HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT (HIPAA)
POLICY: To provide compliance for Federal protection for the privacy of health information but not inhibit the resident's access to or the quality of health care delivery.
August 28, 2013
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
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.
Who will follow this notice? St. Therese provides health care to our clients in partnership with other professionals and health care organizations. The information privacy practices in this notice will be followed by: Any health care professional who provides care at any of our locations:
- St. Therese campus of New Hope
- St. Therese campus at Oxbow Lake
- St. Therese campus at St. Odilia
- St. Therese campus of Woodbury
- St. Therese Rehabilitation Division (Ascend Rehab, LLC)
Each of these facilities may share your health information for coordination of care, treatment, payment and health care operations purposes.
Our Pledge to You: We understand that medical information about you is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive to provide quality care and to comply with legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by any of the separate facilities providers described above. We are required by law to:
- Keep medical information about you private
- Give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you
- Follow the terms of this 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, technicians,medical students, or other facility personnel who are involved in taking care of you at Saint Therese. For example, if our nurses are caring for your broken leg, they 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 facility also may share medical information about clients in order to coordinate your different needs, such as physical and occupational therapy or social services. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the facility who may be involved in your medical care after you leave Saint Therese, such as family members, or others we use to provide services for your care.
For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the facility 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 care you have received at Saint Therese so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you. 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 facility operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the facility and make sure that all of our clients 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 facility clients to decide what additional services the facility 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 facility personnel for reviewing and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with information from other facilities 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 clients are.
Medical Emergency: We may use or disclose your health information to help you in a medical emergency.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at Saint Therese.
Treatment Alternatives: We may use and disclose medical information to educate you or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Facility Directory: Unless you object, we may include certain limited information about you in the facility directory while you are a client at Saint Therese. This information may include your name, location in the facility, and your religious affiliation. The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy even if they do not ask for you by name. This assists family, friends,and clergy in visiting you and knowing your general condition. (Appendix 1)
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 a client at Saint Therese. 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. If you do not want this information given out, it will not be shared.
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.
Fundraising Activities: We may use medical information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for the facility and its operations. We may disclose medical information to a foundation related to the facility so that they may contact you in raising money for their facility. We only would release contact information such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you have received treatment or services at Saint Therese. If you do not want Saint Therese to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify Fund Development, in writing.
Research: Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. Forexample, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all clients who received a certain medication to those that received another, for the same condition. All research projects are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed project and its use of medical information,trying to balance the research needs with the client’s needs 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. However, we may disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project. This may include assisting researchers to find clients with specific medical needs, so long as the medical information they review does not leave the facility.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 facility.
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 another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.
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 donations bank, as necessary to facilitate 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 deaths?To report vulnerable adult issues 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 at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition
- To notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a client 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: 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. This is put into effect 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 facility
- 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 that cause of death. We may also release medical information about clients of Saint Therese 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, counter intelligence, 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.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulation: We may disclose health information to entities regulated by the FDA to measure the quality, safety and effectiveness of their products.
Inmates: If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the institution or official. This release would be necessary for the institution to provide you with health care
- To protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others
- For the safety and security of the correctional institution
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to inspect and request a of copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. If the medical information is reviewed a staff member will be available upon appointment to review chart and answer questions. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes.
To copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to Health Information where a form is available. (See Appendix 2). If you request a copy of the information to review your current medical care, we will provide that without cost. For other requests, we will charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request based on Minnesota current allowed charges. We also recommend that a medical professional be available to answer any questions.
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 licensed health care professional chosen by the facility 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 Saint Therese.
To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to Quality Improvement where a form is available. (See Appendix 3). 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:
- Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment
- Is not part of the medical information kept by or for the facility
- Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy
- 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 disclosures we made of medical information about you. This list does note include:
- Disclosures made for treatment, payment, or health careoperations
- Disclosures made before April 14, 2003
- Other disclosures as allowed by law
To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the QI Manager where a form is available. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than seven years and may not include dates before admission. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (I.e., on paper or 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. (See Appendix 4,5,6).
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 a friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery you had.
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 QI Manager where a form is available. In your request you must tell us
- What information you want to limit
- Whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both
- To whom you want the limits to apply (I.e., your spouse)
(See Appendix 7,8)
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 Quality Improvement. 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. 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. To obtain a paper copy of this notice contact Social Services.
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 facility. The notice will contain the effective date in the top right-hand corner of the first page.
COMPLAINTS If you think your privacy rights have been violated, or if you disagree with a decision we made about access to your records, you may file a complaint with us by contacting the Corporate Compliance Officer at Saint Therese (go to the Saint Therese website for a list of phone numbers: www.sainttherese.org). All complaints must be submitted in writing. You may also send a written complaint to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Civil Rights (OCR). We will give you the address to file a complaint upon request. 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 of 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.