Notice of Privacy Practices
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide individuals with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health information. Perry County Medical Center, Inc. dba Three Rivers Community Health Group (hereinafter “TRCHG”) is required to abide by the terms of the Notice currently in effect. TRCHG reserves the right to change the terms of its notice and to make the new notice provisions effective for all PHI that it maintains.
This Notice of Privacy Practices and Policies outlines our practices, policies and legal duties to maintain confidentiality and protect against prohibited disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) under the privacy regulations mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and further expanded by the Health Information Technology for Economic Clinical Health Act (“HITECH”).
PHI includes your demographic information such as name, address, telephone number, and family; past, present, or future information about your physical or mental health or condition; and information about the medical services provided to you, including payment information, if any of that information may be used to identify you. Your PHI may be maintained by us electronically and/or on paper.
This Notice describes uses and disclosures of PHI to which you have consented, that you may be asked to authorize in the future, and that are permitted or required by state or federal law. Also, it advises you of your rights to access and control your PHI.
We may amend this Notice of Privacy Practices and Policies periodically. The new notice will be effective for all PHI that we maintain at that time. Upon your request, we will provide you with any revised Notice of Privacy Practices or you may obtain a copy by calling the office, and requesting that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail, or asking for one at the time of your next appointment.
We regard the safeguarding of your PHI as an important duty. The elements of this Notice and any authorizations you may sign are required by state and federal law for your protection and to ensure your informed consent to the use and disclosure of PHI necessary to support your relationship with TRCHG. If you have any questions about TRCHG Notice of Privacy Practices and Policies, please contact the Chief Executive Officer at TRCHG.
Safeguarding PHI within Our Practice
We have in place appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect and to secure the privacy and security of your PHI. We orient our staff to the regulations and policies developed to protect the privacy of your PHI, and review their obligation to maintain privacy and security annually. We hold medical records in a secure area within our practice, and our electronic medical record system is monitored and updated to address security risks in compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule. Only staff members who have a legitimate "need to know" are permitted access to your medical records and other PHI.
Uses and Disclosures of PHI
As part of our registration materials, we will request your written consent for our practice to use and disclose your PHI for the following types of activities:
- Treatment. Treatment means the provision, coordination, or management of your health care and related services by TRCHG and health care providers involved in your care. Students may be a member of the health care team. It includes the coordination or management of health care by a provider with a third party insurance carrier, communication with lab or imaging providers for test results, consultation between our clinical staff and other health care providers relating to your care, or our referral of you to a specialist physician or facility.
- Payment. Payment means our activities to obtain reimbursement for the medical services provided to you, including billing, claims management, and collection activities. Payment also may include your insurance carrier's efforts in determining eligibility, claims processing, assessing medical necessity, and utilization review. Payment may also include activities carried out on our behalf by one or more of our collection agencies or agents in order to secure payment on delinquent bills.
- Health Care Operations. Health care operations mean the legitimate business activities of our practice. These can also include our telephoning you to remind you of appointments, or using a translation service if we need to communicate with you in person, or on the telephone, in a language other than English.
Electronic Exchange of PHI
We may transfer your PHI to other treating health care providers electronically. We may also transmit your information to your insurance carrier electronically.
Uses and Disclosures of PHI Based Upon Your Written Authorization
Other uses and disclosures of your PHI will be made only with your specific written authorization or, in some cases, your agreement. This allows you to request that PCMC disclose limited PHI to specified individuals or companies for a defined purpose and timeframe. For example, you may wish to authorize disclosures to individuals who are not involved in treatment, payment, or health care operations, such as a family member or a school physical education program. If you wish us to make disclosures in these situations, we will ask you to sign an authorization allowing us to disclose this PHI to the designated parties. You may also authorize the sale of your PHI. School immunization records may be disclosed with your documented agreement.
Uses and Disclosures of PHI Permitted or Required by Law
In some circumstances, we may be legally bound to use or disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization. State and federal privacy law permit or require such use or disclosure regardless of your consent or authorization in certain situations, including, but not limited to:
- Emergencies. If you are incapacitated and require emergency medical treatment, we will use and disclose your PHI to ensure you receive the necessary medical services. We will attempt to obtain your consent as soon as practical following your treatment.span>
- Others Involved in Your Healthcare: Upon your verbal authorization, we may disclose to a family member, close friend or other person you designate only that PHI that directly relates to that individual’s involvement in your healthcare and treatment. We may also need to use PHI to notify a family member, personal representative or someone else responsible for your care of your location and general condition.
- Communication barriers. If we try but cannot obtain your consent to use or disclose your PHI because of substantial communication barriers and your physician, using his or her professional judgment, infers that you consent to the use or disclosure, or the physician determines that a limited disclosure is in your best interests, PCMC may permit the use or disclosure.
- Required by Law: We may disclose your PHI to the extent that its use or disclosure is required by law. This disclosure will be made in compliance with the law and will be limited to the relevant requirements of the law.
- Public Health/Regulatory Activities: We may disclose your PHI to an authorized public health authority to prevent or control disease, injury, or disability or to comply with state child or adult abuse or neglect law. We are obligated to report suspicion of abuse and neglect to the appropriate regulatory agency.
- Food and Drug Administration: We may disclose your PHI to a person or company as required by the Food and Drug Administration to report adverse events, product defects or problems, biologic product deviations as well as to track product usage, enable product recalls, make repairs or replacements or to conduct post-marketing surveillance.
- Health oversight activities. We may disclose your PHI to a health oversight agency for audits, investigations, inspections, and other activities necessary for the appropriate oversight of the health care system and government benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
- Judicial and administrative proceedings. We may only disclose your PHI in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding in response to a court order expressly directing disclosure, or in accordance with specific statutory obligation compelling us to do so, or with your permission.
- Law enforcement activities. In accordance with state law, we may not disclose your PHI to a law enforcement officer for law enforcement purposes without court order, statutory obligation or patient authorization.
- Coroners, medical examiners, funeral directors and organ donation organizations: We may disclose your PHI to a coroner or medical examiner for the purpose of identifying a deceased person, determining a cause of death, or other lawful duties. We also may disclose your PHI to enable a funeral director to carry out his or her lawful duties. PHI may also be disclosed to organ banks for cadaveric organ, eye, bone, tissue and other donation purposes.
- Research. We may disclose your PHI for certain medical or scientific research where approved by an institutional review board and where the researchers have a protocol to ensure the privacy of your PHI.
- Serious threats to health or safety. We may disclose your PHI to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.
- Military activity & national security. We may disclose the PHI of members of the armed forces for activities deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities to assure proper execution of the military mission. We also may disclose your PHI to certain federal officials for lawful intelligence and other national security activities.
- Worker’s Compensation: We may disclose your PHI as authorized to comply with worker’s compensation law.
- Inmates of a Correctional Facility: We may use or disclose PHI if you are an inmate of a correctional facility and our practice created or received your PHI in the course of providing care to you while in custody.
- US Department of Health and Human Services: We must disclose your PHI to you upon request and to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health & Human Services to investigate or determine our compliance with the privacy laws.
- Disaster Relief Activities: We may disclose your PHI to local, state or federal agencies engaged in disaster relief and to private disaster relief assistance organizations (such as the Red Cross if authorized to assist in disaster relief efforts).
- Data Transmission: We may disclose your PHI to a Health Insuring Organization, an E-Prescribing Gateway or other person that provides data-transmission service regarding personal health information to a covered entity on a routine basis.
Your Rights Regarding PHI
Although your health record is the physical property of TRCHG, under federal law, you have the following rights regarding PHI about you:
- Right to request restrictions of uses and disclosures
- Right to inspect and obtain Copy of PHI in paper and electronic format.
- Right to receive confidential communications
- Right to request amendment to PHI
- Right to request restrictions
- Patients have the right to restrict use and disclosure of PHI if the PHI pertains solely to health care items for which the individual (other than a health plan) has paid out-of-pocket, in full.
- Right to receive an accounting of disclosures
- Right to a obtain paper copy of this notice
- Within our Practice: If you have a complaint about the denial of any of the specific rights listed in Section 7 above, about our Notice of Privacy Practices and Policies, or about our compliance with state and federal privacy law you may get more information about the complaint process by contacting TRCHG. We will respond to your complaint in writing within thirty (30) days of the date of your complaint.
- Outside our Practice: If you believe that TRCHG is not complying with its legal obligations to protect the privacy of your PHI, you may file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights.
- We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
Effective Date. This Notice is effective September 1, 2013