We are required by law to maintain the privacy of “protected health information.” “Protected health information” includes any identifiable information that we obtain from you or others that relates to your physical or mental health, the health care you have received, or payment for your health care.
As required by law, this notice provides you with information about your rights and our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to the privacy of protected health information. This notice also discusses the uses and disclosures we will make of your protected health information. We must comply with the provisions of this notice, although we reserve the right to change the terms of this notice from time to time and to make the revised notice effective for all protected health information we maintain. You can always request a copy of our most current privacy notice from our office.
We can use or disclose your protected health information for purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations.
We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you or relate specifically to your medical care through our office. For example, we may leave appointment reminders on your answering machine or with a family member or other person who may answer the telephone at the number that you have given us in order to contact you.
We may disclose your protected health information to your family or friends or any other individual identified by you when they are involved in your care or the payment for your care. We will only disclose the protected health information directly relevant to their involvement in your care or payment. We may also use or disclose your protected health information to notify, or assist in the notification of, a family member, a personal representative, or another person responsible for your care of your location, general condition, or death. If you are available, we will give you an opportunity to object to these disclosures, and we will not make these disclosures if you object. If you are not available, we will determine whether a disclosure to your family or friends is in your best interest, and we will disclose only the protected health information that is directly relevant to their involvement in your care.
We will allow your family and friends to act on your behalf to pick up prescriptions, medical supplies, X-rays, and similar forms of protected health information, when we determine, in our professional judgment, that it is in your best interest to make such disclosures.
Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ donor, we may release medical 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 medical information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
Public Health Risks. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:
Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose medical information to federal or state agencies that oversee our activities. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws. We may disclose protected health information to persons under the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction to track products or to conduct post-marketing surveillance.
Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in a response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute.
Law Enforcement. We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary for the institution to provide you with health care, to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others, or for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
Serious Threats. As permitted by applicable law and standards of ethical conduct, we may use and disclose protected health information if we, in good faith, believe that the use of disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.
Disaster Relief. When permitted by law, we may coordinate our uses and disclosures of protected health information with public or private entities authorized by law or by charter to assist in disaster relief efforts.
We may also deny a request for access to protected health information if:
If we deny a request for access for any of the three reasons described above, then you have the right to have our denial reviewed in accordance with the requirements of applicable law.
In any event, any agreed-upon correction will be included as an addition to, and not a replacement of, already existing records.
If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated, you should immediately contact our Practice or our Privacy Officer. All complaints must be submitted in writing. We will not take action against you for filing a complaint. You also may file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services.