Effective Date: 2/18/15
WE ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO PROTECT MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
We are required by law to protect the privacy of medical information about you and that identifies you. This medical information may be information about healthcare we provide to you or payment for healthcare provided to you. It may also be information about your past, present, or future medical condition.
We are also required by law to provide you with this Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) explaining our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information. We are legally required to follow the terms of this Notice. In other words, we are only allowed to use and disclose medical information in the manner that we have described in this Notice.
We may change the terms of this Notice in the future. We reserve the right to make changes and to make the new Notice effective for all medical information that we maintain. If we make changes to the Notice, we will:
- Post in our waiting area that a new Notice is in effect, with copies of the full NPP available for pick up.
- Have copies of the new Notice available on our website, or upon request. You can also contact our Privacy Officer (contact information below) to obtain a copy of our current Notice.
The rest of this Notice will:
- Discuss how we may use and disclose medical information about you.
- Explain your rights with respect to medical information about you.
- Describe how and where you may file a privacy-related complaint.
If, at any time, you have questions about information in this Notice or about our privacy policies, procedures or practices, you can mail questions to, or contact, our Privacy Officer at the address listed below.
Hurley Medical Center
One Hurley Plaza
Flint, MI 48503
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 at the hospital. 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 related to your care, which are maintained by Hurley Medical Center, whether electronic or paper and whether made by hospital personnel, your personal doctor, a consulting or other treating doctor, a diagnostic facility, or any Hurley Medical Center facility or support personnel. Your personal doctor 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.
We use and disclose medical information about patients every day. This section of our Notice explains in some detail how we may use and disclose medical information about you in order to provide healthcare, obtain payment for that healthcare, and operate our business efficiently.
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.
For Treatment. 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, medical students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different departments of the hospital may also share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work, and x-rays. We also may provide your physician or a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him/her in treating you once you’re discharged from this hospital.
For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the hospital 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 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 hospital operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the hospital 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 hospital patients to decide what additional services the hospital should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other hospital personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other hospitals 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.
Fundraising Activities. We may use protected health information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for the hospital and its operations. We may disclose protected health information to a foundation related to the hospital so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for the hospital. We only would release contact information, such as your name, address, other contact information, such as, phone number, age, gender, date of birth, other demographic information, health insurance status, department of service information, treating physician information, outcome information, and the dates you received treatment or services at the hospital. If you do not want the hospital to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify the Hurley Foundation by calling 810-262-9667, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org advising that you want to opt-out.
Hospital Directory. We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at the hospital. This information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (good, fair, serious, critical) and your religious affiliation. The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a minister, priest or rabbi, even if they don’t ask for you by name. This is so your family, friends and clergy can visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing. Should you wish to not be included in the Hospital Directory, you must inform the Registration Clerk, who will in turn provide you with the necessary objection form for your completion and signature. In the event there is a problem, you may contact the Privacy Officer.
Disaster Relief. We may use or disclose protected health information to federal, state, or local government agencies engaged in disaster relief activities, as well as to private disaster relief or disaster assistance organizations (such as the Red Cross) to allow them to carry out their responsibilities in a specific disaster situation. This is so these organizations can help family, friends, or caregivers locate an individual affected by a disaster and inform them of the individual’s general health condition or to help individuals obtain necessary medical care for injuries or health conditions caused by a disaster.
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. We may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
Research. 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 the hospital. We will almost always ask for your specific permission if the researcher will record your name, address or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care at the hospital.
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.
Community Health Record. In order to enhance patient care, Hurley Medical Center works to make information in its electronic health record available to providers who may care for you in other settings. This means that some providers who are not employees of Hurley Medical Center may have access to your electronic health record. This information will only be shared in a safe, secure manner and all providers are required to adhere to state and federal privacy laws, including HIPAA.
Health Information Exchange (HIE). Hurley Medical Center, along with other health care providers, participate in HIEs that allow patient information to be shared electronically. HIEs give your health care providers who participate immediate electronic access to your pertinent medical information necessary for treatment, payment and operations. If you do not opt-out of the HIE, your information will be made available through the HIE to your authorized participating providers in accordance with this Notice of Privacy Practices and the law. If you opt-out of the HIE, your protected health information will continue to be used in accordance with this HIPAA Notice and the law, but will not be made electronically available through the HIE. To opt-out of the Health Information Exchange, please contact Michigan Health Connect at: 877-269-7860, or e-mail email@example.com, or visit their website www.michiganhealthconnect.org, to obtain the necessary form(s).
Organ and Tissue Donation. We may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as 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.
Public Health Activities. 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;
- Public health investigation or surveillance;
- To notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contacting or spreading a disease; or
- To the FDA, with respect to and FDA-regulated product or activities related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of such FDA-regulated product or activity;
- To an employer, about an individual who is a member of the workforce of the employer, if the health care information being disclosed is provided at the request of the employer regarding findings concerning a work-related illness or injury or a work-related medical surveillance and the employer needs such information to comply with its legal requirements(i.e., MIOSHA), provided the patient is either notified at the time of treatment or treatment is provided at the work site;
- To a school, about an individual who is a student or prospective student regarding proof of immunization(s), if the school is required by law to have such proof prior to admitting the student and we obtain and document the agreement from the parent, guardian or person acting in loco parentis or, if the student is emancipated or an adult, the student; or
- 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 law.
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 by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
Law Enforcement. 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;
- Certain information, in order 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;
- As required by law regarding wounds, other injuries, assaults and other violent acts;
- In response to an administrative request(including the Secretary of HHS, or designee) or similar process authorized by law, provided that it is relevant and material, specific and limited in scope to what is reasonably needed and only if de-identified information cannot reasonably be used;
- About criminal conduct at the hospital, 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 and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for the conduct of lawful intelligence, counter-intelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state to conduct special investigations.
Inmates. 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.
Authorizations. Other than the uses and disclosures described above, we will not use or disclose medical information about you without the “authorization” – or signed permission – of you or your personal representative. In some instances, we may wish to use or disclose medical information about you and we may contact you to ask you to sign an authorization form. In other instances, you may contact us to ask us to disclose medical information and we will ask you to sign an authorization form.
If you sign a written authorization allowing us to disclose medical information about you, you may later revoke (or cancel) your authorization in writing (except in very limited circumstances related to obtaining insurance coverage). If you would like to revoke your authorization, you may write us a letter revoking your authorization or fill out an Authorization Revocation Form. Authorization Revocation Forms are available from our Privacy Officer. If you revoke your authorization, we will follow your instructions except to the extent that we have already relied upon your authorization and taken some action.
The following uses and disclosures of medical information about you will only be made with your authorization (signed permission):
- Uses and disclosures for marketing purposes.
- Uses and disclosures that constitute the sales of medical information about you.
- Most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes.
- Any other uses and disclosures not described in this Notice.
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. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes.
To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to: Health Information Services, Hurley Medical Center, One Hurley Plaza, Flint, MI 48503, 810-262-9214. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the cost 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 the hospital will review your request and 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 the hospital.
To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Privacy Officer (see page 1 for contact information). 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 the hospital;
- 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 the Privacy Officer. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six (6) 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 Requests Restrictions. You have the right to request that we limit the use and disclosure of medical information about you for treatment, payment and healthcare operations for Hurley Medical Center information that involves scheduled/elective procedures. Under federal law, we must agree to your request and comply with your requested restriction(s) if:
- Except as otherwise required by law, the disclosure is to a health plan for purpose of carrying out payment of healthcare operations (and is not for purposes of carrying out treatment); and,
- The medical information pertains solely to a healthcare item or service for which the healthcare provided involved has been paid out-of-pocket in full.;
- The disclosure has not already been made.
Once we agree to your request, we must follow your restrictions (except if the information is necessary for emergency treatment). You may cancel the restrictions at any time. In addition, we may cancel a restriction at any time as long as we notify you of the cancellation and continue to apply the restriction to information collected before the cancellation.
You also have the right to request that we restrict disclosures of your medical information and healthcare treatment(s) to a health plan (health insurer) or other party, when that information relates solely to a healthcare item or service for which you, or another person on your behalf (other than a health plan), has paid us for in full. Once you have requested such restriction(s), and your payment in full has been received, we must follow your restriction(s).
It is your responsibility to notify subsequent providers/suppliers of any restriction requests and secure their agreement(e.g., pharmacists, a medical equipment provider, your physician’s office, etc.)
Right to Notification if a Breach of Your Medical Information Occurs. You also have the right to be notified in the event of a breach of medical information about you. If a breach of your medical information occurs, and if that information is unsecured (not encrypted), we will notify you promptly with the following information:
- A brief description of what happened;
- A description of the health information that was involved;
- Recommended steps you can take to protect yourself from harm;
- What steps we are taking in response to the breach; and,
- Contact procedures so you can obtain further information.
Right to Request an Alternative Method of Contact. You have the right to request to be contacted at a different location or by a different method. For example, you may prefer to have all written information mailed to your work address rather than to your home address.
We will agree to any reasonable request for alternative methods of contact. If you would like to request an alternative method of contact, you can make that request at the time of your registration as a patient, or provide us with a request in writing. You may write us a letter or fill out an Alternative Contact Request Form. Alternative Contact Request Forms are available from our Privacy Officer. Changes to the alternative method of contact will be made within two (2) business days of the receipt of the request.
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. You may also obtain a copy of this notice by contacting the Privacy Officer.
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 a summary of the current notice in the hospital. The notice will contain the effective date at the bottom of each page. In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to the hospital for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with Hurley Medical Center’s Privacy Officer or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
We will not take any action against you or change our treatment of you in any way if you file a complaint.
To file a written complaint with us please mail to the Privacy Officer at the following address:
Hurley Medical Center
One Hurley Plaza
Flint, MI 48503
To file a written complaint with the federal government, please use the following contact information:
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
Toll-Free Phone: 1-877-696-6775
OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATON
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.