Notice of Privacy Practices
Mountain West Dermatology
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.
Original Effective Date: April 14, 2003; Updated September 2013
A federal regulation, known as the “HIPAA Privacy Rule,” requires that we provide detailed notice in writing of our privacy practices. We know that this Notice is long. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires us to address many specific things in this Notice.
Our Legal Duty
In this Notice, we describe the ways that we may use and disclose health information about our patients. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires that we protect the privacy of health information that identifies a patient, or where there is a reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify a patient. This information is called “protected health information” or “PHI.” This Notice describes your rights as our patient and our obligations regarding the use and disclosure of PHI. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI about you. As permitted by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, we reserve the right to make changes to this Notice and to make such changes effective for all PHI we may already have about you. If and when this Notice is changed, we will post a copy in our office in a prominent location. We will also provide you with a copy of the revised Notice upon your request made to our Privacy Official. In the event of a breach of PHI, we will notify the affected individuals.
You will be asked to sign a form to show that you received this Notice. Even if you do not sign this form, we will still provide you with treatment.
USES AND DISCLOSURES FOR TREATMENT, PAYMENT, AND HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS
The following categories describe the different ways we may use and disclose PHI for treatment, payment, or health care operations without your consent or authorization. The examples included in each category do not list every type of use or disclosure that may fall within that category.
Treatment: We may use and disclose PHI about you to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and related services. We may consult with other health care providers regarding your treatment and coordinate and manage your health care with others. For example, we may use and disclose PHI when you need a prescription, lab work, an X-ray, or other health care services. In addition, we may use and disclose PHI about you when referring you to another health care provider. For example, if you are referred to another physician, we may disclose PHI to your new physician regarding whether you are allergic to any medications. In emergencies, we may use and disclose PHI to provide the treatment you need. We may also disclose PHI about you for the treatment activities of another health care provider. For example, we may send a report about you to a physician that we refer you to so that the other physician may treat you.
Payment: We may use and disclose PHI so that we can bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided to you. Before providing treatment or services, we may share details with your health plan concerning the services you are scheduled to receive. For example, we may ask for payment approval from your health plan before we provide care or services. We may also disclose PHI to another health care provider or to a company or health plan required to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule for the payment activities of that health care provider, company, or health plan. For example, we may allow a health insurance company to review PHI for the insurance company’s activities to determine the insurance benefits to be paid for your care.
Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose PHI in performing business activities that are called health care operations. Health care operations include doing things that allow us to improve the quality of care we provide and to reduce health care costs. We may use and disclose PHI about you in the following health care operations: reviewing and improving the quality assessment activities, employee review activities, providing training programs, accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. For example, we may disclose your protected health information to medical students who see patients at our office. In addition, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name and indicate your physician. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you.
Communication From Our Office: We may contact you to remind you of appointments and to provide you with information about treatment alternatives or other health- related benefits and services that may be of interest to you through phone messages or mailings.
OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES WE CAN MAKE WITHOUT YOUR WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION FOR WHICH YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO AGREE OR OBJECT
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care: We may use and disclose PHI about you in some situations where you have the opportunity to agree or object to certain uses and disclosures of PHI about you. We may disclose PHI about you to your Family member, close friend, or any other person identified by you if that information is directly relevant to the person’s involvement in your care or payment for your care. If you are present and able to consent or object (or if you are available in advance), then we may only use or disclose PHI if you do not object after you have been informed of your opportunity to object. If you are not present or you are unable to consent or object, we may exercise professional judgment in determining whether the use or disclosure of PHI is in your best interests. We may also use and disclose PHI to notify such persons of your location, general condition, or death. We may also use professional judgment and our experience with common practice to make reasonable decisions about your best interests in allowing a person to act on your behalf to pick up filled prescriptions, medical supplies, X-rays, or other things that contain PHI about you.
Required By Law: We may use and disclose PHI as required by federal, state, or local law to the extent that the use or disclosure complies with the law and is limited to the requirements of the law. These situations include: Public Health Activities; Abuse,
Neglect, or Domestic Violence; Health Oversight Activities; Lawsuits and Other Legal Proceedings; Law Enforcement; Coroners, Medical Examiners, Funeral Directors; Organ and Tissue Donation; Research; To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety; Specialized Government Functions; Workers’ Compensation; Disclosures Required by HIPAA Privacy Rule; Incidental Disclosures; Limited Data Set Disclosures.
All other uses and disclosures of PHI about you will only be made with your written authorization. If you have authorized us to use or disclose PHI about you, you may later revoke your authorization at any time, except to the extent we have taken action based on the authorization.
Under federal law, you have the following rights regarding PHI about you:
Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request additional restrictions on the PHI that we may use or disclose for treatment, payment, and health care operations. You may also request additional restrictions on our disclosure of PHI to certain individuals involved in your care that otherwise are permitted by the Privacy Rule. We are not required to agree to your request. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to our Privacy Official. In your request, please include (1) the information that you want to restrict; (2) how you want to restrict the information (for example, restricting use to this office, only restricting disclosure to persons outside this office, or restricting both); and (3) to whom you want those restrictions to apply. Further, you may restrict PHI to a health plan for payment purposes or other health care operations provided that services have paid out of pocket in full by the patient. We must comply with this request.
Right to Receive Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that you receive communications regarding PHI in a certain manner or at a certain location. For example, you may request that we contact you at home, rather than at work. You must make your request in writing. You must specify how you would like to be contacted (for example, by regular mail to your post office box and not your home). We are required to accommodate only reasonable requests.
Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to request the opportunity to inspect and receive a copy of PHI about you in certain records that we maintain. This includes your medical and billing records but does not include psychotherapy notes or information gathered or prepared for a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding. We may deny your request to inspect and copy PHI only in
Right to Amend: You have the right to request that we amend PHI about you as long as such information is kept by or for our office. To make this type of request, you must submit your request in writing to our Privacy Official. You must also give us a reason for your request. We may deny your request in certain cases: the information was not created by us, is not part of the information kept by or for the office, is not part of the information you would be permitted to inspect and copy, and the information is accurate and complete.
Right to Receive an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an “accounting” of certain disclosures that we have made of PHI about you, for purposes other than treatment, payment, healthcare operations and certain other activities. This is a list of disclosures made by us during a specified period of up to 6 years but not before April 14, 2003. If you wish to make such a request, please contact our Privacy Official identified on the last page of this Notice. The first list that you request in a 12-month period will be free, but we may charge you for our reasonable costs of providing additional lists in the same 12-month period.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our office, please contact our privacy officer, John Worley. He can be reached by phone at (208) 528-6653. We will not retaliate or take action against you for filing a complaint.