How we use your patient health information (PHI)
This Notice of Privacy Practices (Notice) describes how we may use within our practice or network and disclose (share outside of our practice or network) your PHI to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations, for administrative purposes, for evaluation of the quality of care, and so forth. We may also share your PHI for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. This Notice also describes your rights to access and control your PHI. Under some circumstances we may be required to use or disclose your PHI without your consent.
Treatment: We will use and disclose your PHI to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may also disclose your PHI to other health care providers who are participating in your treatment, to pharmacists who are filling your prescriptions, to laboratories performing tests, and to family members who are helping with your care, and so forth.
Payment: We will use and disclose your PHI for payment purposes. For example, we may need to obtain authorization from your insurance company before providing certain types of treatment. We will submit bills and maintain records of payments from your health plan. PHI may be shared with the following: billing companies, insurance companies (health plans), or government agencies in order to assist with qualifications of benefits, or collection agencies.
Operation: We may ask you to complete a sign-in sheet or staff members may ask you the reason for your visit so we can better care for you. Despite safeguards, it is always possible in a doctor’s office that you may learn information regarding other patients or they may inadvertently learn something about you. In all cases, we expect and request that our patients maintain strict confidentiality of PHI.
We may use and disclose your PHI to perform various routine functions (e.g. quality evaluations or records analysis, training students, other health care providers or ancillary staff such as billing personnel, to assist in resolving problems or complaints within the practice). We may use your PHI to contact you to provide information about referrals, for follow-up with lab results, to inquire about your health or for other reasons. We may share your PHI with business associates who assist us in performing routine operational functions. We will always obtain assurances from them to protect your PHI the same as we do.
Special Situations that DO NOT require your permission: We may be required by law to report gunshot wounds, suspected abuse or neglect, and so on. We may be required to disclose vital statistics, diseases and similar information to public health authorities. We may be required to disclose information for audits and similar activities, in response to a subpoena or court order, or as required by law enforcement officials. We may release information about you for Worker’s Compensation or similar programs to protect your health or the health of others or for legitimate government needs, for approved medical research, or to certain entities in the case of death. Your PHI may also be shared if you are an inmate or under custody of the law which is necessary for your health or the health and safety of other individuals.
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 deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities, for the purpose of a determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs of your eligibility for benefits, or to foreign military authority if you are a member of that foreign military services.
In some situations, we may ask for your written authorization before using or disclosing any identifiable health information about you. If you sign an authorization, you can later revoke the authorization.