NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES FOR VISITING NURSE ASSOCIATION OF INDIANA COUNTY, WHICH INCLUDES VNA EXTENDED HOME CARE
(AN AFFILIATED COVERED ENTITY REFERRED TO AS THE VNA OF INDIANA COUNTY GROUP)
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.
USE AND DISCLOSURE OF HEALTH INFORMATION
We may use your health information, information that constitutes protected health information as defined in the Privacy Rule of the Administrative Simplification provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, for purposes of providing you treatment, obtaining payment for your care and conducting health care operations. We have established policies to guard against unnecessary disclosure of your health information.
THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED:
To Provide Treatment. We may use your health information to coordinate care within the VNA of Indiana County Group and with others involved in your care, such as your attending physician, members of the interdisciplinary team and other health care professionals who have agreed to assist us in coordinating care. For example, physicians involved in your care will need information about your symptoms in order to prescribe appropriate medications. We also may disclose your health care information to individuals outside of the VNA of Indiana County Group involved in your care including family members, clergy who you have designated, pharmacists, suppliers of medical equipment or other health care professionals.
To Obtain Payment. We may include your health information in invoices to collect payment from third parties for the care you receive from us. For example, we may be required by your health insurer to provide information regarding your health care status so that the insurer will reimburse you or us. We also may need to obtain prior approval from your insurer and may need to explain to the insurer your need for care and the services that will be provided to you.
To Conduct Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose health information for our own operations in order to facilitate the function of the VNA of Indiana County Group and as necessary to provide quality care to all of our patients. Health care operations include such activities as:
- Quality assessment and improvement activities.
- Activities designed to improve health or reduce health care costs.
- Protocol development, case management and care coordination.
- Contacting health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives and other related functions that do not include treatment.
- Professional review and performance evaluation.
- Training programs including those in which students, trainees or practitioners in health care learn under supervision.
- Training of non-health care professionals.
- Accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities.
- Review and auditing, including compliance reviews, medical reviews, legal services and compliance programs.
- Business planning and development including cost management and planning related analyses and formulary development.
- Business management and general administrative activities of the VNA of Indiana County Group.
- Fundraising for the benefit of the VNA of Indiana County Group.
For example we may use your health information to evaluate our staff performance, combine your health information with other VNA of Indiana County Group patients in evaluating how to more effectively serve all our patients, disclose your health information to our staff and contracted personnel for training purposes, use your health information to contact you as a reminder regarding a visit to you, or contact you as part of general fundraising and community information mailings (unless you tell us you do not want to be contacted). Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your protected health information, we will have a written contract that contains terms that will protect the privacy of your protected health information.
For Fundraising Activities. You have the right to opt out of receipt of fund raising activities. We may use information about you including your name, address, phone number and the dates you received care in order to contact you or your family to raise money for the VNA of Indiana County Group. We may also release this information to a related foundation. If you do not want us to contact you or your family, notify the Privacy Officer at 724-463-6340 and indicate that you do not wish to be contacted.
For Appointment Reminders. We may use and disclose your health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for a home visit.
For Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose your health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION MAY ALSO BE USED AND DISCLOSED [check your State laws to ensure consistency with State law requirements].
When Legally Required. We will disclose your health information when it is required to do so by any Federal, State or local law.
When There Are Risks to Public Health. We may disclose your health information for public activities and purposes in order to:
- Prevent or control disease, injury or disability, report disease, injury, vital events such as birth or death and the conduct of public health surveillance, investigations and interventions.
- Report adverse events, product defects, to track products or enable product recalls, repairs and replacements and to conduct post-marketing surveillance and compliance with requirements of the Food and Drug Administration.
- Notify a person who has been exposed to a communicable disease or who may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease.
- Notify an employer about an individual who is a member of the workforce as legally required.
To Report Abuse, Neglect Or Domestic Violence. We are allowed to notify government authorities if we believe you are the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will make this disclosure only when specifically required or authorized by law or when you agree to the disclosure.
To Conduct Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose your health information to a health oversight agency for activities including audits, civil administrative or criminal investigations, inspections, licensure or disciplinary action. We, however, may not disclose your health information if you are the subject of an investigation and your health information is not directly related to your receipt of health care or public benefits.
In Connection With Judicial And Administrative Proceedings. We may disclose your health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal as expressly authorized by such order or in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process, but only when we make reasonable efforts to either notify you about the request or to obtain an order protecting your health information.
For Law Enforcement Purposes. As permitted or required by State law, we may disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for certain law enforcement purposes as follows:
- As required by law for reporting of certain types of wounds or other physical injuries pursuant to the court order, warrant, subpoena or summons or similar process.
- For the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person.
- Under certain limited circumstances, when you are the victim of a crime.
- To a law enforcement official if we have a suspicion that your death was the result of criminal conduct including criminal conduct at our facility.
- In an emergency in order to report a crime.
To Coroners And Medical Examiners. We may disclose your health information to coroners and medical examiners for purposes of determining your cause of death or for other duties, as authorized by law.
To Funeral Directors. We may disclose your health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law and if necessary, to carry out their duties with respect to your funeral arrangements. If necessary to carry out their duties, we may disclose your health information prior to and in reasonable anticipation of your death.
For Organ, Eye Or Tissue Donation. We may use or disclose your health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs, eyes or tissue for the purpose of facilitating the donation and transplantation.
For Research Purposes. We may, under very select circumstances, use your health information for research. Before we disclose any of your health information for such research purposes, the project will be subject to an extensive approval process.
In the Event of A Serious Threat To Health Or Safety. We may, consistent with applicable law and ethical standards of conduct, disclose your health information if we, in good faith, believes that such disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your health or safety or to the health and safety of the public.
For Specified Government Functions. In certain circumstances, the Federal regulations authorize us to use or disclose your health information to facilitate specified government functions relating to military and veterans, national security and intelligence activities, protective services for the President and others, medical suitability determinations and inmates and law enforcement custody.
For Worker's Compensation. We may release your health information for worker's compensation or similar programs.
AUTHORIZATION TO USE OR DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION
Other than as stated above, we will not disclose your health information other than with your written authorization. If you or your representative authorizes us to use or disclose your health information, you may revoke that authorization in writing at any time.
YOUR RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION
You have the following rights regarding your health information that we maintain:
- Right to request restrictions. You may request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information. You have the right to request a limit on our disclosure of your health information to someone who is involved in your care or the payment of your care. However, we are not required to agree to your request. We will honor your request for restrictions and disclosure when you are paying out of pocket (self pay) for services. If you wish to make a request for restrictions, please contact The VNA of Indiana County Group Privacy Officer at 724-463-6340.
- Right to receive confidential communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you in a certain way. For example, you may ask that we only conduct communications pertaining to your health information with you privately with no other family members present. If you wish to receive confidential communications, please contact the VNA of Indiana County Group Privacy Officer at 724-463-6340. We will not request that you provide any reasons for your request and will attempt to honor your reasonable requests for confidential communications.
- Right to inspect and copy your health information. You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, including billing records and electronic health records. A request to inspect and copy records containing your health information may be made to the VNA of Indiana County Group Privacy Officer at 724-463-6340. If you request a copy of your health information, we may charge a reasonable fee for copying and assembling costs associated with your request. You have the right to access this information within 30 days of your request, with the option of a onetime 30 day extension. You can also request that these records be sent to a third party.
- Right to amend health care information. You or your representative has the right to request that we amend your records, if you believe that your health information is incorrect or incomplete. That request may be made as long as the information is maintained by us. A request for an amendment of records must be made in writing to Privacy Officer, Visiting Nurse Association of Indiana County, 850 Hospital RD., Suite 3000, Indiana, PA 15701. We may deny the request if it is not in writing or does not include a reason for the amendment. The request also may be denied if your health information records were not created us, if the records you are requesting are not part of our records, if the health information you wish to amend is not part of the health information you or your representative are permitted to inspect and copy, or if, in our opinion, the records containing your health information are accurate and complete.
- Right to an accounting. You or your representative has the right to receive an accounting of disclosures, if any, of your health information made by us. This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment or healthcare operations as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices. It excludes disclosures we may have made to you, to family members or friends involved in your care, or for notification purposes. The request for an accounting must be made in writing to the VNA of Indiana County Group Privacy Officer, Visiting Nurse Association of Indiana County, 850 Hospital RD., Suite 3000, Indiana, PA 15701. The request should specify the time period for the accounting starting on or after April 14, 2003. Accounting requests may not be made for periods of time in excess of three (3) years. We would provide the first accounting you request during any 12-month period without charge. Subsequent accounting requests may be subject to a reasonable cost-based fee.
- Right to receive notice of breach. Affected individuals have the right to be notified following any breach of unsecured protected health information.
- Right to a paper copy of this notice. You or your representative has a right to a separate paper copy of this Notice at any time even if you or your representative has received this Notice previously. To obtain a separate paper copy, please contact The VNA of Indiana County Group Privacy Officer at 724-463-6340. [In addition, you may obtain a copy of this Notice at our website, www.vnaindianacounty.com.]
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide to you and your representative this Notice of its duties and privacy practices. We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice as may be amended from time to time. We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice and to make the new Notice provisions effective for all health information that it maintains. If we change our Notice, we will provide a copy of the revised Notice to you or your appointed representative. You or your personal representative have the right to express complaints to us and to the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services if you or your representative believe that your privacy rights have been violated. Any complaints to us should be made in writing to Privacy Officer, Visiting Nurse Association of Indiana County, 850 Hospital RD., Suite 3000, Indiana, PA 15701. We encourage you to express any concerns you may have regarding the privacy of your information. You will not be retaliated against in any way for filing a complaint.
We have designated the VNA of Indiana County Group Privacy Officer as our contact person for all issues regarding patient privacy and your rights under the Federal privacy standards. You may contact this person at the Visiting Nurse Association of Indiana County, 850 Hospital RD., Suite 3000, Indiana, PA 15701, and (724)463-6340
This Notice is effective September 04, 2013.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS NOTICE, PLEASE CONTACT
the VNA of Indiana County Group Privacy Officer at 724-463-6340