Notice of Privacy Practices

Effective Date of this Notice October 16, 2003 - Revision Dates Noted in Footer

 

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

 

We are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to protect the privacy of health information that may reveal your protected health information (PHI) and identity.  We are also required by law to provide you a copy of this privacy notice and to make you aware of our legal duties and privacy practices regarding PHI. You may ask for a copy of this policy at any time.  If you have any questions about this notice, please contact our Privacy Officer at P.O. Box 23578, Lexington, KY  40523.

*****PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING HIPAA EXCLUSIONS******

HIPAA does not apply to the following types of insurance coverage:  (a) Insurance coverage only for accident, or disability income insurance, or any combination thereof; (b) insurance coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance; (c) liability insurance, including general liability insurance and automobile liability insurance; (d) workers’ compensation or similar insurance and (e) automobile medical payment insurance.  Therefore, if your medical services are being paid for by one of the types of insurance listed above, then we may make additional disclosures of your health information as permitted by law, which are not described below, and we are not required to follow all of the privacy rights described below with respect to your health information.

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How We Use and Disclose Your Health Information

Eckman/Freeman & Associates collects PHI in the process of providing Case Management Care and Service Coordination, as well as Payment and Health Care Operations for you.  Under HIPAA, Eckman/Freeman & Associates is not required to obtain your consent or authorization prior to using or disclosing your PHI for Case Management Care, Service Coordination, Payment or Health Care Operations.  The following list gives examples of how Eckman/Freeman & Associates may use or disclose your PHI for Case Management Care, Service Coordination Payment and Health Care Operations.

·   For Case Management Care and Service Coordination

Eckman/Freeman & Associates discloses your PHI to health care providers involved in taking care of you, and they may in turn use that information to diagnose or treat you.

·   For Payments

We use your health information or share it with others so that your physicians can obtain payment for the treatment they provide.  For example, we may share information about you with your health insurance or worker’s compensation company in order to obtain reimbursement for the services provided.

·   To Business Associates

We also may provide your PHI to business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies, and others that process our claims.  Our business associates sign agreements that limit the use and disclosure of any PHI they receive from us or on our behalf.

·   For Health Care Operations

We may use your health information or share it with others in order to conduct our normal health care operations.  We may also provide PHI to our accountants, attorneys, consultants, or others to comply with laws affecting our business.  These business associates are required to sign agreements restricting their use and disclosure of any PHI received from or on behalf of Eckman/Freeman & Associates.

·   Case Management or Care Options

We may use and disclose your PHI to inform you of potential treatment options.

·   Health-Related Products and Services

We may use and disclose your PHI to inform you of health-related products or services that may be of interest to you.

 

Required Uses and Disclosures for Non-Eckman/Freeman & Associates Functions

We may also make the following disclosures without your consent or authorization:

·   As Required By Law

We may use or disclose your health information if we are required by law.  We may also disclose your health information to the Secretary of Health and Human Services or his designee to determine our compliance with federal privacy laws.

·   Lawsuits and Disputes

We may use and disclose your PHI in response to a court or administrative order, if you are involved in a lawsuit or similar proceeding.  We also may disclose your PHI in response to a discovery request, subpoena, or other lawful process by another party involved in the dispute, but only if an effort has been made to inform you of the request, or if an effort has been made to obtain an order protecting and limiting the use and disclosure of the information the party has requested.

·   Public Health Risks

Eckman/Freeman may disclose your PHI to public health authorities who are authorized by law to collection information.  For example, we may provide information to public health authorities that are authorized by law to collect medical information for public health investigations or to control the spread of various diseases, such as tuberculosis.  We may also provide information to agencies responsible for registering vital statistics, including births and deaths.  We may also provide your PHI to the proper state agencies authorized to investigate suspected victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.

·   Health Oversight Activities

We may disclose your PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law.  Oversight activities can include, for example, investigations, inspections, audits, surveys, licensure, and disciplinary actions; civil, administrative, and criminal procedures or actions; or other activities necessary for the government to monitor government programs, compliance with civil rights laws, and the health care system in general.  We may also disclose your PHI to a government benefit program so that it can determine your eligibility under that program.

·   Law Enforcement

Eckman/Freeman may release PHI if asked to do so by a law enforcement official.  For example, if you are the victim of a gunshot wound or other type of injury that must be reported to law enforcement, we may disclose your PHI as required by law.  We may also disclose your PHI to law enforcement officials if disclosure appears necessary to alert law enforcement to the commission or location of a crime, or the identity of the perpetrator.  Finally, if you are the suspected victim of a crime that does not have to be reported, we may disclose your PHI to a law enforcement official who requests the information, but (a) only if you agree, or (b) if you are unavailable or incapacitated at the time, only if the law enforcement official tells us that the information is needed quickly for law enforcement activity and is not intended to be used against you.  We will disclose your PHI under these circumstances only if we believe at the time that disclosure is in your best interests.

·   Deceased Patients

We may release PHI to a medical examiner to identify the deceased or to identify the cause of death.  We may also disclose PHI to the extent it is necessary for a funeral director to perform his or her duties with respect to a deceased person.

·   Military and National Security

We may disclose your PHI if you are member of the military (including veterans) and if required by the appropriate military authorities.  We may also disclose your PHI, when appropriate, for national security and intelligence purposes, and for the protection of the President of the United States or other top governmental officials.

·   Inmates

We may disclose your PHI to correctional or law enforcement officials if you are an inmate or under the custody of a law enforcement official.  Disclosure for these purposes would be necessary: (a) for the institution to provide health care services to you, (b) for the safety and security of the institution, and/or (c) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of other incarcerated individuals.

·   Workers’ Compensation

We may release your PHI for workers’ compensation and similar programs as authorized by such programs.

·   Research

We may use and disclose your PHI for research purposes in certain limited circumstances.  For example, we may disclose PHI to a researcher, whose project has met the safeguards and requirements of a research approval board after it has considered the need for patient privacy, as long as the information will be protected and not be used for any other purpose.

·   Serious and Imminent Threats of Harm

We may disclose your PHI if we believe, in good faith, that such disclosure will prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat of harm to the health and safety of a person or the general public.  For example, if you have a medical condition that poses a serious threat to your health or to the health of another, we may disclose relevant information to someone who can help prevent that threat.

·   Organ or Tissue Donations

If you are an organ or tissue donor, we may disclose your PHI to organ procurement agencies in order to help with the donation process.

Potential Impact of State Law

In some situations, the federal privacy laws do not preempt (or take precedence over) state privacy laws that give you greater privacy protections.  As a result, the privacy laws of a particular state might impose a privacy standard under which we will be required to operate.

 

Personal Representative or Authorization

If a personal representative has been appointed or authorized by you to act on your behalf, we may provide your PHI to that personal representative.  If you become incapacitated or incompetent, your PHI will be treated the same way it was treated when you were capable and competent.  For example, if an Authorization is required, your personal representative or surrogate health care decision-maker will be treated in the same manner as you would be treated.

 

Your health information will remain protected even after your death.  If an Authorization is required for the release of your PHI after your death, the executor or administrator of your estate must sign the Authorization.

 

Other Uses and Disclosures

In situations not described above or otherwise permitted or required by law, we will generally ask for written authorization before using or disclosing your PHI.  If you choose to sign an authorization form to disclose your PHI, you may later revoke that authorization in writing.

 

Uses and Disclosures of your PHI that Frequently Require Your Authorization

The law specially protects certain types of PHI.  Except when the law expressly provides otherwise, certain information cannot be used and/or disclosed without a valid written Authorization signed by you.  This information includes (a) psychotherapy notes, (b) records related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), (c) records relating to mental health treatment or treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, (d) sale of PHI and (e) marketing of PHI if Eckman/Freeman receives or has received direct or indirect payment from a third party in exchange for making such marketing communication.

 

Your Rights to Access and Control of your PHI

We want you to know that you have the following rights to access and control your health information.

·   Right to See and Receive Copies of your PHI

When allowed by applicable state and federal law, you have the right to receive a copy of the PHI Eckman/Freeman & Associates maintains for you after making a request in writing for this information.  We will review and respond to your request within 30 days. You have the right to request and receive a copy of your information in electronic format and to transmit such information directly to an entity or person designated by you as long as this option is clear and specific.

·   Right to Correct or Update your PHI

If you believe that the health information we have about you contains a mistake, you may request in writing, that we correct the information.  To request an amendment, please write to Eckman/Freeman & Associates, Attn:  Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 23578, Lexington, KY  40523.  Your request should include the reasons why you think we should make the changes.  We will respond to your request within 60 days.  If your request is denied, we will provide an explanation of the reasoning and give you an opportunity to appeal.

·   Right to an Accounting of Disclosures

You have a right to receive a list of certain instances in which we have disclosed your PHI.  This list will not include disclosures of PHI for treatment, payment, healthcare operations, or other disclosures that you previously authorized.  We will respond to your request within 60 days of receipt and may apply a reasonable charge.

·   Right To How We Communicate PHI

You have the right to request that Eckman/Freeman communicate with you about your health related issues in a particular manner or at a certain location.  For instance, you may ask that we contact you at home rather than work.  Eckman/Freeman will accommodate reasonable requests.  You do not need to give a reason for your request.

·   Right to Request Limits to Uses and Disclosures of your PHI

You have the right to request that we limit how we use and disclose your PHI to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations.  This right includes any request you make that we restrict disclosures of your PHI to family members, other relatives, close personal friends or other persons identified by you who are involved with your health care or payment related to such health care.  However, we have the right to refuse any of your requested restrictions except in the following limited case.  If you request that we not release PHI to your health plan for payment or healthcare operations (i.e. not for treatment) when the provider has been paid in full by the individual or person other than paid by the health plan.

·   Right to Obtain a Copy of this Notice

You have the right to request and receive a copy of this notice by email or by paper copy.

·   Right to Complain

If you think we may have violated your privacy rights, you may file a complaint with our Privacy Officer at Eckman/Freeman & Associates, Attn:  Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 23578, Lexington, KY  50523.  You also may send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  We will take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about our privacy practices.

· Breach Notification:  In general, you have a right to be notified when there has been a “breach” of your protected health information that we or one of our business associates store in an unencrypted format or encrypted format that does not comply with the standards set by the federal government. “Breach” means the acquisition, access, use or disclosure of PHI in a manner not permitted by the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  Such notice will be made in accordance with the requirements set forth under HIPAA and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and related regulations.

 

Changes to Eckman/Freeman & Associates Privacy Notice

We reserve the right to make changes to this notice and our privacy policies.  Changes adopted will apply to PHI we maintain relating to you.  When changes are made, we will promptly update this notice and post it on our website.  You may obtain a copy of this notice by contacting our Privacy Officer.

 

Other Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI

We have provided you with many examples of how your PHI may be used and disclosed by Eckman/Freeman, either with or without your Authorization.  It is not possible for us to list every possible use and disclosure of your PHI, however.  Therefore, if you have any questions about specific uses or disclosures, please contact our Privacy Officer at the address listed below. 

 

If you have any questions regarding our Notice of Privacy Practices, or need to exercise your rights as described above, please contact:

Eckman/Freeman & Associates

Privacy Officer

P.O. Box 23578

Lexington, KY 40523

800-447-4984