KOCH EYE ASSOCIATES
HIPAA NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Effective date: April 14, 2003
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.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact Peter A. Koch, CEO.
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE:
This notice describes Koch Eye Associates’ practices and that of:
- Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your medical chart.
- All departments and units of Koch Eye Associates.
- All employees, staff and other Koch Eye Associates personnel.
- Koch Eye Associates’ seven offices, its Surgicenter, and three laser vision centers: 566 Tollgate Road, Warwick, RI; 618 Tollgate Road, Warwick, RI; 7805 Post Road, N. Kingstown, RI; 1404 Atwood Avenue, Johnston, RI; 55 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI; 585 Main Street, Warren, RI; 255 Cass Avenue, Woonsocket, RI. Koch Eye Surgicenter, 566 Tollgate Road, Warwick, RI. Koch Eye Laser Vision Center, Providence Place Mall, Providence, RI. East Lyme Laser Vision Center, 132 Boston Post Road, East Lyme, CT and Sight-By-Light, 566 Tollgate Road, Warwick, RI. All of these entities, sites and locations follow the terms of this notice. In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or health operations purposes described in this notice.
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive in our offices. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care kept by our offices, whether made by our personnel, or your referring doctor or primary care physician (PCP). Your referring doctor or PCP may have different policies or notices regarding the doctor's use and disclosure of your medical information created in the doctor's office or clinic.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to:
- make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;
- give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and
- follow the terms of the 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.
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, or other Koch Eye Associates personnel who are involved in taking care of you in our offices. For example, a doctor treating you for a corneal abrasion may need to know if you have a history of eye infections because this may slow the healing process. Different departments of the office also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions or lab work. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside our office who may be involved in your medical care after you leave us, such as family members, organizations such as Insight, or others, who provide services that are part of your care.
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at Koch Eye Associates may be billed to 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 surgery you received in our surgery center or at the hospital so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. 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 office operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run our offices and make sure that all of our patients 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 of our patients to decide what additional services we should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, and other Koch Eye Associates personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other groups 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 patients are.
We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at one of our offices. Unless you tell us otherwise, we will mail you an appointment reminder on a postcard, and/or leave you a reminder message on your home answering machine, or leave a message with someone who answers your phone if you are not home.
We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
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.
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.
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients' need 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, but we may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs, so long as the medical information they review does not leave our offices. We will 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.
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 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 such as law enforcement or public safety personnel.
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 donation bank, if necessary to facilitate organ or tissue 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.
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 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.
Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, 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.
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 in any of our offices; and
- 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
We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner if requested.
National Security and Intelligence Activities
We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution 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 (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.
You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy
You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. This includes medical and billing records. To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to:
Peter A. Koch, CEO
Koch Eye Associates
566 Tollgate Road
Warwick, RI 02886
If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.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 Koch Eye Associates 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 Koch Eye Associates.To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to Peter A. Koch, CEO. 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 Koch Eye Associates;
- Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
- 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.To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to Peter A. Koch, CEO. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, 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.
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 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 Peter A. Koch, CEO. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.
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 Peter A. Koch, CEO. 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, please ask our front desk staff.
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 our offices. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us, or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with Koch Eye Associates, contact Peter A. Koch, CEO. All complaints must be submitted in writing.
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 or 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.