GSC is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your Protected Health Information (“PHI”). In conducting our business, we will create records regarding you and the services we provide to you. We are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of health information that identifies you. We also are required by law to provide you with this notice of our legal duties and the privacy practices that we maintain in our practice concerning your PHI. By federal and state law, we must follow the terms of the notice of privacy practices that we have in effect at the time of your care.
We realize that these laws are complicated, but we must provide you with the following important information:
- How we may use and disclose your PHI
- Your privacy rights regarding your PHI
- Our obligations concerning the use and disclosure of your PHI
The terms of this notice apply to all records containing your PHI that are created or retained by GSC. We reserve the right to revise or amend this Notice of Privacy Practices. Any revision or amendment to this notice will be effective for all of your records that our practice has created or maintained in the past, and for any of your records that we may create or maintain in the future. Our practice will post a copy of our current Notice in our offices in a visible location at all times, and you may request a copy of our most current Notice at any time.
The following categories describe unique scenarios in which we may use or disclose your PHI:
- Public Health Risks. GSC may disclose your PHI to public health authorities that are authorized by law to collect information for the purpose of:
- Maintenance of vital records, such as births and deaths
- Mandatory reporting, such as child abuse or neglect
- Preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability
- Notification of a person regarding potential exposure to a communicable disease
- Notification of a person regarding a potential risk for spreading or contracting a disease or condition
- Notification of your employer under limited circumstances related primarily to workplace injury or illness or medical surveillance
- Health Oversight Activities. GSC 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.
- Lawsuits and Similar Proceedings. GSC 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.
- Law Enforcement. We may release PHI if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
- Regarding a crime victim in certain situations, if we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement
- Concerning a death we believe has resulted from criminal conduct
- Regarding criminal conduct at our offices
- In response to a warrant, summons, court order, subpoena or similar legal process
- To identify/locate a suspect, material witness, fugitive or missing person
- In an emergency, to report a crime (including the location or victim(s) of the crime, or the description, identity or location of the perpetrator)
- Deceased Patients. GSC may release PHI to a medical examiner or coroner to identify a deceased individual or to identify the cause of death. If necessary, we also may release information in order for funeral directors to perform their jobs.
- Research. GSC may use and disclose your PHI for research purposes in certain limited circumstances. We will obtain your written authorization to use your PHI for research purposes except when: (a) our use or disclosure was approved by an Institutional Review Board or a Privacy Board; (b) we obtain the oral or written agreement of a researcher that (i) the information being sought is necessary for the research study; (ii) the use or disclosure of your PHI is being used only for the research and (iii) the researcher will not remove any of your PHI from our practice;
- Serious Threats to Health or Safety. GSC may use and disclose your PHI when necessary to reduce or prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of another individual or the public. Under these circumstances, we will make disclosures to a person or organization able to help prevent the threat.
- National Security. GSC may disclose your PHI to federal officials for intelligence and national security activities authorized by law. We also may disclose your PHI to federal officials in order to protect the President, other officials or foreign heads of state, or to conduct investigations.
- Inmates. GSC may disclose your PHI to correctional institutions 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 individuals.
- Workers’ Compensation. GSC may release your PHI for workers’ compensation and similar programs.
- Uses and Disclosures Requiring Authorization. GSC will obtain your written authorization before using your PHI for any marketing purposes, or for any situation constituting the sale of PHI.
You have the following rights regarding the PHI that we maintain about you:
- Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that our practice communicate with you about your health and 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. In order to request a type of confidential communication, you must make a written request to our Privacy Officer, at the address on this notice, specifying the requested method of contact, or the location where you wish to be contacted. Our practice will accommodate reasonable requests. You do not need to give a reason for your request.
- Requesting Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your PHI for treatment, payment or health care operations. Additionally, you have the right to request that we restrict our disclosure of your PHI to only certain individuals involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as family members and friends. We are not required to agree to these requests; however, if we do agree, we are bound by our agreement except when otherwise required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is necessary to treat you. In order to request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your PHI, you must make your request in writing to our Privacy Officer, at the address on this notice. Your request must describe in a clear and concise fashion:
- The information you wish restricted;
- Whether you are requesting to limit our practice’s use, disclosure or both; and
- To whom you want the limits to apply.
You have the right to restrict – and we must agree to restrict – disclosures to your health plan, if you pay for the services out of pocket and in full.
- Inspection and Copies. You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the PHI that may be used to make decisions about you, including patient medical records and billing records. You must submit your request in writing to our Privacy Officer, at the address on this notice, in order to inspect and/or obtain a copy of your PHI. GSC may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances; however, you may request a review of our denial.
- Amendment. You may ask us to amend your health information if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete, and you may request an amendment for as long as GSC maintains the information. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to our Privacy Officer, at the address on this notice. You must provide us with a reason that supports your request for amendment. GSC will deny your request if you fail to submit your request (and the reason supporting your request) in writing. Also, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that is in our opinion: (a) accurate and complete; (b) not part of the PHI kept by or for the practice; (c) not part of the PHI which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or (d) not created by our practice, unless the individual or entity that created the PHI is not available to amend the information.
- Accounting of Disclosures. All patients utilizing our services have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures.” An “accounting of disclosures” is a list of non-routine disclosures our practice has made of your PHI for non-treatment or operations purposes. Use of your PHI as part of the routine care in our practice is not required to be documented for “accounting of disclosures”. For example, the laboratory sharing PHI with the doctor; or the billing department is using your PHI to file your claim. To obtain an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to our Privacy Officer, at the address on this notice. Requests for an “accounting of disclosures” must state a time period no longer than six (6) years from the date of disclosure and may not include dates before March 1, 2012.
- Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You are entitled to receive a paper copy of our notice of privacy practices. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact our Privacy Officer, at the address on this notice
- Right to File a Complaint. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with GSC or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our practice, contact our Privacy Officer, at the address on this notice. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
- Right to Provide an Authorization for Other Uses and Disclosures. GSC will obtain your written authorization for uses and disclosures that are not identified by this notice or permitted by applicable law. Any authorization you provide to us regarding the use and disclosure of your PHI may be revoked at any time in writing. After you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your PHI for the reasons described in the authorization.
- Right to Notice of Breach of PHI. In the event that any of your unsecure PHI should be accessed, distributed, or used inappropriately, we will provide you with written notice of the breach.
Again, if you have any questions regarding this notice or our health information privacy policies, please contact:
Griffiss Surgery Center
105 Dart Circle
Rome, NY 13441