Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information
We will use and disclose your protected health information about you for treatment, payment, and health care operations. Following are examples of the types of uses and disclosures of your protected health care information that may occur. These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, but to describe the types of uses and disclosures that may be made by our office.
Treatment: We will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate or manage your healthcare and any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party. For example, we would disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you. We will also disclose protected health information to other physicians who may be treating you. For example, your protected health information may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.
In addition, we may disclose your protected health information from time to time to another physician or healthcare provider (e.g., a specialist or laboratory) who, at the request of your physician, becomes involved in your care by providing assistance with your health care diagnosis or treatment to your physician.
Payment: Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your healthcare services. This may include certain activities that your health insurance plan may undertake before it approves or pays for the health care services we recommend for you, such as: making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for protected health necessity, and undertaking utilization review activities. For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information is disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.
Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose, as needed, your protected health information in order to conduct certain business and operational activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of students, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities.
For example, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your doctor is ready to see you.
We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to contact you by telephone or mail to remind you of your appointment.
We will share your protected health information with third-party “business associates” that perform various activities(e.g., billing, transcription services) for the practice. Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your protected health information, we will have a written contract that contains terms that will protect the privacy of your protected health information.
We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to provide you with information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may also use and disclose your protected health information for other marketing activities. For example, your name and address may be used to send you a newsletter about our practice and the services we offer. We may also send you information about products or services that we believe may be beneficial to you. You may contact us to request that these materials not be sent to you.
Uses and Disclosures Based On Your Written Authorization: Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your authorization unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below.
You may give us written authorization to use your protected health information or to disclose it to anyone for any purpose. If you give us authorization, you may revoke it in writing at any time. Your revocation will not affect any use or disclosures permitted by your authorization while it was in effect. Without your written authorization, we will not disclose your health care information except as described in this notice.
Others Involved in Your Health Care: Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, a relative, a close friend, or any other person you identify, your protected health information that directly relates to that person’s involvement in your healthcare. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment. We may use or disclose protected health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person that is responsible for the care of your location, general condition, or death.
Marketing: We may use your protected health information to contact you with information about treatment alternatives that may be of interest to you. We may disclose your protected health information to a business associate to assist us in these activities. Unless the information is provided to you by a general newsletter or in person or is for products or services of nominal value, you may opt-out of receiving further such information by telling us using the contact information listed at the end of this notice.
Research; Death; Organ Donation: We may use or disclose your protected health information for research purposes in limited circumstances. We may disclose the protected health information of a deceased person to a coroner, protected health examiner, funeral director or organ procurement organization for certain purposes.
Public Health and Safety: We may disclose your protected health information to the extent necessary to avert a serious and imminent threat to your health or safety or the health or safety of others. We may disclose your protected health information to a government agency authorized to oversee the health care system or government programs or its contractors, and to public health authorities for public health purposes.
Health Oversight: We may disclose protected health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies that oversee the health care system, government benefit programs, other government regulatory programs, and civil rights laws.
Abuse or Neglect: We may disclose your protected health information to a public health authority that is authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. In addition, we may disclose your protected health information if we believe that you have been a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence to the governmental entity or agency authorized to receive such information. In this case, the disclosure will be made consistent with the requirements of applicable federal and state laws.
Food and Drug Administration: We may disclose your protected health information to a person or company required by the Food and Drug Administration to report adverse events, product defects or problems, biologic product deviations; to track products; to enable product recalls; to make repairs or replacements; or to conduct post-marketing surveillance, as required.
Criminal Activity: Consistent with applicable federal and state laws, we may disclose your protected health information, if we believe that the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. We may also disclose protected health information if it is necessary for law enforcement authorities to identify or apprehend an individual.
Required by Law: We may use or disclose your protected health information when we are required to do so by law. For example, we must disclose your protected health information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services upon request for purposes of determining whether we are in compliance with federal privacy laws. We may disclose your protected health information when authorized by workers’ compensation or similar laws.
Process and Proceedings: We may disclose your protected health information in response to a court or administrative order, subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful processes, under certain circumstances. Under limited circumstances, such as a court order, warrant, or grand jury subpoena, we may disclose your protected health information to law enforcement officials.
Law Enforcement: We may disclose limited information to a law enforcement official concerning the protected health information of a suspect, fugitive, material witness, crime victim, or missing person. We may disclose the protected health information of an inmate or another person in lawful custody to a law enforcement official or correctional institution under certain circumstances. We may disclose protected health information where necessary to assist law enforcement officials to capture an individual who has admitted to participation in a crime or has escaped from lawful custody.