Notice of Privacy Practices
PURPOSE: This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.
The terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices apply to Mercer County Joint Township Community Hospital; Community Hospital Home Nursing Care; Maternal Care Center; Doctors’ Care; and the Celina Community Medical Center. The members of this clinically integrated health care arrangement work and practice in the Mercer County area with a home base in either Coldwater or Celina, Ohio. All of the entities and persons listed will share personal health information of patients as necessary to carry out treatment, payment, and health care operations as permitted by law.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy or our patients’ personal health information and to provide patients with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your personal health information. We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice so long as it remains in effect. We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices as necessary and to make the new Notice effective for all personal health information maintained by us. You may receive a copy of any revised notices at Mercer County Community Hospital or a copy may be obtained by mailing a request to: Mercer County Community Hospital: ATTN: Public Relations Dept.; 800 W. Main Street; Coldwater, OH 45828.
Uses and Disclosures of Your Personal Health Information
Your Authorization and Consent. Except as outlined below, we will not use or disclose your personal health information for any purpose unless you have signed a form consenting to or authorizing the use of disclosure. You have the right to revoke that consent or authorization in writing unless we have taken any action in reliance on the consent or authorization.
Uses and Disclosures for Treatment. We will make uses and disclosures of your personal health information as necessary for your treatment. For instance, doctors and nurses and other professionals involved in your care will use information in your medical record and information that you provide about your symptoms and reactions to plan a course of treatment for you that may include procedures, medications, tests, etc.
Uses and Disclosures for Payment. We will make uses and disclosures of your personal health information as necessary for payment purposes. For instance, we may forward information regarding your medical procedures and treatment to your insurance company to arrange payment for the services provided to you or we may use your information to prepare a bill to send to you or to the person responsible for your payment.
Uses and Disclosures for Health Care Operations. We will use and disclose your personal health information as necessary, and as permitted by law, for our health care operation which include clinical improvement, professional peer review, business management, accreditation and licensing, etc. For instance, we may use and disclose your personal health information for purposes of improving the clinical treatment and care of our patients.
Our Facility Directory. We maintain a facility directory listing the name, room number, general condition, and, if you wish, your religious affiliation. Unless you choose to have your information excluded from this directory, the information, excluding your religious affiliation, will be disclosed to anyone who requests it by asking for you by name. This information, including your religious affiliation, may also be provided to members of the clergy. You have the right during registration to have your information excluded from this directory and also to restrict what information it provides and/or to whom.
Family and Friends Involved in Your Care. With your approval, we may from time to time disclose your personal health information to designated family, friends, and others who are involved in your care or in payment of your care in order to facilitate that person’s involvement in caring for you or paying for your care. If you are unavailable, incapacitated, or facing an emergency medical situation, and we determine that a limited disclosure may be in your best interest, we may share limited personal health information with such individuals without your approval. We may also disclose limited personal health information to a public or private entity that is authorized to assist in disaster relief efforts in order for that entity to locate a family member or other persons that may be involved in some aspect of caring for you.
Business Associates. Certain aspects and components of our services are performed through contracts with outside persons or organizations, such as auditing, accreditation, legal services, etc. At times it may be necessary for us to provide certain areas of your personal health information to one or more of these outside persons or organizations who assist us with our health care operation. In all cases, we require these business associates to appropriately safeguard the privacy of your information.
Fundraising. We may contact you to donate to a fundraising effort for or on our behalf. You have the right to “opt-out” of receiving fundraising materials/communications. To do so, send your name and address with a statement that you do not wish to receive fundraising materials or communication from us to: Mercer County Community Hospital; ATTN: Public Relations Dept.: 800 W. Main Street; Coldwater, OH 45828.
Appointments and Services. We may contact you to provide appointment reminders of information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. You have the right to request and we will accommodate reasonable requests by you to receive communications regarding your personal health information from us by alternative means or at alternative locations. For instance, if you wish appointment reminders to not be left on voice mail or sent to a particular address, we will accommodate reasonable requests. You may request such confidential communication in writing and may send your request to: Mercer County Community Hospital: ATTN. HIPAA Privacy Officer; 800 West Main Street; Coldwater, OH 45848. You also have the right to request that we not send you any future marketing materials, and we will use our best efforts to honor such request. You may make the request by sending your name and address to the Public Relations Dept. at the Community Hospital address with your request to be removed from our marketing mailing lists.
Other Use and Disclosures. We are permitted or required by law to make certain other uses and disclosures of your personal health information without your consent or authorization.
· We may release your personal health information for any purpose required by law;
· We may release your personal health information for public health activities, such as required reporting of disease, injury, and birth and death, and for requires public health investigations;
· We may release your personal health information as required by law if we suspect child abuse or neglect; we may also release your personal health information as required by law if we believe you to be a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence;
· We may release your personal health information to the Food and Drug Administration if necessary to report adverse events, product defects, or to participate in product recalls;
· We may release your personal health information to your employer when we have provided health care to you at the request of your employer; in most cases you will receive notice that information is disclosed to your employer;
· We may release your personal health information if require by law to a government oversight agency conducting audits, investigations, or civil or criminal proceedings;
· We may release your personal health information if require to do so by a court or administrative ordered subpoena or discovery request; in most cases you will have notice of such release;
· We may release personal health information to law enforcement officials as required by law to report wounds and injuries and crimes;
· We may release personal health information to coroners and/or funeral directors consistent with law;
· We may release your personal health information as required by law to arrange an organ or tissue donation from you or a transplant for you;
· We may release your personal health information for certain research purposes when such research is approved by an institutional review board with established rules to ensure privacy;
· We may release your personal health information if you are a member of the military as required by armed forces services; we may also release your personal health information if necessary for national security or intelligence activities; and
· We may release your personal health information to workers’ compensation agencies if necessary for your workers’ compensation benefit determination.
RIGHTS THAT YOU HAVE
Access to Your Personal Health Information. You have the right to copy and/or inspect much of the personal health information that we retain on your behalf. All requests for access must be made in writing and signed by you or your representative. We will charge you a fee based upon the legal limitations outlined. You may obtain an access request form from our Health Records Department.
Amendments to Your Personal Health Information. You have the right to request in writing that personal health information that we maintain about you be amended or corrected. We are not obligated to make all requested amendments but will give each request careful consideration. All amendment requests, in order to be considered by us, must be in writing, signed by you or your representative, and must state the reasons for the amendment/correction request. If an amendment or correction you request is made by us, we may also notify others who work with us and have copies of the uncorrected record if we believe that such notification is necessary. You may obtain an amendment request from our Health Records Department.
Accounting for Disclosures or Your Personal Health Information. You have the right to receive an accounting of certain disclosures made by us of your personal health information after April 14, 2003. Requests must be made in writing and signed by you or your representative. Accounting request forms are available at our Health Records Department. The first accounting in any 12-month period is free; you will be charged a fee for each subsequent accounting you request within the same 12-month period.
Restrictions on Use and Disclosure of Your Personal Health Information. You have the right to request restrictions on certain of our uses and disclosures of your personal health information for treatment, payment, or health care operations on the consent form you sign when you become a patient. We are not required to agree to your restriction request, but will attempt to accommodate reasonable requests when appropriate. We retain the right to terminate agreed-to restrictions if we believe such termination is appropriate. In the event of a termination by us, we will notify you of such termination. You also have the right to terminate, in writing or orally, any agreed-to restriction to sending such termination notice to the Community Hospital address, ATTENTION HIPAA PRIVACY OFFICER.
Complaints. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint in writing to: Mercer County Community Hospital; ATTN. HIPAA Privacy Officer; 800 West Main Street, Coldwater, OH 45828. You may also file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. in writing within 180 days of a violation of your rights. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
If you have questions or need further assistance regarding this Notice, you may contact our HIPAA Privacy Officer by calling 419-678-5146, or by sending a written communication to: Mercer County Community Hospital; ATTN: HIPAA Privacy Officer; 800 W. Main St.; Coldwater, OH 45828.
As a patient you retain the right to obtain a paper copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices, even if you have requested such copy by e-mail or other electronic means.
Effective Date: This notice of Privacy Practices is effective April 14, 2003.