|Medical Information Privacy (HIPAA)|
I. Understanding Your Health Record/Information
Each time you visit a hospital or other healthcare provider .a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination, test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care. This information, often referred to as your health record, serves as a:
- Plan for your care and treatment
- Communication source between health care professionals
- Tool with which we can check results and continually work to improve the care we provide
- Means by which Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance payers can verify the services billed
- Tool for education of health care professionals
- Legal document that describes the care you receive
Understanding what is in your health record and how the information is used helps you to:
- Ensure its accuracy
- Better understand why others may review your health information
- Make an informed decision when authorizing disclosures
II. Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of the hospital, the information belongs to you.
You have the right to:
- Inspect and receive a copy of your health record
- Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your health information. For example, you may ask that we not disclose your health information and or treatment to a family member. AAMC is not required to agree to your request; but if we do, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency services.
- Request a correction/amendment to your health record if you believe the health information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, we may amend your record or include your statement of disagreement.
- Request confidential communications about your health information. You may ask that we communicate with you at a location other than your home or by a different means of communications such as telephone or mail.
- Receive a listing of certain disclosures AAMC has made of your health information upon request. This information is maintained for six years or the life of the record, whichever is longer.
- Revoke your written authorization to use or disclose health information. This does not apply to health information already disclosed or used or in circumstances where we have taken action on your authorization or the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage and the insurer has a legal right to contest a claim under the policy or the policy itself.
- Obtain a paper copy of the AAMC Notice of Privacy Practices upon request.
III. ACMH’s Responsibilities
The Abbeville Area Medical Center is required by law to:
- Maintain the privacy of your health information
- Inform you about our privacy practices regarding health information we collect and maintain about you
- Notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction
- Accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations
- Honor the terms of this notice or any subsequent revisions of this notice AAMC reserves the right to change its privacy practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information it maintains. If AAMC makes any significant changes to this Notice, it will send you a copy within 60 days. AAMC also will post any revised Notice of Privacy Practices at public places in its health care facilities.
AAMC understands that health information about you is personal and is commmitted to protecting your health information. AAMC will not use or disclose your health information without your permission, except as described in this notice and as permitted by the Privacy Act.
IV. How AAMC may use and disclose health information about you.
The following categories describe how we may use and disclose health information about you.
We will use and disclose your health information to provide your treatment.
For Treatment: We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietician if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different departments of the hospital also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays. To provide continuity of care, we also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the hospital who may be involved in your medical care after you leave the hospital.
If you are transferred to another facility for further care and treatment, AAMC may disclose information to that facility to enable them to know the extent of treatment you have received and other information about your condition.
Your health care provider(s) may give copies of your health information to others to assist in your treatment.
We will use and disclose your health information for payment purposes.
For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the hospital may be billed to and payment may be collected from an insurance company, a third party, or you. For Example, we may need to give your health plan information about surgery you received at the hospital so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive in order to obtain prior approval or to determine whether you plan will cover the treatment.
We will use and disclose your health information for health care operations.
For example: We may use your health information to evaluate your care and treatment outcomes with our quality improvement team. This information will be used to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the services we provide.
Business Associates: AAMC provides some healthcare services and related functions through the use of contracts with business associates. For example, AAMC may have contracts for medical transcription. When these services are contracted, AAMC may disclose your health information to business associates so that they can perform their jobs. We require our business associates to protect and safeguard your health information in accordance with all applicable federal laws.
Directory: If you are admitted to an AAMC facility, AAMC may use or disclose your name, general condition, religious affiliation, and location within our facility, for facility directory purposes, unless you notify us that you object to this information being listed. AAMC may provide your religious affiliation only to members of the clergy.
Notification: AAMC may use or disclose your health information to notify or assist in the notification of a family member; personal representative or other authorized person(s) responsible for your care, unless you notify us that you object.
Communication with Family: AAMC health providers may use or disclose your health information to others responsible for your care unless you object. For example, AAMC may provide your family members, other relatives, close personal friends or any other person you identify with health information which is relevant to that person’s involvement with your care or payment for such care.
Interpreters: In order to provide you proper care and services, AAMC may use the services of an interpreter. This may require the use or disclosure of your personal health information to the interpreter.
Uses and Disclosures about Decedents: AAMC may use or disclose health information about decedents to a coroner or medical examiner for the purpose of identifying a deceased person, determining a cause of death, or other duties as authorized by law. AAMC also may disclose health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law as necessary to carry out their duties. In addition, AAMC may disclose protected health information about decedents where required under the Freedom of Information Act or otherwise required by law.
Organ Procurement Organizations: AAMC may use or disclose your health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of facilitating organ, eye or tissue donation and transplant.
Treatment Alternatives and Other Health-related Benefits and Services: AAMC may contact you to provide information about treatment alternatives or other types of health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. For example: we may contact you about the availability of new treatment or services for diabetes.
Appointment Reminders: AAMC may contact you with a reminder that you have an appointment for medical care at an AAMC facility or to advise you of a missed appointment.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): AAMC may use or disclose your health information to the FDA in connection with an FDA-regulated product or activity. For example: we may disclose to the FDA information concerning adverse events involving food, dietary supplements, product defects or problems, and information needed to track FDA-regulated products or to conduct product recalls, repairs, replacements, or look backs (including locating people who have received products that have been recalled or withdrawn), or post marketing surveillance.
Workers Compensation: AAMC may use or disclose your health information for workers compensation purposes as authorized or required by law.
Public Health: AAMC may use or disclose your health information to public health or other appropriate government authorities as follows: (1) AAMC may use or disclose your health information to government authorities that are authorized by law to collect or receive such information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability, or conducting public health surveillance, investigations, and interventions; (2) AAMC may disclose your health information to government authorities that are authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect, and (3) AAMC may disclose your health information to government authorities that are authorized by law to receive reports of other abuse, neglect, or domestic violence as required by law, or as authorized by law if AAMC believes it is necessary to prevent serious harm. Where authorized by law, AAMC may disclose your health information to an individual who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or may otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease or condition. In some situations, AAMC may disclose to your employer health information concerning a work-related illness or injury or a workplace-related medical surveillance.
Correctional Institution: If you are an inmate of a correctional institution, AAMC may use or disclose to the institution, health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals such as officers or employees or other inmates.
Law Enforcement: AAMC may use or disclose your health information for law enforcement activities as authorized by law or in response to a court of competent jurisdiction. Members of the Military: If you are a member of the military services including the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, AAMC may use or disclose your health information if necessary to the appropriate military command authorities as authorized by law.
Health Oversight Authorities: AAMC may use or disclose your health information to health oversight agencies for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include: investigations, audits, inspections and other actions.
These are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government benefit programs, and entities subject to government regulatory programs and/or civil rights laws for which health information is necessary to determine compliance. AAMC is required by law to disclose protected health information to the Secretary of HHS to investigate or determine compliance with the HIPAA privacy standards.
Compelling Circumstances: AAMC may use or disclose your health information in certain other situations involving compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual.
For example, in certain circumstances: (1) we may disclose limited protected health information where requested by a law enforcement official for the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person; (2) if you are believed to be a victim of a crime, a law enforcement official requests information about you and we are unable to obtain your agreement because of incapacity or other emergency circumstances, we may disclose the requested information if we determine that such disclosure would be in your best interests; (3) we may use or disclose protected health information as we believe is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person; (4) we may use or disclose protected health information in the course of judiciary and administrative proceedings if required or authorized by law; (5) we may use or disclose protected health information to report a crime committed on AAMC health facility premises or when AAMC is providing emergency health care; and (6) we may make any other disclosures that are required by law.
Non Violation of this Notice: AAMC is not in violation of this Notice or the HIPAA Privacy Rule if any of its employees or its contractors (business associates) discloses protected health information under the following circumstances:
Disclosures by Whistleblowers: If an AAMC employee or contractor (business associate) in good faith believes that AAMC has engaged in conduct that is unlawful or otherwise violates clinical and professional standards or that the care or services provided by AAMC has the potential of endangering one or more patients or members of the workplace or the public and discloses such information to:
A Public Health Authority or Health Oversight Authority authorized by law to investigate or otherwise oversee the relevant conduct or conditions, or the suspected violation, or an appropriate health care accreditation organization for the purpose of reporting the allegation of failure to meet professional standards or misconduct by AAMC; or
b. An attorney on behalf of the workforce member, or contractor (business associate) or hired by the workforce member or contractor (business associate) for the purpose of determining their legal options regarding the suspected violation.
2. Disclosures by Workforce Member Crime Victims: Under certain circumstances, an AAMC workforce member (either an employee or contractor) who is a victim of a crime on or off the hospital premises may disclose information about the suspect to law enforcement official provided that:
The information disclosed is about the suspect who committed the criminal act.
b.The information disclosed is limited to identifying and locating the suspect.
Any other uses and disclosures will be made only with your written authorization, which you may later revoke in writing at any time. (Such revocation would not apply where the health information already has been disclosed or used or in circumstances where AAMC has taken action in reliance on your authorization or the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage and the insurer has a legal right to contest a claim under the policy or the policy itself.)
To exercise your rights under this Notice, to ask for more information, or to report a problem contact the Privacy Officer at: 864-366-5011 or in writing, P.O. Box 887, Abbeville, SC 29620.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a written complaint with the above individual for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
Effective Date: April 14, 2003