This notice describes how information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.
Effective April, 1, 2003
At Northwest ENT Associates, P.C. d/b/a Northwest ENT and Allergy Center, we are committed to treating and using protected health information about you responsibly. This Notice of Health Information Practices describes the personal information we collect, and how and when we use or disclose that information. It also describes your rights as they relate to your protected health information. This Notice is effective April 1, 2003, and applies to all protected health information as defined by federal regulations.
Understanding Your Health Record/Information
Each time you visit Northwest ENT and Allergy Center, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a:
- Basis for planning your care and treatment,
- Means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care,
- Legal document describing the care you received,
- Means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided,
- A tool in educating health professionals,
- A source of data for medical research,
- A source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of this state and the nation,
- A source of data for our planning and marketing,
- A tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve.
Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to: ensure its accuracy, better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information, and make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.
Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of Northwest ENT and Allergy Center, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:
- Obtain a paper copy of this notice of information practices upon request,
- Obtain an electronic copy of your Medical Record,
- Inspect and copy your health record as provided for in 45 CFR 164.524. You must make your request, in writing to Carlos Egea, Privacy Officer at Northwest ENT and Allergy Center, 80 Lacy Street NW, Marietta, Georgia 30060. We have up to 30 days to make your PHI available to you.
- Amend your health record as provided in 45 CFR 164.528,
- Obtain a notice of a breach of PHI,
- Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information as provided in 45 CFR 164.528,
- Request to confidential communications of your health information by alternative means or at alternative locations,
- Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information as provided by 45 CFR 164.522, and
- Revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken.
- Out of Pocket Payments – If you paid out-of-pocket (OOP) for a specific item or service, you have the right to ask that your PHI with respect to that item or service not be disclosed to a health plan for the purposes of payment or health care operations, and we will honor that request.
Northwest ENT and Allergy Center is required to:
- Maintain the privacy of your health information,
- Provide you with this notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you,
- Abide by the terms of this notice,
- Notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction, and
- Accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.
We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our information practices change, we will mail a revised notice to the address you’ve supplied us, or if you agree, we will email the revised notice to you.
We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice. We will also discontinue using or disclosing your health information after we have received a written revocation of the authorization according to the procedures included in the authorization.
For More Information or to Report a Problem
If have questions and would like additional information, you may contact the practice’s Privacy Officer, Carlos Egea at 770-427-0368.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the practice’s Privacy Officer or with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint with either the Privacy Officer or the Office for Civil Rights. The address for the OCR is listed below:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
Examples of Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Operations
We will use your health information for treatment.
For example: Information obtained by a nurse, physician, or other member of your health care team will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your physician will document in your record his or her expectations of the members of your health care team. Members of your health care team will then record the actions they took and their observations. In that way, the physician will know how you are responding to treatment.
We will also provide your physician or a subsequent health care provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you once you’re discharged from this hospital.
We will use your health information for payment.
We may use and disclose your Protected Health Information so that we can bill for the treatment and services you receive from us and can collect payment from you, your health plan, or a third party.
For example: A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used.
We will use your health information for regular health operations.
For example: Members of the medical staff, the risk or quality improvement manager, or members of the quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in an effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and service we provide.
Business associates: There are some services provided in our organization through contacts with business associates. Examples include physician services in the emergency department and radiology, certain laboratory tests, and a copy service we use when making copies of your health record. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do and bill you or your third-party payer for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information. All Business Associates are required to sign a Business Associate Agreement that details their operational guidelines for appropriately safeguarding your protected health information (PHI).
Directory: Unless you notify us that you object, we will use your name, location in the facility, general condition, and religious affiliation for directory purposes. This information may be provided to members of the clergy and, except for religious affiliation, to other people who ask for you by name.
Notification: We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or another person responsible for your care, your location, and general condition. Notifications will be limited to individuals as identified by the patient or as required by law.
Communication with family: Health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend or any other person you identify, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
Research: We may disclose information to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information.
Funeral directors: We may disclose health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.
Organ procurement organizations: Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
Marketing: We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
Fundraising: We may contact you as part of a fund-raising effort.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): We may disclose to the FDA health information for public health activities. This includes disclosures to: (1) a person subject to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for purposes related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of an FDA-regulated product or activity; (2) prevent or control disease, injury or disability; (3) report births and deaths; (4) report child abuse or neglect; (5) report reactions to medications or problems with products; (6) notify people of recalls of products they may be using; and (7) a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition.
Workers compensation: We may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
Public health: As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence: We may disclose Protected Health Information to the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence and the patient agrees or we are required or authorized by law to make that disclosure.
Data Breach Notification Purposes: We may use or disclose your Protected Health Information to provide legally required notices of unauthorized access to or disclosure of your health information per applicable state of federal law.
Law enforcement: We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena.
Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority, or attorney, provided that a workforce member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public.