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.
About this notice
This Notice will tell you about the ways we may use and disclose health information that identifies you (“Health Information”) or Protected Health Information “PHI”. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of Health Information. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of Health Information that identifies you; give you this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your Health Information; and follow the terms of our Notice that are currently in effect. In this Notice “us”, “we” and “our” refers to the Center for Dermatology, LLC and “you” or “your” refers to our patients (or their legal representatives as determined by us in accordance with state informed consent law). When you receive healthcare services from us, we will obtain access to your medical information (i.e. your health history). We are committed to maintaining the privacy of your health information and we have implemented numerous procedures to ensure your privacy.
The Federal HIPAA Omnibus Rule, require us to maintain the confidentiality of all your healthcare records and other identifiable patient health information (PHI) used by or disclosed to us in any form, whether electronic, on paper, or spoken. HIPAA is a Federal Law that gives you significant new rights to understand and control how your health information is used. Federal HIPAA Omnibus Rule and state law provide penalties for covered entities, business associates, and their subcontractors and records owners, respectively that misuse or improperly disclose PHI. If you have any questions about this Notice, please ask to speak to our HIPAA Privacy Officer.
Our doctors, clinical staff, employees, Business Associates, their subcontractors and other involved parties follow the policies and procedures set forth in this Notice.
How we may use and disclose health information about you
Under the law, we must have your signature on a written, dated Consent Form and/or an Authorization Form of Acknowledgement of this Notice, before we will use or disclose your Health Information. You will be asked to sign an Authorization / Acknowledgement form when you receive this Notice of Privacy Practices. If you did not sign such a form or need a copy of the one you signed, please contact our Privacy Officer. You may take back or revoke your consent or authorization at any time by submitting our Revocation Form in writing to us. The following categories describe different ways that we may use and disclose Health Information.
We may use Health Information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose Health Information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, your pharmacy for your prescriptions, your authorized family members or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you.
We may use and disclose Health Information so that we may bill for treatment and services you receive from us and we can collect payment from you, an insurance company, managed-care organization, a health benefits plan or another third party. For example, we may need to give your health plan information about your treatment in order for your health plan to pay for such treatment. We also may tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment. In the event a bill is overdue we may need to give Health Information to a collection agency as necessary to help collect the bill or may disclose an outstanding debt to credit reporting agencies.
For Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose Health Information for health care operations purposes. These uses and disclosures are necessary to make sure that all of our patients receive quality care and for our operation and management purposes. For example, we may use Health Information to review the treatment and services you receive to check on the performance of our staff in caring for you. We also may disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other personnel for educational and learning purposes. We may review your PHI to evaluate our staff’s performance, or our Privacy Officer may review your records to assist you with complaints.
Appointment Reminders/Treatment Alternatives/ Health-Related Benefits and Services
We may use and disclose Health Information to contact you to remind you that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care, or to contact you to tell you about possible treatment options or alternatives or health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. If you prefer that we may not contact you with the appointment reminders or the information about the treatment alternatives or health-related products and services, please notify us in writing and we will not use or disclose your PHI for these purposes.
We may use your demographic information to contact you in an effort to raise money for us. Any fundraising letter you receive from us will provide you with instructions on how to opt out of any future fundraising letters. We will not use your diagnosis to fundraise unless you authorize us to do so in writing. There will be a statement on your Patient Acknowledgement Form where you can choose to “opt out”. Our commitment to care and treat you will in no way effect your decision to participate or not participate in our fund raising efforts.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care
We may release Health Information to a person who is involved in your medical care or helps pay for your care, such as a family member or friend. We also may notify your family about your location or general condition or disclose such information to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort.
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose
Health Information for research purposes. For example,
a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. Before we use or disclose Health Information for research, however, the project will go through a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of Health Information to balance the benefits of research with the need for privacy of Health Information. Even without
special approval, we may permit researchers to look at records to help them identify patients who may be included in their research project or for similar purposes, so long as they do not remove or take a copy of any Health Information.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety
We may use and disclose Health Information when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, will be to someone who may be able to help prevent the threat.
We may disclose Health Information to our business associates that perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the information is necessary for such functions or services. For example, we may use another company to perform billing services on our behalf. All of our business associates are obligated, under contract with us, to protect the privacy of your information and are not allowed to use or disclose any information other than as specified in our contract.
Organ and Tissue Donation
If you are an organ or tissue donor, we may release Health Information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary, to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
Military and Veterans
If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release Health Information as required by military command authorities. We also may release Health Information to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military.
As Required by Law
We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by international, federal, state or local law.
We may release Health Information for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks
We may disclose Health Information for public health activities. These activities generally include disclosures to: a person subject to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for purposes related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of an FDA-regulated product or activity; prevent or control disease, injury or disability; report births and deaths; report child abuse or neglect; report reactions to medications or problems with products; notify people of recalls of products they may be using; a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; and the appropriate govern-ment authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence and the patient agrees or we are required or authorized by law to make such disclosure.
Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose Health Information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
Lawsuits and Disputes
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose Health Information in response to a court or administrative order. We also may disclose Health Information in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
We may release Health Information if asked by a law enforce-ment official for the following reasons: in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; limited information to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; about the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement; about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; about criminal conduct on our premises; and in emergency circumstances to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors
We may release Health Information to a coroner, medical examiner or funeral director so that they can carry out their duties.
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release Health Information to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be if necessary (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) the safety and security of the correctional institution.
How to Learn About Special Protections for HIV, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Genetic Information
Special privacy protections apply to HIV-related information, alcohol and substance abuse information, mental health information, and genetic information. Some parts of this general Notice of Privacy Practices may not apply to these types of information. If your treatment involves this information, you may contact the Privacy Officer for more information about the protections.
Other Uses of Health Information
Other uses and disclosures of Health Information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. You may revoke your permission at any time by submitting a written request to our Privacy Officer, except to the extent that we acted in reliance on your permission.
Faxing and Emailing
When you request us to fax or email your PHI as an alternative communication, we may agree to do so, but only after having our Privacy Officer or treating doctor review that request.
If we sell our practice, our patient records (including but not limited to your PHI) may be disclosed and physical custody may be transferred to the purchasing healthcare provider, but only in accordance with the law. The healthcare provider who is the new records owner will be solely responsible for ensuring privacy of your PHI after the transfer and you agree that we will have no responsibility for transferred records. If all the owners of our practice die, our patient records must be transferred to another healthcare provider within 90 days to comply with State & Federal Laws. Before we transfer records in either of these two situations, our Privacy Officer will obtain a Business Associate Agreement from the purchaser and review your PHI for super-confidential information.
Inactive Patient Records
We will retain your records for seven years from your last treatment or examination, at which point you will become an inactive patient in our practice and we may destroy your records. We will do so only in accordance with the law.
If we use or disclose your PHI for collections purposes, we will do so only in accordance with the law.
Your Rights Regarding Health Information About You
You have the following rights, subject to certain limitations, regarding Health Information we maintain about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy
You have the right to inspect and copy Health Information that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care. We may charge you a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.
Right to Request Amendments
If you feel that Health Information we have is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information and you must tell us the reason for your request. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for us. A request for amendments must be submitted, in writing, to the Privacy Officer at the address provided at the end of this notice.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures
You have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures” of Health Information. This is a list of certain disclosures we made of Health Information. The first list you request within a 12 month period will be free. For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list.
Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice
You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice,
even if you have agreed to receive this Notice electronically. You may request a copy of this Notice at any time.
You may obtain a copy of this Notice at our web site.
Right to Request Restrictions
You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the Health Information we use or disclose for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the Health Information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. We are not required to agree to your request. If we agree, we will comply with your request unless we terminate our agreement or the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
Right to Request Confidential Communications
You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you by mail or at work. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted. We will accommodate reasonable requests.
How to Exercise Your Rights
To exercise your rights described in this Notice, send your request, in writing, to our Privacy Officer at the address listed at the end of this Notice. Alternatively, to exercise your right to inspect and copy Health Information, you may con- tact your physician’s office directly. To obtain a paper copy
of our Notice, contact our Privacy Officer by phone or mail.
Changes To This Notice
We reserve the right to change this Notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for Health Information we already have as well as any informa- tion we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the cur- rent Notice at our office and on our website. The end of our Notice will contain the Notice’s effective date.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the Secretary of the Dept. of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with us, contact our Privacy Officer at the address listed at the end of this notice. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
If you have a question about this Privacy Notice, please contact:
Office for HIPAA Compliance
Center for Dermatology, LLC
631 Professional Drive, Suite 110
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Phone: (770) 682-2500
Fax: (770) 682-2014
Effective date: April 14, 2003
Revised date: June 24, 2013
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