of this notice at any time, provided that the changes are permitted by law.
2. Make the changes in our privacy practices and the new terms of our notice effective for all medical information that we keep, including information previously created or received before the changes.
Notice of Change to Privacy Practices:
1. Before we make an important change in our privacy practices, we will change this notice and make the new notice available upon request.
USE AND DISCLOSURE OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
The following section describes different ways that we use and disclose medical information. Not every use or disclosure will be listed. However, we have listed all of the different ways we are permitted to use and disclose medical information. We will not use or disclose your medical information for any purpose not listed below, without your specific written authorization. Any specific written authorization you provide may be revoked at any time by writing to us at the address provided at the end of this notice.
FOR 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 people who are taking care of you. We may also share medical information about you to your other health care providers to assist them in treating you.
FOR PAYMENT: We may use and disclose your medical information for payment purposes. A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include your medical information.
FOR HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS: We may use and disclose your medical information for our health care operations. This might include measuring and improving quality, evaluating the performance of employees, conducting training programs, and getting the accreditation, certificates, licenses and credentials we need to serve you.
ADDITIONAL USES AND DISCLOSURES: In addition to using and disclosing your medical information for treatment, payment, and health care operations, we may use and disclose medical information for the following purposes.
Facility Directory: Unless you notify us that you object, the following medical information about you will be placed in our facility directories: your name; your location in our facility; your condition described in general terms; your religious affiliation, if any. We may disclose this information to members of the clergy or, except for your religious affiliation, to others who contact us and ask for information about you by name.
Notification: We may use and disclose medical information to notify or help notify: a family member, your personal representative or another person responsible for your care. We will share information about your location, general condition, or death. If you are present, we will get your permission if possible before we share, or give you the opportunity to refuse permission. In case of emergency, and if you are not able to give or refuse permission, we will share only the health information that is directly necessary for your health care, according to our professional judgment. We will also use our professional judgment to make decisions in your best interest about allowing someone to pick up medicine, medical supplies, x-ray or medical information for you.
Disaster Relief: We may share medical information with a public or private organization or person who can legally assist in disaster relief efforts.
Fundraising: We may provide medical information to one of our affiliated fundraising foundations to contact you for fundraising purposes. We will limit our use and sharing to information that describes you in general, not personal, terms and the dates of your health care. In any fundraising materials, we will provide you a description of how you may choose not to receive future fundraising communications.
Research in Limited Circumstances: We may use medical information for research purposes in limited circumstances where the research has been approved by a review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of medical information.
Funeral Director, Coroner, Medical Examiner: To help them carry out their duties, we may share the medical information of a person who has died with a coroner, medical examiner, funeral director, or an organ procurement organization.
Specialized Government Functions: Subject to certain requirements, we may disclose or use health information for military personnel and veterans, for national security and intelligence activities, for protective services for the President and others, for medical suitability determinations for the Department of State, for correctional institutions and other law enforcement custodial situations, and for government programs providing public benefits.
Court Orders and Judicial and Administrative Proceedings: We may disclose medical information in response to a court or administrative order, subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process, under certain circumstances. Under limited circumstances, such as a court order, warrant, or grand jury subpoena, we may share your medical information with law enforcement officials. We may share limited information with a law enforcement official concerning the medical information of a suspect, fugitive, material witness, crime victim or missing person. We may share the medical information of an inmate or other person in lawful custody with a law enforcement official or correctional institution under certain circumstances.
Public Health Activities: As required by law, we may disclose your medical information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability, including child abuse or neglect. We may also disclose your medical information to persons subject to jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration for purposes of reporting adverse events associated with product defects or problems, to enable product recalls, repairs or replacements, to track products, or to conduct activities required by the Food and Drug Administration. We may also, when we are authorized by law to do so, notify a person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease or condition.
Victims of Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence: We may use and disclose medical information to appropriate authorities if we reasonably believe that you are a possible victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence or the possible victim of other crimes. We may share your medical information if it is necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health or safety or the health or safety of others. We may share medical information when necessary to help law enforcement officials capture a person who has admitted to being part of a crime or has escaped from legal custody.
Workers Compensation: We may disclose health information when authorized or necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs.
Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose medical information to an agency providing health oversight for oversight activities authorized by law, including audits, civil, administrative, or criminal investigations or proceedings, inspections, licensure or disciplinary actions, or other authorized activities.
Law Enforcement: Under certain circumstances, we may disclose health information to law enforcement officials. These circumstances include reporting required by certain laws (such as the reporting of certain types of wounds), pursuant to certain subpoenas or court orders, reporting limited information concerning identification and location at the request of a law enforcement official, reports regarding suspected victims of crimes at the request of a law enforcement official, reporting death, crimes on our premises, and crimes in emergencies.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose medical information for purposes of sending you appointment postcards or otherwise reminding you of your appointments.
Alternative and Additional Medical Services: We may use and disclose medical information to furnish you with information about health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you, and to describe or recommend treatment alternatives.
YOUR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
You Have a Right to:
1. Look at or get copies of certain parts of your medical information. You may request that we provide copies in a format other than photocopies. We will use the format you request unless it is not practical for us to do so. You must make your request in writing. You may get the form to request access by using the contact information listed at the end of this notice. You may also request access by sending a letter to the contact person listed at the end of this notice. If you request copies, we will charge you $0.50 for each page, and postage if you want the copies mailed to you. Contact us using the information listed at the end of this notice for a full explanation of our fee structure.
2. Receive a list of all the times we or our business associates shared your medical information for purposes other than treatment, payment, and health care operations and other specified exceptions.
3. Request that we place additional restrictions on our use or disclosure of your medical information. We are not required to agree to these additional restrictions, but if we do, we will abide by our agreement (except in the case of an emergency).
4. Request that we communicate with you about your medical information by different means or to different locations. Your request that we communicate your medical information to you by different means or at different locations must be made in writing to the contact person listed at the end of this notice.
5. Request that we change certain parts of your medical information. We may deny your request if we did not create the information you want changed or for certain other reasons. If we deny your request, we will provide you a written explanation. You may respond with a statement of disagreement that will be added to the information you wanted changed. If we accept your request to change the information, we will make reasonable efforts to tell others, including people you name, of the change and to include the changes in any future sharing of that information.
6. If you have received this notice electronically, and wish to receive a paper copy, you have the right to obtain a paper copy by making a request in writing to the contact person listed at the end of this notice.
QUESTIONS AND COMPLAINTS
If you have any questions about this notice or if you think that we may have violated your privacy rights, please contact us. You may also submit a written complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You may contact us to submit a complaint or submit requests involving any of your rights in Section 4 of this notice by writing to the following address:
2001 S. Barrington Ave., Suite 155
Los Angeles, CA 90025
We will provide you with the address to file your complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We will not retaliate in any way if you choose to file a complaint.