The categories that are listed below describe the different ways we use to disclose protected health information that we have and share with others. Each category of uses or disclosures provides a general explanation and provides some examples of uses.
Kindly note that, not every use or disclosure in a category is either listed or actually in place. The explanation is provided for your general information only.
We use previously given medical information about you to provide you with current or prospective medical treatment or services. Therefore, we may, and most likely will, disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students or hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you.
For example, a doctor to whom we refer you for ongoing or further care may need your medical record. Different areas of The Practice also may share medical information about you including your record(s), prescriptions, requests of lab work and x-rays.
We may also discuss your medical information with you to recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside The Practice who may be involved in your medical care after you leave The Practice; this may include your family members or other personal representatives authorized by you or by a legal mandate (a guardian or other person who has been named to handle your medical decisions, should you become incompetent).
We may use and disclose medical information about you for services and procedures so they may be billed and collected from you - an insurance company or any other third party. For example, we may need to give your health care information, the treatment you received at The Practice to obtain the payment or reimbursement for the care.
We may also tell your health plan and / or referring physician about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment, to facilitate payment of a referring physician or the like.
Health care operations:
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that we can run our Practice more efficiently and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. These uses may include reviewing our treatment and services to evaluate the performance of our staff, deciding what additional services to offer and where, deciding 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 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 the information that identifies you from this set of medical information so that others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patient is. We may also use or disclose information about you for internal or external utilization review and / or quality assurance, to business associates for purposes of helping us to comply with our legal requirements, to auditors to verify our records, to billing companies to aid in this process and the like.
We shall endeavor, at all times when business associates are used, to advise them of their continued obligation to maintain the privacy of your medical records.
Appointment and patient follow up:
We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for medical care with The Practice or that you are due to receive periodic care from The Practice.
All surgery patients normally receive a postsurgical
follow up call. This contact may be by phone, in writing, e-mail or otherwise and may involve the leaving of an e-mail, a message on an answering machine or otherwise which could (potentially) be received or intercepted by others.
In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an organization assisting in a disaster relief effort or in an emergency situation so that your family can be notified about your condition, status, location.
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 either to your specific 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.
We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.
Public health risks:
Law or public policy may require us to 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
- 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
Investigation and government activities:
We may disclose medical information to a local, state or federal agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections and licensure.
These activities are necessary for the payer, the government and other regulatory agencies 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. This is particularly true if you make your health an issue.
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.
We shall attempt in these cases to tell you about the request so that you may obtain an order protecting the information requested if you so desire. We may also use such information to defend ourselves or any member of our Practice in any actual or threatened action.
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
- 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.
If you are an inmate of a correctional institute 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:
- 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