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.
We understand the importance of privacy and are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your medical information. We make a record of the medical care we provide and may receive such records from others. We use these records to provide or enable other health care providers to provide quality medical care, to obtain payment for services provided to you as allowed by your health plan and to enable us to meet our professional and legal obligations to operate this medical practice properly. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information and to provide individuals with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information. This notice describes how we may use and disclose your medical information. It also describes your rights and our legal obligations with respect to your medical information. If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact our Privacy Officer listed above.
A. How this Medical Practice May Use or Disclose Health Information
RMG collects medical and related identifiable patient information (such as billing information, claims information, referral and health plan information) and stores it in a chart, in administrative or billing files, and on a computer. The medical record is the property of this medical practice, but the information in the medical record is accessible to the patient. This information is considered "protected health information" (PHI) under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. The law permits us to use or disclose health information for the following purposes without the patient's written authorization:
We use medical information to provide medical care. We disclose medical information to our employees and others who are involved in providing the care our patients need. For example, we may share medical information with other physicians or other health care providers who will provide services that we do not provide or we may share this information with a pharmacist who needs it to dispense a prescription, or a laboratory that performs a test. We may also disclose medical information to members of patients' families or others who can help them-when they are sick or injured, or following the patient's death.
3.Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose PHI to operate this medical practice e. For example, we may use and disclose this information to review and improve the quality of care we provide, or the competence and qualifications of our professional staff. Or we may use and disclose this information to get health plans to authorize services or referrals. We may also use and disclose this information as necessary for medical reviews, legal services, and audits, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs, and business planning and management. We may also share PHI with our "business associates," such as our billing service, that perform administrative services for us. We have a written contract with each of these business associates that contains terms requiring them and their subcontractors to protect the confidentiality and security of this PHI. Although federal law does not protect health information which is disclosed to someone other than another health care provider, health plan, health care clearinghouse, or one of their business associates, California law prohibits all recipients of health care information from further disclosing it except as specifically required or permitted by law.
a. We may also share PHI with other health care providers, health care clearinghouses, or health plans that have a relationship
with our patients when they request this information to help them with their quality assessment and improvement activities, their patient-safety activities, their population-based efforts to improve health or reduce health care costs, protocol development, case management or care coordination activities, their review of competence, qualifications and performance of health care professionals, their training programs, their accreditation, certification or licensing activities, their activities related to contracts of health insurance or health benefits, or their health care fraud and abuse detection and compliance efforts.
5. Notification and Communication with Family
We may disclose our patients' health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or another person responsible for their care about their location or general condition in the event of their death, unless a patient had instructed us otherwise. In the event of a disaster, we may disclose information to a relief organization so that they may coordinate these notification efforts. We may also disclose information to someone who is involved with our patient's care or helps pay for care. If our patient is able and available to agree or object, we will give the patient the opportunity to object prior to making these disclosures, although we may disclose this information in a disaster even over the patient's objection if we believe it is necessary to respond to the emergency circumstances. If our patient is unable or unavailable to agree or object, our health professionals will use their best judgment in communication with the patient's family and others.
7. Sale of Health Information.
We will not sell our patients' health information without their prior written authorization. The authorization will disclose that we will receive compensation for PHI if the patient authorizes us to sell it, and we will stop any future sales of information to the extent that the patient revokes that authorization.
9. Public Health
We may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose our patients' health information to public health authorities for purposes related to: preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability; reporting child, elder or dependent adult abuse or neglect; reporting domestic violence; reporting to the Food and Drug Administration problems with products and reactions to medications; and reporting disease or infection exposure. When we report suspected elder or dependent adult abuse or domestic violence, we will inform our patients or their personal representative promptly unless in our best professional judgment, we believe the notification would place a patient at risk of serious harm or would require informing a personal representative we believe is responsible for the abuse or harm.
11. Judicial and Administrative Proceedings
We may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose our patients' health information in the course of any administrative or judicial proceeding to the extent expressly authorized by a court or administrative order. We may also disclose information about our patients in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process if reasonable efforts have been made to notify them of the request and they have not objected, or if their objections have been resolved by a court or administrative order.
We may, and are often required by law, to disclose our patients' health information to coroners in connection with their investigations of deaths.
15. Public Safety
We may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose our patients' health information to appropriate persons in order to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a particular person or the general public.
17. Specialized Government Functions
We may disclose our patients' health information for military or national security purposes or to correctional institutions or law enforcement officers that have the patient in their lawful custody.
19.Change of Ownership
In the event that this medical practice is sold or merged with another organization, our patients' health information/record will become the property of the new owner, although our patients will maintain the right to request that copies of their health information be transferred to another physician or medical group.
21. Psychotherapy Notes
We will not use or disclose our patients' psychotherapy notes without their prior written authorization except for the following: (1) treatment, (2) for training our staff, students and other trainees, (3) to defend ourselves if the patient sues us or brings some other legal proceeding, (4) if the law requires us to disclose the information to the patient or the Secretary of HHS or for some other reason, (5) in response to health oversight activities concerning the patient's psychotherapist, (6) to avert a serious threat to health or safety, or (7) to the coroner or medical examiner following the patient's death. To the extent the patient revokes an authorization to use or disclose their psychotherapy notes, we will stop using or disclosing these notes.
We may use or disclose our patients' demographic information, the dates that they received treatment, the department of service, their treating physician, outcome information and health insurance status in order to contact them for our fundraising activities. If they do not want to receive these materials, the patient can notify the Privacy Officer listed at the top of this Notice of Privacy Practices and we will stop any further fundraising communications. Similarly, the patient should notify the Privacy Officer if they decide they want to start receiving these solicitations again.
B. When this Medical Practice May Not Use or Disclose Health Information
Except as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices, this medical practice will, consistent with its legal obligations, not use or disclose health information which identifies individual patients without their written authorization. If a patient authorizes this medical practice to use or disclose health information for another purpose, the patient may revoke the authorization in writing at any time.
C. Our Patients' Health Information Rights
2. Right to Request Confidential Communications
Our patients have the right to request that they receive their health information in a specific way or at a specific location. For example, they may ask that we send information to a particular email account or to their work address. We will comply with all reasonable requests submitted in writing which specify how or where our patients wish to receive these communications.
4. Right to Amend or Supplement
Our patients have a right to request that we amend their health information if they believe it is incorrect or incomplete. Our patients must make a request to amend in writing, and include the reasons they believe the information is inaccurate or incomplete. We are not required to change our patients' health information, and will provide them with information about this medical practice's denial and how they can disagree with the denial. We may deny their request if we do not have the information, if we did not create the information (unless the person or entity that created the information Is no longer available to make the amendment}, if they would not be permitted to inspect or copy the information at issue, or if the information is accurate and complete as is. If we deny a request, our patients may submit a written statement of their disagreement with that decision, and we may, in turn, prepare a written rebuttal. Our patients also have the right to request that we add to their record a statement of up to 250 words concerning anything in the record they believe to be incomplete or incorrect. All information related to any request to amend or supplement will be maintained and disclosed in conjunction with any subsequent disclosure of the disputed information.
6.Right to Paper Copy of Notice of Privacy Practices
Our patients have a right to notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to their health information, including a right to a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices, even if they have previously requested its receipt by email. If we have a website, we must post our current Notice of Privacy Practices on our website.
D. Changes to this Notice of Privacy Practices
We reserve the right to amend our privacy practices and the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices at any time in the future. Until such amendment is made, we are required by law to comply with this Notice. After an amendment is made, the revised Notice of Privacy Protections will apply to all protected health information that we maintain, regardless of when it was created or received. We will keep a copy of the current notice posted in our reception area, and a copy will be available at each appointment.
Complaints about this Notice of Privacy Practices or how this medical practice handles our patients' health information should be directed to our Privacy Officer.