HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices

Orthopaedic Associates of Reading, Ltd.

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.

 

Understanding Your Health Record/Information

Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made.  Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment.  This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a:

  •  basis for planning your care and treatment
  • means of  communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care
  • legal document describing the care you received
  • means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided
  • a tool in educating health professionals
  • a source of data for medical research
  • a source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of the nation
  • a source of data for facility planning and marketing
  • a tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve

Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to:

  • ensure its accuracy
  • better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information
  • make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others

Your Rights

Right to Inspect and Copy (fees may apply) – Pursuant to your written request, you have the right to inspect or copy your protected health information whether in paper or electronic format. Under federal law, however, you may not inspect or copy the following records:  Psychotherapy notes, information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or used in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding, protected health information restricted by law, information that is related to medical research in which you have agreed to participate, information whose disclosure may result in harm or injury to you or to another person, or information that was obtained under a promise of confidentiality.

Right to Request Restrictions – This means you may ask us not to use or disclose any part of your protected health information for the purposes of treatment, payment or healthcare operations.  You also have the right to request a limit on the protected health information we disclose to someone involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend.  Your request must state the specific restriction requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply.  Your physician is not required to agree to your requested restriction except if you request that the physician not disclose protected health information to your health plan with respect to healthcare for which you have paid in full out of pocket.

Right to Receive Notice of a Breach – We will notify you if your unsecured protected health information has been breached.

Right to Amend – If you feel that the protected health information we have is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information.  A request and the reason for the requested amendment must be made in writing.  In certain cases we may deny your request.  If we deny your request 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.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures – You have the right to request a list of certain disclosures we made of protected health information for purposes other than treatment, payment and health care operations or for which you provided written authorization.

Right to Receive 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.

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.  Even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice.

Our Responsibilities

This organization is required to:

  • maintain the privacy of your health information
  • provide you with a notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you
  • abide by the terms of this notice
  • notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction
  •  accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information

We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain.  Should our information practices change, we will mail a revised notice to the address you’ve supplied us.

We will not use or disclose health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice.

Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information

Your protected health information may be used and disclosed by your physicians, our office staff and others outside of our office that are involved in your care and treatment for the purpose of providing health care services to you, to pay your health care bills, to support the operation of the physician’s practice, and any other use required by law.

Treatment – We will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and any related services.  This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party.  For example,  your protected health information may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred, DME vendors, surgery centers/hospitals, referring physicians, family practitioner, physical therapists, home health providers, laboratories, worker compensation adjustors and nurse case managers, etc. to ensure that the healthcare provider has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.

Payment – Your protected health information will be used, as needed to obtain payment for your health care services.  For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay, surgery, MRI or other diagnostic test, injection procedures, physical therapy, etc., may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the procedure.

Healthcare Operations – we may use or disclose, as-needed, your protected health information in order to support the business activities of your physician’s practice.  These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment, employee review, training of medical students, licensing, fundraising, and conducting or arranging for other business activities.  For example, we may disclose your protected health information to medical school students that see patients at our office.  We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you.  We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to contact you to remind you of your appointment, and inform you about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.  If we use or disclose your protected health information for fundraising activities, we will provide you the choice to opt out of those activities.  You may also choose to opt back in.

We may use or disclose your protected health information in the following situations without your authorization.  These situations include:  as required by law, public health issues as required by law, communicable diseases, health oversight, abuse or neglect, food and drug administration requirements, legal proceedings, law enforcement, coroners, funeral directors, organ donation, research, criminal activity, military activity and national security, workers’ compensation, inmates, and other required uses and disclosures.  The law states, we must make disclosures to you upon your request.  The law states, we must also disclose your protected health information when required by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate or determine our compliance with the requirements of Section 164.500.

Uses and Disclosures that Require your Authorization

Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures will be made only with your consent, authorization or opportunity to object unless required by law.  Without your authorization, we are expressly prohibited to use and disclose your protected health information for marketing purposes.  We may not sell your protected health information without your authorization.  We may not use or disclose most psychotherapy notes contained in your protected health information.  We will not use or disclose any of your protected health information that contains genetic information that will be used for underwriting purposes.

You may revoke the authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician’s practice has taken an action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.

Complaints

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  To file a complaint with our office, contact our Compliance Officer at 610-376-8671.  We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint. 

Effective Date: July 1, 2002; Updated September 10, 2013

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