Privacy Practices

NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

Effective:  March 26, 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

This notice will tell you how we may use and disclose protected health information about you.  Protected health information means any health information about you that identifies you or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify you.  In this notice, we call all of that protected health information, “medical information.”

This notice also will tell you about your rights and our duties with respect to medical information about you.  In addition, it will tell you how to complain to us if you believe we have violated your privacy rights.

This Notice of Privacy Practices covers all of our programs, including
Hospice care and Home Health care

We use and disclose medical information about you for a number of different purposes.
Each of those purposes is described below.

I.      For Treatment

We may use medical information about you to provide, coordinate or manage your health care and related services by both us and other health care providers.  We may consult with other health care providers concerning you and share your medical information with them.  For example, we may conclude you need to receive services from a physician with a particular specialty.  When we refer you to that physician, we also will contact that physician’s office and provide medical information about you to them so they have information they need to provide services for you.

II.        For Payment

We may use and disclose medical information about you so we can be paid for the services we provide to you.  This can include billing you or your insurance company.  For example, we may need to give your insurance company information about the health care services we provide to you so your insurance company will pay us for those services.

III.      For Health Care Operations

We may use and disclose medical information about you for our own health care operations.  These are necessary for us to operate Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell and to maintain quality health care for our patients.  For example, we may use medical information about you to review the services we provide and the performance of our employees in caring for you.

IV.       How We Will Contact You

Unless you tell us otherwise in writing, we may contact you by either telephone or by mail at either your home or your workplace.  At either location, we may leave messages for you on the answering machine or voice mail.

V.         Hospice Home Directory

We will include only your name and room number in our Hospice Home directory.  A password will be given to you and your primary caregiver which you may give to other family members and friends.  The use of that password when they call the Hospice Home will permit us to provide additional information about your condition.

If you want to restrict the information we include in the directory, you must notify your nurse, social worker, our Clinical Coordinator or the facility Director of the Hospice Home of your requested restrictions.

VI.        Individuals Involved in Your Care

We may disclose to a family member, other relative, a close personal friend, or any other person identified by you, medical information about you that is directly relevant to that person’s involvement with your care or payment related to your care.  We also may use or disclose medical information about you to notify, or assist in notifying, those persons of your location, general condition, or death.

If there is a family member, other relative, or close personal friend that you do not want us to disclose medical information about you to, please notify the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215 or tell our staff member who is providing care to you.

VII.       Disclosures for Law Enforcement Purposes

We may disclose medical information about you to a law enforcement official for law enforcement purposes:

a.        As required by law.

b.        In response to a court, grand jury or administrative order, warrant or subpoena.

c.        To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person.

d.        About an actual or suspected victim of a crime and that person agrees to the disclosure.  If we are unable to obtain that person’s agreement, in limited circumstances, the information may still be disclosed.

e.        To alert law enforcement officials to a death if we suspect the death may have resulted from criminal conduct.

f.         About crimes that occur at our facility.

g.        To report a crime in emergency circumstances.

VIII.        Coroners and Medical Examiners

We may disclose medical information about you to a coroner or medical examiner for purposes such as identifying a deceased person and determining cause of death.

IX.        Funeral Directors

We may disclose medical information about you to funeral directors as necessary for them to carry out their duties.

X.        Organ, Eye or Tissue Donation

To facilitate organ, eye or tissue donation and transplantation, we may disclose medical information about you to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs, eyes or tissue.

XI.        To Avert Serious Threat to Health or Safety

We may use or disclose protected health information about you if we believe the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.  We also may release information about you if we believe the disclosure is necessary for law enforcement authorities to identify or apprehend an individual who admitted participation in a violent crime or who is an escapee from a correctional institution or from lawful custody.

XII.        Military

If you are a member of the Armed Forces, we may use and disclose medical information about you for activities deemed necessary by the appropriate military command authorities to assure the proper execution of the military mission.  We may also release information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority for the same purposes.

XIII.        Fundraising

We may use you or your caregiver’s name and address to mail our newsletter, which may include a fundraising request.

You have the right to opt out of receiving fundraising communications. If you do not want Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell to contact you for fundraising, you must notify the Privacy Officer at (336)532-0100 or simply tell our clinical staff.

Additional Reasons Your Medical Information May Be Disclosed

a)    Required by law

b)    Public health activities to prevent or control disease

c)    To an employer if they requested us to evaluate you and you agreed

d)    Proof of immunization to a school for admission

e)    To a governmental agency if we believe you may be a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence

f)     Health oversight agencies conducting required audits inspections and disciplinary actions

g)    Judicial and administrative hearings in response to a court order or subpoena

h)   Coroners and medical examiners to determine cause of death

i)     Funeral Directors

j)      If you choose to do so, organ, eye or tissue donation

k)    To avert serious threat to health or safety to prevent or lessen a serious threat to a person or public

l)     If you’re in the military, if deemed necessary by the military

m)  National security, intelligence, or protection of federal officials

n)   Worker’s compensation requests

Other Uses and Disclosures

Other uses and disclosures will be made only with your written authorization.  You may revoke such an authorization at any time by notifying the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215 in writing of your desire to revoke it.  However, if you revoke such an authorization, it will not have any affect on actions taken by us in reliance on it.

 

Your Rights With Respect to Medical Information About You

You have the following rights with respect to medical information that we maintain about you.

I.        Right to Request Restrictions.

You have the right to request that we restrict the uses or disclosures of medical information about you to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations.  You also have the right to request that we restrict the uses or disclosures we make to: (a) a family member, other relative, a close personal friend or any other person identified by you; or, (b) for to public or private entities for disaster relief efforts.  For example, you could ask that we not disclose medical information about you to your brother or sister.

To request a restriction, you may do so at any time. If you request a restriction, you should do so to the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215 or by phone (336) 532-0100 and tell us: (a) what information you want to limit; (b) whether you want to limit use or disclosure or both; and, (c) to whom you want the limits to apply (for example, disclosures to your spouse).

With one exception, we are not required to agree to any requested restriction.  The exception is that we will always agree to a request to restrict disclosures to a health plan if: (a) the disclosure is for the purpose of carrying out payment or health care operations and is not otherwise required by law; and, (b) the information relates solely to a health care item or service for which you, or someone on your behalf (other than the health plan), has paid us in full.

If we agree to a restriction, we will follow that restriction unless the information is needed to provide emergency treatment.  Even if we agree to a restriction, either you or we can later terminate the restriction.  However, we will not terminate a restriction that falls into the exception stated in the previous paragraph.

II.        Right to Receive Confidential Communications.

You have the right to request that we communicate medical information about you to you in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you by mail or at work.  We will not require you to tell us why you are asking for the confidential communication.

If you want to request confidential communication, you must do so in writing to the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215. Your request must state how or where you can be contacted.

We will accommodate your request.  However, we may, when appropriate, require information from you concerning how payment will be handled.  We also may require an alternate address or other method to contact you.

III.       Right to Inspect and Copy

With a few very limited exceptions, such as psychotherapy notes, you have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of medical information about you.

To inspect or copy medical information about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215. Your request should state specifically what medical information you want to inspect or copy. Your request should state the form of access and copy you desire, such as in paper or in electronic media. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying and, if you ask that it be mailed, the cost of mailing.

We usually will act on your request within thirty (30) calendar days after we receive your request.  If we grant your request, in whole or in part, we will inform you of our acceptance of your request and provide access and copies.

We may deny your request to inspect and copy medical information if the medical information involved is information compiled in anticipation of, or use in, a civil, criminal or administrative action or proceeding;

If we deny your request, we will inform you of the basis for the denial, how you may have our denial reviewed, and how you may complain.  If you request a review of our denial, it will be conducted by a licensed health care professional designated by us who was not directly involved in the denial.  We will comply with the outcome of that review.

IV.        Right to Amend

You have the right to ask us to amend medical information about you.  You have this right for so long as the medical information is maintained by us.

To request an amendment, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215. Your request must state the amendment desired and provide a reason in support of that amendment.

We will act on your request within sixty (60) calendar days after we receive your request.  If we grant your request, in whole or in part, we will inform you of our acceptance of your request and provide access and copying.

If we grant the request, in whole or in part, we will seek your identification of and agreement to share the amendment with relevant other persons.  We also will make the appropriate amendment to the medical information by appending or otherwise providing a link to the amendment.

We may deny your request to amend medical information about you.  We may deny your request if it is not in writing and does not provide a reason in support of the amendment.  In addition, we may deny your request to amend medical information if we determine that the information:

a.       Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to act on the requested amendment;

b.      Is not part of the medical information maintained by us;

c.       Would not be available for you to inspect or copy; or,

d.       Is accurate and complete.

 If we deny your request, we will inform you of the basis for the denial.  You will have the right to submit a statement of disagreeing with our denial.  We may prepare a rebuttal to that statement.  Your request for amendment, our denial of the request, your statement of disagreement, if any, and our rebuttal, if any, will then be appended to the medical information involved or otherwise linked to it.  All of that will then be included with any subsequent disclosure of the information, or, at our election, we may include a summary of any of that information.

If you do not submit a statement of disagreement, you may ask that we include your request for amendment and our denial with any future disclosures of the information. We will include your request for amendment and our denial (or a summary of that information) with any subsequent disclosure of the medical information involved.

You also will have the right to complain about our denial of your request.

V.        Right to an Accounting of Disclosures

You have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of medical information about you.  The accounting may be for up to six (6) years prior to the date on which you request the accounting but not before April 14, 2003.

Certain types of disclosures are not included in such an accounting:

a.     Disclosures to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations;

b.     Disclosures of your medical information made to you;

c.     Disclosures that are incident to another use or disclosure;

d.     Disclosures that you have authorized;

e.     Disclosures for our facility directory or to persons involved in your care;

f.      Disclosures for disaster relief purposes;

g.     Disclosures for national security or intelligence purposes;

h.     Disclosures to correctional institutions or law enforcement officials having custody of you;

i.      Disclosures that are part of a limited data set for purposes of research, public health, or health care operations (a limited data set is where things that would directly identify you have been removed).

j.      Disclosures made prior to April 14, 2003.

Under certain circumstances your right to an accounting of disclosures to a law enforcement official or a health oversight agency may be suspended.  Should you request an accounting during the period of time your right is suspended, the accounting would not include the disclosure or disclosures to a law enforcement official to a health oversight agency.

To request an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215. Your request must state a time period for the disclosures.  It may not be longer than six (6) years from the date we receive your request and my not include dates before April 14, 2003.

Usually, we will act on your request within sixty (60) calendar days after we receive your request.  Within that time, we will either provide the accounting of disclosures to you or give you a written statement of when we will provide the accounting and why the delay is necessary.

There is no charge for the first accounting we provide to you in any twelve (12) month period.  For additional accountings, we may charge you for the cost of providing the list.  If there will be a charge, we will notify you of the cost involved and give you an opportunity to withdraw or modify your request to avoid or reduce the fee.

VI.        Right to Copy of this Notice

You have the right to obtain a paper copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices.  You may obtain a paper copy even though you agreed to receive the notice electronically.  You may request a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices at any time.

You may obtain a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices over the Internet at our web site, www.hospiceac.org.

To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215.

Our Duties

I.        Generally

We are required by law to maintain the privacy of medical information about you, to provide individuals with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information, and to notify affected individuals following a breach of unsecured protected health information.

We are required to abide by the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices in effect at the time.

II.        Our Right to Change Notice of Privacy Practices

We reserve the right to change this Notice of Privacy Practices. We reserve the right to make the new notice’s provisions effective for all medical information that we maintain, including that created or received by us prior to the effective date of the new notice.

III.        Availability of Notice of Privacy Practices

A copy of our current Notice of Privacy Practices will be posted at the Hospice Home.   A copy of the current notice also will be posted on our web site, www.hospiceac.org.

At any time, you may obtain a copy of the current Notice of Privacy Practices by contacting the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215 or at (336) 532-0100.

IV.        Effective Date of Notice

The effective date of the notice is stated on the first page of this notice.

V.        Complaints

You may complain to us and to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated by us.

To file a complaint with us, contact the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215 or (336) 532-0100.  All complaints should be submitted in writing.

To file a complaint with the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, send your complaint to him or her in care of: Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20201.  Complaints also may be filed online. Go to: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr

You will not be retaliated against for filing a complaint.

VI.        Questions and Information

If you have any questions or want more information concerning this Notice of Privacy Practices, please contact the Privacy Officer, Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC  27215 or (336) 532-0100.