Notice of Privacy Practices
SURGICAL ASSOCIATES of NORTH ALABAMA®
P.O. BOX 1029
DECATUR, AL 35602
Phone: 256-355-6414 Fax: 256-355-6646
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
This Notice was most recently revised on 4/29/15
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED OR DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR IF YOU NEED MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR PRIVACY OFFICER:
Privacy Officer: Tina Davis
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 1029
About This Notice
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of Protected Health Information (PHI) and to give you this Notice explaining our privacy practices with regard to that information. You have certain rights – and we have certain legal obligations – regarding the privacy of your PHI, and this Notice also explains your rights and our obligations. We are required to abide by the terms of the current version of this Notice.
What is Protected Health Information (PHI)?
Protected Health Information (PHI) is information that individually identifies you and that we create or get from you or from another health care provider, a health plan, your employer, or a health care clearinghouse and that relates to (1) your past, present, or future physical or mental health or conditions, (2) the provision of health care to you, or (3) the past, present, or future payment for your health care.
How We May Use and Disclose Your PHI
We may use and disclose your PHI in the following circumstances:
For Treatment. We may use PHI to give you medical treatment or services and to manage and coordinate your medical care. For example, we may disclose PHI to doctors, nurses, technicians, or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you, including people outside our practice, such as referring or specialist physicians.
For Payment. We may use and disclose PHI so that we can bill for the treatment and services you get from us and can collect payment from you, an insurance company, or another third party. For example, we may need to give your health plan information about your treatment in order for your health plan to pay for that treatment. We also may tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to find out if your plan will cover the treatment. If a bill is overdue we may need to give PHI to a collection agency to the extent necessary to help collect the bill, and we may disclose an outstanding debt to credit reporting agencies.
For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose PHI for our health care operations. For example, we may use PHI for our general business management activities, for checking on the performance of our staff in caring for you, for our cost-management activities, for audits, or to get legal services. We may give PHI to other health care entities for their health care operations, for example, to your health insurer for its quality review purposes.
Appointment Reminders/Treatment Alternatives/Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose PHI to contact you to remind you that you have an appointment for medical care, or to contact you to tell you about possible treatment options or alternatives or health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
Minors. We may disclose the PHI of minor children to their parents or guardians unless such disclosure is otherwise prohibited by law.
Personal Representative. If you have a personal representative, such as a legal guardian (or an executor or administrator of your estate after your death), we will treat that person as if that person is you with respect to disclosures of your PHI.
As Required by Law. We will disclose PHI about you when required to do so by international, federal, state, or local law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose PHI when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health or safety or to the health or safety of others. But we will only disclosure the information to someone who may be able to help prevent the threat.
Business Associates. We may disclose PHI to our business associates who perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the PHI is necessary for those functions or services. For example, we may use another company to do our billing, or to provide transcription or consulting services for us. All of our business associates are obligated, under contract with us, to protect the privacy of your PHI.
Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ or tissue donor, we may use or disclose your PHI to organizations that handle organ procurement or transplantation – such as an organ donation bank – as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release PHI as required by military command authorities. We also may release PHI to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military.
Workers’ Compensation. We may use or disclose PHI for workers’ compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks. We may disclose PHI for public health activities. This includes disclosures to: (1) a person subject to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for purposes related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of an FDA-regulated product or activity; (2) prevent or control disease, injury or disability; (3) report births and deaths; (4) report child abuse or neglect; (5) report reactions to medications or problems with products; (6) notify people of recalls of products they may be using; (7) a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; and (8) the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence and the patient agrees or we are required or authorized by law to make that disclosure.
Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, licensure, and similar activities that are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose PHI in response to a court or administrative order. We also may disclose PHI in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other legal process from someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to get an order protecting the information requested. We may also use or disclose your PHI to defend ourselves if you sue us.
Law Enforcement. We may release PHI if asked by a law enforcement official for the following reasons: in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; about the victim of a crime if; about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; about criminal conduct on our premises; and in emergency circumstances to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description, or location of the person who committed the crime.
National Security. We may release PHI to authorized federal officials for national security activities authorized by law. For example, we may disclose PHI to those officials so they may protect the President.
Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors. We may release PHI to a coroner, medical examiner, or funeral director so that they can carry out their duties.
Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may disclose PHI to the correctional institution or law enforcement official if the disclosure is necessary (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) the safety and security of the correctional institution.
Uses and Disclosures That Require Us to Give You an Opportunity to Object and Opt Out
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may disclose PHI to a person who is involved in your medical care or helps pay for your care, such as a family member or friend, to the extent it is relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care. We will provide you with an opportunity to object to and opt out of such a disclosure whenever we practicably can do so.
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 practicably can do so.
Your Written Authorization is Required for Other Uses and Disclosures
Uses and disclosures for marketing purposes and disclosures that constitute a sale of PHI can only be made with your written authorization. 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. Disclosures that we made in reliance on your authorization before you revoked it will not be affected by the revocation.
Special Protections for HIV, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and Genetic Information
Special privacy protections apply to HIV-related information, alcohol and substance abuse, mental health, and genetic information. Some parts of this general Notice of Privacy Practices may not apply to these kinds of PHI. Please check with our Privacy Officer for information about the special protections that do apply. For example, if we give you a test to determine if you have been exposed to HIV, we will not disclose the fact that you have taken the test to anyone without your written consent unless otherwise required by law.
Your Rights Regarding Your PHI
You have the following rights, subject to certain limitations, regarding your PHI:
Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and/or receive a copy of PHI that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care. But you do not have a right to inspect or copy psychotherapy notes. We may charge you a 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 one or more designated record sets electronically (for example 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 may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for the labor associated with copying or transmitting the