WASHINGTON COUNTY HOSPITAL
705 South Grand Avenue Nashville, IL 62263
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Effective Date: September 23, 2013
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, or for additional information, please contact our Privacy Officer at (618) 327-2222
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE:
This notice describes our hospital’s practices and that of:
- Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your hospital chart.
- All departments and units of the hospital.
- Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while you are in the hospital.
- All employees, staff and other hospital personnel
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive at the hospital. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by the hospital, whether made by hospital personnel or your personal doctor. Your personal doctor may have different policies or notices regarding the doctor’s use and disclosure of your medical information created in the doctor’s office or clinic, outside of the hospital.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to:
- Make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private
- Give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you;
- Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect; and
- Notify you following a breach of your medical information which has not been secured in a certain manner.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU:
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of these categories.
- Treatment. We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital.
For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different departments of the hospital also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays.
- Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the hospital may be billed and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party.
For example, we may need to give your health plan information about surgery you received at the hospital so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive in order to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.
- Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for the hospital operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the hospital and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care.
For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine medical information about many hospital patients to decide what additional services the hospital should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other hospital personnel for review and learning purposes. We may combine the medical information we have with medical information from other hospitals to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.
- Appointment Reminders. We may use and disclose your medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the hospital.
- Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose your medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
- Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose your medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
- Facility Directory. We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory if you are an inpatient. The directory includes your name, location in the hospital, general condition (e.g., fair, stable, etc.), and your religious affiliation. The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may be disclosed to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or minister, even if they do not ask for you by name. If you do not wish to be included in the facility directory, please notify us at the time of your admission.
- Fundraising Activities. We, and any of our related foundations, may use your medical information to contact you in an effort to raise money for the hospital and its operations. In these cases, we would disclose only limited information about you, including: your demographic information (name, address, other contact information, age, gender, and date of birth); dates of health care provided to you; department of service; your treating physician; whether you had a positive or negative outcome; and your health insurance status. If you do not want us to contact you for fundraising efforts, you have the right to opt-out of receiving such communications.
- Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care. We may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
- Research. Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients’ need for privacy of their medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process, but we may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs, so long as the medical information they review does not leave the hospital. We will almost always ask for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care at the hospital.
- As Required By Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
- To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.
- Organ and Tissue Donation. We may release your medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to 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 medical information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
- Workers’ Compensation. We may release medical information about you as authorized by applicable law to the extent necessary to comply with workers’ compensation laws or laws related to similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
- Public Health Activities. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:
- to prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
- to report births and deaths;
- to report child abuse or neglect;
- to report reactions to medications or problems with products;
- to notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
- to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
- to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.
- Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose medical information about you to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities 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 medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
- Law Enforcement. We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official
- 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, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement;
- About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
- About criminal conduct at the hospital; and
- In emergency circumstances, not occurring at the hospital, to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.
- Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information about you to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
- National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
- Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations.
- Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official, if 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) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
- Third Parties. We may disclose your medical information to third parties with whom we contract to perform services on our behalf. If we disclose your information to these entities, we will have an agreement with them to safeguard the privacy and security of the information and to not further use or disclose the information. For instance, we may contract with a company that provides billing or health care management services.
OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION:
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission, including (i) most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes; (ii) most uses and disclosures of your medical information for marketing purposes; and (iii) disclosures that constitute the sale of your medical information. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE:
We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in the hospital. The notice will contain the effective date on the first page. In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to the hospital for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a written complaint with the hospital or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Complaints to the hospital must be submitted in writing to: HIPAA Privacy Officer
Washington County Hospital
705 South Grand Avenue
Nashville, IL 62263
You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.
You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you.
- Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and receive a copy of medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes. If we maintain this information electronically, you have the right to receive a copy of such information in an electronic format.
To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Medical Records department. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.
We may deny your request to inspect and copy your medical information in certain very limited circumstances. In some cases, if you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by the hospital will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
- Right to Amend. If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for the hospital.
To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Medical Records department. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request.
We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that: (i) was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment; (ii) is not part of the medical information kept by or for the hospital; (iii) is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or (iv) is accurate and complete.
- Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures.” This is a list of when, what, to whom, and why we disclosed medical information about you.
To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Medical Records department. Your request must state a time period, within the six (6) years immediately preceding the request. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically). The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free of charge. For additional requests in the same 12-month period, we may charge you a reasonable cost-based fee for providing you with the list. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
- Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we do not use or disclose information about a surgery you had.
We are not required to agree to your request, unless your request is that we not disclose information to a health plan for payment or health care operations activities when you have paid for the services that are the subject of the information out-of-pocket in full. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.
To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the Medical Records department. In your request you must tell us
- What information you want to limit;
- Whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and
- To whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.
- Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail.
To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to the Medical Records department. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.
- Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this notice, even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time.