Spine Surgery of Idaho’s Privacy Policy

NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

Effective Date: 7/30/2008

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.

OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:

We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting your medical and financial information (Protected Health Information or PHI). We create a record of the care and services you receive at the Practice. 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 Practice.

This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose Protected Health Information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information. We are required by law to:

  • Make sure that medical and financial information that identifies you is kept private;
  • Give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical and financial information about you; and
  • Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.

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 the categories.

For 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, allied health professionals, technicians, medical students, or other Practice personnel who are involved in your care. 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. The Practice may also share medical information about you with other health care providers in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays.

For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the Practice may be billed to 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 to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.

For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for Practice operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the Practice 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 disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other Practice personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other practices 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 the identity of the specific patient.

Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you. We may also contact you to provide appointment reminders.

Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.

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. If you do not want us to release medical information to a friend or family member, please notify us of your wishes with respect to this matter.

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.

SPECIAL SITUATIONS

Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ donor, we may release 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 for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

Public Health Risks. 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; and
  • 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 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.

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 Practice; 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.

Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information 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 Practice 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. This release would be 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.

Research. We may under limited circumstances disclose medical information to a clinical researcher for research purposes only.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and copy 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.

To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. 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. The Practice must act on your request within 30 to 60 days.

We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another physician chosen by the Practice who was not involved in the original denial will review your request and the denial. We will communicate the outcome of the review to you as well as comply with the decision of the reviewing physician.

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 Practice.

To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Privacy Officer. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. The Practice must act on your request within 60 to 90 days.

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:

  • Was not created by us;
  • Is not part of the medical information kept by or for the Practice;
  • Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
  • 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 the non-routine disclosures we made of medical information about you. We will respond to your request within 60 to 90 days.

To request this list or accounting of non-routine disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. Your request must state a time period which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. 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. For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing 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 or to your friends and family. We are not required to agree to your request. 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 Privacy Officer. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) 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 Privacy Officer. 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 and information as to how payment will be made, if applicable.

Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. You may obtain a paper copy of this notice from a Practice employee.

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 waiting area. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date. In addition, each time we revise the notice, you will be provided with a copy of the revised document.

COMPLAINTS

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Practice or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the Practice, contact the Privacy Officer at 181 E 56TH Ave., Denver, CO 80216. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You may file a complaint with the Secretary at The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington , D.C. 20201 or 1-877-696-6775. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

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. 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.

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