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Notice of Privacy Practices - 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. If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact our Privacy Officer at 205-871-3361.
This notice of Privacy Practices describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information 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 protected health information. "Protected Heath Information" is information about you, including demographic information, that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services. For the remainder of this document, we will refer to Protected Health Information as simply "PHI."
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your PHI and to provide you with this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information. We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices. We may change the terms of our notice, at any time, and reserve the right to do so. The new notice will be effective for all PHI that we maintain at that time. Upon your written request, we will provide you with any revised Notice of Privacy Practices by accessing our website: www.PaulHowardMD.com, calling our office, requesting that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail, or asking for one at the time of your next appointment.
We will use your PHI as part of rendering patient care, including treatment, payment and health care operations. The following are some but not all, examples of the types of uses and disclosures that may be made by us.
Treatment: We will use and disclose your PHI to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and any related services. For example, we would disclose your PHI as necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you. Your PHI may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.
Payment: Your PHI will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services. For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.
We will use and disclose your PHI as pertinent information as part of the health-care expense to include medical insurance companies, banking, finance companies and credit card companies.
Healthcare Operations: We may use of disclose, as needed, your PHI in order to support the business activities of your physician’s practice. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of medical students, licensing, marketing and fundraising activities, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. For example, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name and indicate your physician. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you. We will share your PHI with "third party business associates" that perform various activities (e.g. billing, transcription services) for the practice. Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your PHI, we will have a written contract that contains terms that will protect the privacy of your PHI. In addition, we may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may use or disclose your demographic information and the dates that you received treatment from your physician, as necessary, in order to contact you for fund raising activities supported by our office. Other uses and disclosures of your PHI will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below. You may revoke an authorization, at any time, in writing except to the extent that your physician or the physician’s practice has taken as action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.
Permitted uses and disclosures of protected PHI that may require an objection: We may use or disclose your PHI in the following situations unless you object to the use and/or disclosure. These situations include: Limited use or disclosure when you are not present: If you are not present or able to agree or object to the use or disclosure of the PHI because of incapacity or emergency circumstances, then your physician may, using professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in your best interest. In this case, only the PHI that is relevant to your health care will be disclosed.
Family and friends/Notification - Unless you object, we may use or disclose your PHI to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person that is responsible for your care of your location, general condition or death.
Disaster relief: Emergencies: We may use or disclose your PHI in an emergency treatment situation if, in your physician’s professional judgment, the use or disclosure is in your best interest. If so, we will disclose only the PHI that is directly relevant to the person’s involvement with your health care.
Other permitted and required uses and disclosures that may be made without your authorization or opportunity to object: We may use or disclose your PHI in the following situations without your authorization or opportunity to agree or object.
These situations include: Required by law: We may use or disclose your protected health information to the extent that such use or disclosure us required by law. The use of disclosure will be made in compliance with the law and will be limited to the relevant requirements of the law. You will be notified, if required by law, of any such uses or disclosures.
Public Health: We may use or disclose your for public health activities and purposes to a public health authority that is permitted by law to collect or receive the information. The disclosure will be made in accordance with state law for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability. It may include, but is not limited to, the reporting of disease, injury, vital events such as birth or death, and the conduct of public health surveillance, public health investigations, and public health interventions. We may also disclose your PHI, if directed by the public health authority, to a foreign government agency that is collaborating with the public health authority.
Health Oversight: We may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies that oversee the health care system, government benefit programs, other government regulatory programs and civil rights laws.
Abuse or neglect: We may disclose your PHI to a public health authority that is authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. In addition, we may disclose your PHI if we believe that you have been a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence to the governmental entity or agency authorized to receive such information under law. In this case, the disclosure will be made consistent with the requirements of applicable federal and state laws.
Food and Drug Administration: We may disclose your PHI to comply with requirements or at the direction of the Food and Drug Administration to report adverse events, product defects or problems, biologic product deviations, track products; to enable product recalls; to make repairs or replacements; or to conduct post marketing surveillance, as required.
Legal Proceedings: We may disclose PHI in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal (to the extent such disclosure is expressly authorized) in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request of other lawful process.
Law Enforcement: We may also disclose PHI, so long as applicable legal requirements are met, for law enforcement purposes. These law enforcement purposes include: (1) legal processes and otherwise required by law; (2) limited information requests for identification and location purposes; (3) pertaining to victims of a crime; (4) suspicion that death has occurred as a result of criminal conduct; (5) in the event that a crime occurs on the premises of the practice; and (6) a medical emergency (not on the practice’s premises) and it is likely that a crime has occurred. Coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors: We may disclose PHI to a coroner or medical examiner for identification purposes, determining cause of death or for the coroner or medical examiner to perform other duties authorized by law. We may also disclose PHI to a funeral director, as authorized by law, in order to permit the funeral director to carry out his or her duties. We may disclose such information in reasonable anticipation of death.
Organ, eye or tissue donation: PHI may be used and disclosed to organ procurement organizations or other entities involved in the procurement, banking or transplantation for cadaveric organ, eye or tissue donation purposes.
Research: We may disclose your PHI to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board or privacy board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your PHI.
Serious threat to health or safety: Consistent with applicable laws and standards of ethical conduct, we may use or disclose your PHI if we believe that the 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 and is to a person (s) reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat. We may also disclose PHI if it is necessary for law enforcement authorities to identify or apprehend an individual.
Military activity: When the appropriate conditions apply, we may use or disclose PHI of individuals who are Armed Forces Personnel: (1)for activities deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities; (2) for separation or discharge from military service;(3) for the purpose of a determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs of your eligibility for benefits: or (4) to foreign military authority if you are a member of that foreign military services.
Workers Compensation: Your PHI may be disclosed by us as authorized to comply with workers compensation laws and other similar legally-established programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness without regard to fault.
Communicable diseases: We may disclose your PHI according to state law, to a person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or may otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading the disease or condition.
Your rights - The following is a statement of your rights with respect to your PHI. You have the right to request a restriction of your PHI. You may ask us not to use or disclose any part of your PHI for the purposes of treatment, payment, or heath care operations. You may also request that any part of your PHI not be disclosed to family members, friends, or any other person who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes. Your request must state the specific restriction requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply.
We are not required to agree to a restriction that you request. If we do agree to the requested restriction, we may not use or disclose your PHI in violation of that restriction unless it is needed to provide emergency treatment. With this in mind, please discuss any restriction you wish to request with your physician. You may request a restriction by contacting our office at (205) 879-6665. Or, you may submit a request to us in writing to our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org . You have the right to receive communications concerning your PHI in a confidential manner. We will accommodate reasonable requests by you to receive communications of PHI by a alternative means or at alternative locations. We may condition this accommodation by asking you for information as to how payment will be handled or specification of an alternative address or other method of contact. We will not request an explanation from you as to the basis for the request. You may contact us in a confidential matter through email, mail, or telephone. Our email address is email@example.com and our phone number is (205) 871-3361. You may submit communications by regular mail to the following address: Post Office Box 660180, Birmingham, AL 35216 .
You have the right to inspect and copy your PHI. You may inspect and obtain a copy of PHI about you that is contained in a "designated record set" for as long as we maintain the PHI. A "designated record set" contains medical and billing records and any other records about you that your physician and the practice uses for making decisions about you.
This right is subject to certain specific exceptions. For example, you may not inspect or copy the following records: psychotheraphy notes: information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding; and PHI that is subject to law that prohibits access to such PHI. If we deny your access to your PHI, we will provide you with a reason for the basis of the denial. In some instances, a right to have a decision to deny access can be reviewed. You may be charged a reasonable fee for any copies of your records as allowed under state law. Contact our privacy contact if you have any questions about inspecting and copying your PHI.
You have the right to amend PHI. You may request an amendment, in writing, of PHI about you in a designated record set for as long as we maintain this information. In certain cases, we may deny your request for an amendment. If we deny your request for amendment, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with us and we may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy of any such rebuttal. Please contact our privacy contact if you have questions about amending your PHI. You have the right to receive an accounting of certain disclosures we have made, if any, of your PHI. This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment or healthcare operations. It excludes disclosures we may have made to you, those that were authorized by you or your personal representative, for a =facility directory, to family members or friends involved in your care, or for notification purposes. You have the right to receive specific information regarding these disclosures during the last six years prior to the date of your request. You may request a shorter time frame. The right to receive this = information is subject to certain exceptions, restrictions and limitations. You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from us, upon request, even if you have agreed to accept this notice electronically.
Complaints: You may complain to us or to the Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated by us. You may file a complaint with us by notifying our privacy contact of your complaint. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint. You may file a complaint via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include HIPAA on the subject line of your email.
You may also contact our office for further information about the complaint process. This notice was published and becomes effective on April 13, 2003.