(Revised January 1, 2016)
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.
This Notice of Privacy Practices is NOT an authorization. This Notice of Privacy Practices describes how we, our Business Associates and their subcontractors, may use and disclose your “Protected Health Information” (PHI) to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations, and for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. It also describes your rights to access and control your PHI. PHI is information about you, including demographic information, that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health condition and related health care services.
This Notice is provided to you as a requirement of HIPAA. There are several other privacy laws that also apply to HIV-related information, family planning information, mental health information, psychotherapy notes, and substance abuse information. These laws have not been superseded, and the disclosure of such information is specifically subject to more strict privacy standards and most uses and disclosures require express authorization from you.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION:
The following describes the ways we may use and disclose your PHI. Except for the purposes described below, we will use and disclose PHI only with your written permission. You may revoke such permission at any time by writing to our practice Privacy Officer.
For Treatment – We may use and disclose PHI for your treatment and to provide you with treatment-related health care services. For example, we may disclose PHI to doctors, nurses, technicians, or other personnel, including people outside our office, who are involved in your medical care and need the information to provide you with medical care.
For Payment – We may use and disclose PHI so that we or others may bill and receive payment from you, an insurance company or a third party for the treatment and services you received. For example, we may give your health plan information about you so that they will pay for your treatment.
For Health Care Operations – We may use and disclose PHI for health care operations purposes. These uses and disclosures are necessary to make sure that all of our patients receive quality care and to operate and manage our office. For example, we may use and disclose information to make sure the orthopedic or physical therapy care you receive is of the highest quality. We also may share information with other entities that have a relationship with you (for example, your health plan) for their health care operation activities.
Appointment Reminders, Treatment Alternatives and Health Related Benefits and Services – We may use and disclose PHI to contact you to remind you that you have an appointment with us. We also may use and disclose PHI to tell you about treatment alternatives or health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
WE MAY ALSO USE AND DISCLOSE PHI IN THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:
Required by Law – We may use or disclose your PHI if law or regulations requires the use or disclosure.
Public Health – We may disclose your PHI to a public health authority who is permitted by law to collect or receive the information. For example, the disclosure may be necessary to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; report births and deaths; or report reactions to medications or problems with medical products.
Communicable Diseases – We may disclose your PHI, if authorized by law, to a person who might have been exposed to a communicable disease or might otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading the disease or condition.
Health Oversight – We may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. These health oversight agencies might include government agencies that oversee the health care system, government benefit programs, or other regulatory programs.
Food and Drug Administration – We may disclose your PHI to a person or company required by the Food and Drug Administration to report adverse events; track products, enable product recalls; make repairs or replacements; or conduct post-marketing reviews.
Legal Proceedings – We may disclose PHI during any judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to a court order or administrative tribunal (if such disclosure is expressly authorized), and in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process.
Law Enforcement – We may disclose PHI for law enforcement purposes, including information requests for identification and location; and circumstances pertaining to victims of a crime.
Coroners, Funeral Directors, and Organ Donations – We may disclose PHI to coroners or medical examiners for identification to determine the cause of death or for the performance of other duties authorized by law. We may also disclose PHI to funeral directors as authorized by law. PHI may be used and disclosed for cadaver organ, eye or tissue donations.
Research – We may disclose PHI to researchers when authorized by law, for example, if their research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your PHI.
Threat to Health or Safety – Under applicable Federal and State laws, we may disclose your PHI to law enforcement or another health care professional if we believe in good faith that its 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 PHI if it is necessary for law enforcement authorities to identify or apprehend an individual.
Military Activity and National Security – When the appropriate conditions apply, we may use or disclose PHI of individuals who are Armed Forces personnel for activities believed necessary by appropriate military command authorities to ensure the proper execution of the military mission, including determination of fitness for duty; or to a foreign military authority if you are a member of that foreign military service. We may also disclose your PHI, under specified conditions, to authorized Federal officials for conducting national security and intelligence activities including protective services to the President or others.
Workers’ Compensation – We may disclose your PHI to comply with workers’ compensation laws and similar government programs.
Inmates – We may use or disclose your PHI, under certain circumstances, if you are an inmate of a correctional facility.
Parental Access – State laws concerning minors permit or require certain disclosure of PHI to parents, guardians, and persons acting in a similar legal status. We will act consistently with the laws of this State (or, if you are treated by us in another state, the laws of that state) and will make disclosures following such laws.
Business Associates – We may disclose PHI to our business associates that perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the information is necessary for such functions or services. For example, we may use another company to perform billing services on our behalf. All of our business associates are obligated to protect the privacy of your information and are not allowed to use or disclose any information other than as specified in our contract.
Data Breach Notification Purposes – We may use or disclose your PHI to provide legally required notices of unauthorized access to or disclosure of your PHI.
USES & DISCLOSURES THAT REQUIRE US TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO OBJECT AND OPT OUT:
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your 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 PHI that directly relates to that person’s involvement in your health care., 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.
Disaster Relief – We may disclose your PHI to disaster relief organizations that seek your PHI to coordinate your care, or notify family and friends of your location or condition in a disaster. We will provide you with an opportunity to agree or object to such a disclosure whenever we practically can do so.
Fundraising – In the event you are contacted for fundraising purposes, you have the right to opt out of such fundraising communications with each solicitation.
YOUR WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION IS REQUIRED FOR OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES:
The following uses and disclosures of your PHI will be made only with your written authorization:
- Uses and disclosures of PHI for marketing purposes; and
- Disclosures that constitute a sale of your PHI
Other uses and disclosures of PHI not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization. If you do give us an authorization, you may revoke it at any time by submitting a written revocation to our Privacy Officer and we will no longer disclose PHI under the authorization. But any disclosure that we made in reliance on your authorization before you revoked it will not be affected by the revocation.
You have the following rights regarding PHI we have about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy – You have a right to inspect and copy PHI that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care. This includes medical and billing records, other than psychotherapy notes. To inspect and copy this PHI, you must make your request, in writing, to: Union County Orthopaedic Group; Attn: HIPAA Privacy Officer; 210 W. Saint Georges Ave., Fl. 2; Linden, NJ 07036. We have up to 30 days to make your PHI available to you and we may charge you a reasonable fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request. We may not charge you a fee if you need the information for a claim for benefits under the Social Security Act or any other state or federal needs-based benefit program. We may deny your request in certain limited circumstances. If we do deny your request, you have the right to have the denial reviewed by a licensed healthcare professional who was not directly involved in the denial of your request, and we will comply with the outcome of the review.
Right to an Electronic Copy of Electronic Medical Records – If your PHI is maintained in an electronic format (known as an electronic medical record or an electronic health record), you have the right to request that an electronic copy of your record be given to you or transmitted to another individual or entity. We will make every effort to provide access to your PHI in the form or format you request, if it is readily producible in such form or format. If the PHI is not readily producible in the form or format you request your record will be provided in either our standard electronic format or if you do not want this form or format, a readable hard copy form. We may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for the labor associated with transmitting the electronic medical record.
Right to Get Notice of a Breach – You have the right to be notified upon a breach of any of your unsecured PHI.
Right to Amend – If you feel that PHI we have is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our office. To request an amendment, you must make your request, in writing, to: Union County Orthopaedic Group; Attn: HIPAA Privacy Officer; 210 W. Saint Georges Ave., Fl. 2; Linden, NJ 07036.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures – You have the right to request a list of certain disclosures we made of PHI for purposes other than treatment, payment and health care operations or for which you provided written authorization. To request an accounting of disclosures, you must make your request, in writing, to: Union County Orthopaedic Group; Attn: HIPAA Privacy Officer; 210 W. Saint Georges Ave., Fl. 2; Linden, NJ 07036.
Right to Request Restrictions – You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the PHI we use or disclose for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the PHI we disclose to someone involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not share information about a particular diagnosis or treatment with your spouse. To request a restriction, you must make your request, in writing, to: Union County Orthopaedic Group; Attn: HIPAA Privacy Officer; 210 W. Saint Georges Ave., Fl. 2; Linden, NJ 07036. We are not required to agree to your request unless you are asking us to restrict the use and disclosure of your PHI to a health plan for payment or health care operation purposes and such information you wish to restrict pertains solely to a health care item or service for which you have paid us “out-of-pocket” in full. If we agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
Out-of-Pocket-Payments – If you paid out-of-pocket (or in other words, you have requested that we not bill your health plan) in full for a specific item or service, you have the right to ask that your PHI with respect to that item or service not be disclosed to a health plan for purposes of payment or health care operations, and we will honor that request.
Right to Request Confidential Communications – You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you by mail or at work. To request confidential communications, you must make your request, in writing, to: Union County Orthopaedic Group; Attn: HIPAA Privacy Officer; 210 W. Saint Georges Ave., Fl. 2; Linden, NJ 07036. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted. We will accommodate reasonable requests.
Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice – You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice. You may obtain a copy of this notice at our web site, www.unioncountyortho.com. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, please ask the front desk at any of our locations.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE:
We reserve the right to change this notice and make the new notice apply to PHI we already have as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of our current notice at our office. The notice will contain the effective date on the first page, in the top right-hand corner.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our office, or for more information about the complaint process, contact: Union County Orthopaedic Group; Attn: HIPAA Privacy Officer; 210 W. Saint Georges Ave., Fl. 2; Linden, NJ 07036. All complaints must be made in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of, and provide individuals with, this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI. We are also required to abide by the terms of the notice currently in effect. If you have any questions in reference to this form, please ask to speak with our HIPAA Compliance Officer in person or by phone at our main phone number (908) 486-1111.