Notice of Privacy Practices
This notice describes how health information about you (as a patient of this practice) may be used and disclosed, and how you can get access to your individually identifiable health information.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.
A. Our Commitment to your privacy
Our practice is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your individually identifiable health information (IIHI). In conducting our business, we will create a record regarding you and the treatment and services we provide to you. We are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of health information that identifies you. We also are required by law to provide you with this notice of the privacy practices that we maintain in our practice concerning your IIHI.
We must provide you with the following important information:
- How we may use and disclose your IIHI
- Your privacy rights in your IIHI
- Our obligations concerning the use and disclosure of your IIHI
The terms of this notice apply to all records containing your IIHI that are created or retained by our practice. We reserve the right to revise or amend this Notice of Privacy Practices. Any revision or amendment to this notice will be effective for all of your records that our practice has created or maintained in the past, and for any of your records that we create or maintain in the future. Or practice will also post a copy of our current Notice in our office in a visible location, and you may request a copy of our most current Notice at any time.
B. If you have questions about this notice please contact:
303 Williams Avenue, Suite 1421
Huntsville, AL 35801
C. We may use and disclose your IIHI in the following ways:
The following categories describe the different ways in which we may use and disclose your IIHI.
- Treatment. Our practice may use your IIHI to treat you. For example, we follow the practice of calling you for appointment reminders and provide other health care information to you via telephone. Additionally, we may disclose your IIHI to others who may assist in your care, such as your spouse, children or parents and/or the individual(s) you identify as your emergency contact(s), unless you restrict this disclosure, in writing. We may disclose IHII and provide information to you about products, services and events provided by our office via email newsletter. We will need your email address to complete this process.
- Payment. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI in order to bill and collect payment for the services and items you may receive from us. For example, we may contact your health insurer to certify that you are eligible for benefits (and for what range of benefits), and we may provide your insurer with details regarding your treatment to determine if your insurer will cover, or pay for, your treatment. We also may use and disclose your IIHI to obtain payment from third parties that may be responsible for such costs, such as family members, or collections services. Also, we may use your IIHI to bill you directly for services and items. We may disclose your IIHI to other health care providers and entities to assist in their billing and collection efforts.
- Health Care Operations. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI to operate our business. As an example of the ways in which we may use and disclose your information for our operations, our practice may use your IIHI to evaluate the quality of care you received from us.
- Release of Information to Family/Friends. Our practice may release your IIHI to a friend or family member that is involved in your care, or who assists in taking care of you, unless you specifically object. For example you may have a family member or friend who will take care of you immediately after surgery. We will disclose your IIHI to person(s), designated by you, in order for them to adequately care for you during your recovery.
- Disclosure Required By Law. Our practice will use and disclose your IIHI when we are required to do so by federal, state or local law.
D. Use and disclosure of your IIHI in certain special circumstances
The following categories describe unique scenarios in which we may use or disclose your identifiable health information:
- Public Health Risks. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to public health authorities that are authorized by law to collect information for the purpose of:
- Maintaining vital records, such as births and deaths
- Reporting child abuse or neglect
- Preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability
- Notifying a person regarding potential risk for spreading or contracting a disease or condition
- Reporting reactions to drugs or problems with products or devices
- Notifying individuals if a product or device they may be using has been recalled
- Notifying appropriate government agency(ies) and authority(ies) regarding the potential abuse or neglect of an adult patient (including domestic violence); however, we will only disclose this information if the patient agrees or we are required or authorized by law to disclose this information.
- Notifying your employer under limited circumstances related primarily to workplace injury or illness or medical surveillance.
- Health Oversight Activities. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Oversight activities can include, for example, investigations, inspections, audits, surveys, licensure and disciplinary actions; civil, administrative, and criminal procedures or actions; or other activities necessary for the government to monitor government programs, compliance with civil rights laws and the health care system in general.
- Lawsuits and Similar Proceedings. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI in response to a court or administrative order, if you are involved in a lawsuit or similar proceeding. We also may disclose your IIHI in response to a discovery request, subpoena, or other lawful process by another party involved in the dispute.
- Law Enforcement. We may release IIHI if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
- Regarding a crime victim in certain situations, if we are unable to obtain the person's agreement
- Concerning a death we believe has resulted from criminal conduct
- Regarding criminal conduct at our offices
- In response to a warrant, summons, court order, subpoena or similar legal process
- To identify/locate a suspect, material witness, fugitive or missing person
- In an emergency, to report a crime (including the location or victim(s) or the crime, or the description, identity or location of the perpetrator)
- Serious Threats to Health or Safety. Our practice may use and disclose your IIHI when necessary to reduce or prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of another individual or the public. Under these circumstances, we will only make disclosures to a person or organization able to help prevent the threat.
- Military. Our practice may disclose your IIHI if you are a member of U.S. or foreign military forces (including veterans) and if required by the appropriate authorities.
- National Security. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to federal officials for intelligence and national security activities authorized by law. We also may disclose your IIHI to federal officials in order to protect the President, other officials or foreign heads of state, or to conduct investigations
- Inmates. Our practice may disclose your IIHI to correctional institutions or law enforcement officials if you are an inmate or under the custody of a law enforcement official. Disclosure for these purposes would be necessary: (a) for the institution to provide health care services to you, (b) for the safety and security of the institution, and/or (c) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of other individuals.
- Workers' Compensation. Our practice may release your IIHI for workers' compensation and similar programs.
E. Your rights regarding your IIHI
You have the following rights regarding the IIHI that we maintain about you. Please allow up to 2 business days for a response to any requests you may have concerning your IIHI.
- Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that our practice communicate with you about your health and related issues in a particular manner or at a certain location. For instance, you may ask that we contact you at home, rather than work. This information is collected at your initial intake. Requests to change this confidential communication must be made in writing on our Patient Information Questionnaire. Our practice will accommodate reasonable requests. You do not need to give a reason for your request.
- Requesting Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your IIHI for treatment, payment or health care operations. Additionally, you have the right to request that we restrict our disclosure of your IIHI to only certain individuals involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as family members and friends. We are not required to agree to your request; however, if we do agree, we are bound by our agreement except when otherwise required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is necessary to treat you. In order to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your IIHI, you must make your request in writing to Privacy Officer 303 Williams Av SW, Suite 1421, Huntsville, Al 35801. Your request must describe in a clear and concise fashion:
- (a) the information you wish restricted;
- (b) whether you are requesting to limit our practice's use, disclosure or both; and
- (c) to whom you want the limits to apply.
- Inspection and Copies. You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the IIHI that may be used to make decisions about you, including patient medical records and billing records, but not including psychotherapy notes. In order to inspect and/or obtain a copy of your IIHI, you must fill out a release of information form provided by our office. Our practice may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, labor and supplies associated with your request. Our practice may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances; however, you may request a review of our denial. Another licensed health care professional chosen by us will conduct reviews
- Amendment. You may ask us to amend your health information if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete, and you may request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our practice. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to Privacy Officer, 303 Williams Av. SW, Suite 1421, Huntsville, Al 35801. You must provide us with a reason that supports your request for amendment. Our practice will deny your request if you fail to submit your request (and the reason supporting your request) in writing. Also, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that is in our opinion (a) accurate and complete; (b) not part of the IIHI kept by or for the practice; (c) not part of the IIHI which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or (d) not created by our practice, unless the individual or entity that created the information is not available to amend the information.
- Accounting of Disclosures. All of our patients have the right to request and "accounting of disclosures." An "accounting of disclosures" is a list of certain non-routine disclosures our practice has made of your IIHI for non-treatment, non-payment or non-operations purposes. Use of your IIHI as part of the routine patient care in our practice is not required to be documented. For example, the doctor may share information with the nurse; or the billing department may use your information to file your insurance claim. Disclosures made as a result of a request including a signed release by you are also not required to be documented. Such disclosures would include requests for information by your life insurance company, FMLA paperwork, etc. In order to obtain an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to Privacy Officer, 303 Williams Av. SW, Suite 1421, Huntsville, Al 35801. All requests for an "accounting of disclosures" must state a time period, which may not be longer than six (6) years from the date of disclosure and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. The first list you request within a 12-month period is free of charge, but our practice may charge you for additional lists within the same 12-month period. Our practice will notify you of the costs involved with additional request, and you may withdraw your request before you incur any costs.
- Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You are entitled to receive a paper copy of our notice of privacy practices. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact Privacy Officer, 303 Williams Av. SW, Huntsville, Al 35801.
- Right to File a Complaint. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our practice or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our practice, you must fill out a patient complaint form provided by our office, or address your written complaint to Privacy Officer, 303 Williams Av, SW, Suite 1421, Huntsville, Al 3580'. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
- Right to Provide an Authorization for Other Uses and Disclosures. Our practice will obtain your written authorization for use and disclosures that are not identified by this notice or permitted by applicable law. Any authorization you provide to us regarding the use and disclosure of your IIHI may be revoked at any time in writing. After you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your IIHI for the reason described in the authorization. Please note, we are required to retain records of your care.
Again, if you have any questions regarding this notice or our health information privacy policies please contact Privacy Officer 256-536-4448.