Notice of Privacy Practices
This notice, required by the Privacy Regulations, was created as a Result of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
In this Notice, we describe the ways that we may use and disclose health information about our patients. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires that we protect the privacy of health information that identifies a patient, or where there is a reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify a patient. This information is called “protected health information” or “PHI”. This Notice describes your rights as our patient and our obligations regarding the use and disclosure of PHI. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI about you, give you this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI; and comply with the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices that is currently in effect.
We reserve the right to make changes to this Notice and to make such changes effective for all PHI we may already have about you. If and when this Notice is changed, we will post a copy in our office in a prominent location. We will also provide you with a copy of the revised Notice upon your request made to our Privacy Official.
WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI) IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS
The following categories describe the different ways in which we may use and disclose your PHI.
1. Treatment: Our practice may use your PHI to treat you. For example, we may ask you to have laboratory tests (such as blood or urine tests), and we may use the results to help us reach a diagnosis. We might use your PHI in order to write a prescription for you, or we might disclose your PHI to a pharmacy when we order a prescription for you. Many of the people who work for our practice – including, but not limited to, our doctors and nurses – may use or disclose your PHI in order to treat you or to assist others in your treatment. Additionally, we may disclose your PHI to others who may assist in your care, such as your spouse, children or parents. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to inform you of potential treatment options or alternatives. Finally, we may also disclose your PHI to other health care providers for purposes related to your treatment.
2. Payment: Our practice may use and disclose your PHI in order to bill and collect payment for the services and items you may receive from us. For example, we may contact your health insurer to certify that you are eligible for benefits (and for what range of benefits), and we may provide your insurer with details regarding your treatment to determine if your insurer will cover, or pay for, your treatment. We also may use and disclose your PHI to obtain payment from third parties that may be responsible for such costs, such as family members. Also, we may use your PHI to bill you directly for services and items. We may disclose your PHI to other health care providers and entities to assist in their billing and collection efforts.
3. Health Care Operations: Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to operate our business. As examples of the ways in which we may use and disclose your information for our operations, our practice may use your PHI to evaluate the quality of care you received from us, or to conduct cost-management and business planning activities for our practice. We may disclose your PHI to other health care providers and entities to assist in their health care operations.
4. Appointment Reminders: Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to contact you and remind you of an appointment.
5. Health-Related Benefits and Services: Our practice may use and disclose your PHI to inform you of health-related benefits or services that may be of interest.
6. Disclosures Required By Law. Our practice will use and disclose your PHI when we are required to do so by federal, state or local law.
USE AND DISCLOSURE OF YOUR PHI IN CERTAIN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
The following categories describe unique scenarios in which we may use or disclose your identifiable health information.
1. Public Health Risks. Our practice may disclose your PHI to public health authorities that are authorized by law to collect information for the following:
Maintaining vital records, such as births and deaths
Reporting child abuse or neglect
Preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability
Notifying a person regarding potential exposure to a communicable disease
Notifying a person regarding a potential risk for spreading or contracting a disease or condition
Reporting reactions to drugs or problems with products or devices
Notifying appropriate government agency(ies) and authority(ies) regarding the potential abuse or neglect or an adult patient (including domestic violence); however, we will only disclosed this information if the patient agrees or we are required or authorized by law to disclose this information
Notifying your employer under limited circumstances related primarily to workplace injury or illness or medical surveillance.
2. Health Oversight Activities. Our practice may disclose your PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Oversight activities can include, for example, investigations, inspections, audits, surveys, licensure and disciplinary actions; civil, administrative, and criminal procedures or actions; or other activities necessary for the government to monitor government programs, compliance with civil rights laws and the health care system in general.
3. Lawsuits and Similar Proceedings. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI in response to a court or administrative order, if you are involved in a lawsuit or similar proceeding. We also may disclose your PHI in response to discovery request, subpoena, or other lawful process by another part involved in the dispute, but only if we have made an effort to inform you of the request or to obtain an order protecting the information the part has requested.
4. Law Enforcement. We may release PHI if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
Regarding a crime victim in certain situations, if we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement
Concerning a death we believe has resulted from criminal conduct
Regarding criminal conduct at our offices
In response to a warrant, summons, court order, subpoena or similar legal process
To identify/locate a suspect, material witness, fugitive or mission person
In an emergency, to report a crime (including the location or victim(s) of the crime, or the description, identity or location of the perpetrator)
5. Deceased Patients. Our practice may release PHI to a medical examiner or coroner to identify a deceased individual or to identify the cause of death. If necessary, we also may release information in order for funeral directors to perform their jobs.
6. Organ and Tissue Donation. Our practice may release your PHI to organizations that handle organ, eye or tissue procurement or transplantation, including organ donation banks, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation if you are an organ donor.
7. Research. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI for research purposes in certain limited circumstances. We will obtain your written authorization to use your PHI for research purposes except when an Institutional Review Board or Privacy Board has determined that the waiver of your authorization satisfies the following: (i) the use or disclosure involves no more than minimal risk to your privacy based on the following: (A) an adequate plan to protect the identifiers from improper use and disclosure; (B) an adequate plan to destroy the identifiers at the earliest opportunity consistent with the research (unless there is a health or research justification for retaining the identifiers or such retention is otherwise required by law); and (C) adequate written assurances that the PHI will not be re-used or disclosed to any other person or entity (except as required by law) for authorized oversight of the research study, or for other research for which the use or disclosure would otherwise be permitted; (ii) the research could not practicably be conducted without the waiver, and (iii) the research could not practicably be conducted without access to and use of the PHI.
8. Serious Threats to Health or Safety. Our practice may use and disclose your PHI when necessary to reduce or prevent a serious threat to your health and safety of another individual or the public. Under these circumstances, we will only make disclosures to a person or organization able to help prevent the threat.
9. Specialized Government Functions. Under certain circumstances we may disclose PHI:
For certain military and veteran activities, including determination of eligibility for veterans for veterans benefits and where deemed necessary by military command authorities;
For national security and intelligence activities;
To help provide protective services for the president and others;
For the health and safety of inmates and others at correctional institutions or other law enforcement custodial situations for the general safety and health related to corrections facilities.
10. Worker’s Compensation. Our practice may release your PHI for workers’ compensation and similar programs.
E. YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR PHI
You have the following rights regarding the PHI that we maintain about you:
1. Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that our practice communicate with you about your health and related issues in a particular manner or at a certain location. For instance, you may ask that we contact you at home, rather than work. In order to request a type of confidential communication, you must make a written request to Cynthia Cleveland @ (505) 247-4849 specifying the requested method of contact, or the location where you wish to be contacted. Our practice will accommodate reasonable requests. You do not need to give a reason for your request.
2. Requesting Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your PHI for treatment, payment or health care operations. Additionally, you have the right to request that we restrict our disclosure of your PHI to only certain individuals involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as family members and friends. We are not required to agree THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED, AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY to your request; however, if we do agree, we are bound by our agreement except when otherwise required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is necessary to treat you. In order to request in writing to Cynthia Cleveland (505) 247-4849. Your request must describe in a clear and concise fashion:
(a) The information you wish restricted;
(b) Whether you are requesting to limit our practice’s use, disclosure or both; and
(c) To whom you want the limits to apply.
3. Inspection and Copies. You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the PHI that may be used to make decisions about you, including patient medical records and billing records, but not including psychotherapy notes. You must submit your request in writing to Cynthia Cleveland in order to inspect and/or obtain a copy of your PHI. Our practice may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, labor and supplies associated with your request. Our practice may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances; however, you may request a review of our denial. Another licensed health care professional chosen by us will conduct reviews.
4. Amendment. You may ask us to amend your health information if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete, and you may request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our practice. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to Cynthia Cleveland. You must provide us with a reason that supports your request for amendment. Our practice will deny your request if you fail to submit your request (and the reason supporting your request) in writing. Also, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that is in our opinion: (a) accurate and complete; (b) not part of the PHI kept by or for the practice; (c) not part of the PHI which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or (d) not created by our practice, unless the individual or entity that created the information is not available to amend the information.
5. Accounting of Disclosures. All of our patients have the right to request on “accounting of disclosures.” An “accounting of disclosures” is a list of certain non-routine disclosures our practice had made of your PHI for non-treatment, non-payment or non-operations purposes. Uses of your PHI, as part of the routine patient care in our practice, is not required to be documented, for example, the doctor sharing information with the nurse; or the billing department using your information to file your insurance claim. In order to obtain an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to Cynthia Cleveland. All request for an “accounting of disclosures” must state a time period, which may not be longer than six (6) years from the date of disclosure and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. The first list you request within a 12-month period is free of charge, but our practice may charge your for additional lists within the same 12-month period. Our practice will notify you of the costs involved with additional requests, and you may withdraw your request before you incur any costs.
6. Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You are entitled to receive a paper copy of our notice of privacy practices. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact Cynthia Cleveland.
7. Right to File a Complaint. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our practice or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our practice, contact Cynthia Cleveland @ (505) 247-4849. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
8. Right to Provide an Authorization for Other Uses and Disclosures. Our practice will obtain your written authorization for uses and disclosures that are not identified by this notice or permitted by applicable law. Any authorization you provide to us regarding the use and disclosure of your PHI may be revoked at any time in writing. After you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your PHI for the reasons described in the authorization. Please note, we are required to retain records of your care.
If you have any questions regarding this notice or our health information privacy policies, please contact the Vein Center of New Mexico at (505) 247-4849.
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OFFICE: (505) 247-4849
M-F 7:30 am to 5:00 pm