Notice of Privacy Practices
What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides safeguards to protect patient privacy. This Notice of Privacy Practices includes a “friendly” version of HIPAA policies, and a more complete text of HIPAA rules is available online at: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html/. You may request a copy of Notice of Privacy Practices from our office at any time.
HIPAA are rules and restrictions on who may see or be notified of a patient's Protected Health Information (PHI). These restrictions do not include the normal interchange of information necessary to provide patients with office services. HIPAA provides certain rights and protections to patients. We balance these needs with our goal of providing you with quality professional service and care.
Unless otherwise required by law, your health record is the physical property of the healthcare practitioner or facility that compiled it. However, you have certain rights with respect to the information. You have the right to:
1. Receive a copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices from us upon enrollment or upon request.
2. Request restrictions on our uses and disclosures of your protected health information for treatment, payment and health care operations. We reserve the right not to agree to a given requested restriction.
3. Request to receive communications of protected health information in confidence.
4. Inspect and obtain a copy of the protected health information contained in your medical and billing records used by us to make decisions about you. We use electronic health records, and you will also have the right to obtain a copy or forward a copy of your electronic health record to a third party. A fee may apply.
5. Request an amendment to your protected health information. However, we may deny your request for an amendment, if we determine that the protected health information or record that is the subject of the request: (i) was not created by us, unless you provide a reasonable basis to believe that the originator of the protected health information is no longer available to act on the requested amendment; (ii) is not part of your medical or billing records; (iii) is not available for inspection as set forth above; or (iv) is accurate and complete. Any agreed upon amendment will be included as an addition to, and not a replacement of, already existing records.
6. Receive an accounting of disclosures of protected health information made by us to individuals or entities other than to you, except for disclosures: (i) to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations as provided above; (ii) to persons involved in your care or for other notification purposes as provided by law; (iii) to correctional institutions or law enforcement officials as provided by law; (iv) for national security or intelligence purposes; (v) incidental to other permissible uses or disclosures; (vi) that are part of a limited data set (does not contain protected health information that directly identifies individuals); (vii) made to patient or their personal representatives; (viii) · for which a written authorization form from the patient or legal guardian has been received.
7. Revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that we have already taken action in good faith reliance on your previously submitted authorization, or if the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage and other applicable law provides the insurer that obtained the authorization with the right to contest a claim under the policy.
8. Receive notification if affected by a breach of unsecured protected health information.
How Medical Information About You May be Used & Disclosed: Our office may use and/or disclose your medical information for the following purposes:
Treatment: We may use and disclose protected health information in the provision, coordination, or management of your health care, including consultations between health care providers regarding your care and referrals for health care from one health care provider to another.
Payment: We may use and disclose protected health information to obtain reimbursement for the health care provided to you, including determinations of eligibility and coverage and other utilization review activities.
Regular Healthcare Operations: We may use and disclose protected health information to support functions of our practice related to treatment and payment, such as quality assurance activities, case management, receiving and responding to patient complaints, provider reviews, compliance programs, audits, business planning, development, management and administrative activities.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose protected health information to contact you to provide appointment reminders. We may do this by way of our Patient Portal, telephone, e-mail, U.S mail, or by any means convenient for the Practice and/or as requested by the Patient. We may send the Patient and/or Legal Guardian other communications, to inform Patients of any changes to our Office Policies or new technology that can be valuable or informative to Patient care.
Treatment Alternatives: We may use and disclose protected health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment alternatives or other health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
Health-Related Benefits and Services: We may use and disclose protected health information to tell you about health-related benefits, services, or medical education classes that may be of interest to you.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care: Unless you object, we may disclose your protected health information to your family or other individual(s) or entities identified by you when they are involved in your care or the payment for your care including insurance carriers. We will only disclose the protected health information directly relevant to their involvement in your care or payment. We may also disclose your protected health information to notify a person responsible for your care (or to identify such person) of your location or general condition.
Business Associates: There may be some services provided in our organization through contracts with Business Associates. Examples include physician services in the emergency department and radiology, certain laboratory tests, and medical software. When these services are contracted, we may disclose some or all of your health information to our Business Associate so that they can perform the job we have asked them to do. To protect your health information, however, we require the Business Associate to appropriately safeguard your information under the standards of HIPAA rules.
Worker's Compensation: We may release protected health information about you for programs that provide benefits for work related injuries or illness.
Communicable Diseases: We may disclose protected health information 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 (i.e. tuberculosis infection).
Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose protected health information to federal or state agencies that oversee our activities.
Law Enforcement: We may disclose protected health information as required by law or in response to a valid judge ordered subpoena. For example, in cases of victims of abuse or domestic violence; to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; related to judicial or administrative proceedings; or related to other law enforcement purposes.
Military and Veterans: If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release protected health information about you as required by military command authorities.
Lawsuits and Disputes: We may disclose protected health 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.
Abuse or Neglect: We may disclose protected health information to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a person has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
Public Health Risks: We may disclose your protected health information for public health activities and purposes to a public health authority that is permitted by law to collect or receive the information. The disclosure will be made for the purpose such as controlling disease, injury or disability.
Serious Threats: As permitted by applicable law and standards of ethical conduct, we may use and disclose protected health information if we, in good faith, believe that the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): As required by law, we may disclose to the FDA health information relative to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, product and product defects, or post marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacement.
Our Responsibilities: We are required to maintain the privacy of your health information. In addition, we are required to provide you with a notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you. We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all the protected health information we maintain. If our information practices change, a revised notice will be posted at our office, on our website, and copies are available upon request.
Your health information will not be used or disclosed without your written authorization, except as described in this notice. The following uses and disclosures will be made only with explicit authorization from you: (i) most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes (ii) uses and disclosures of your health information for marketing purposes, including subsidized treatment communications; (iii) other uses and disclosures not described in the notice. Except as noted above, you may revoke your authorization in writing at any time.
Patient files may be stored in open file racks in our office and will not contain any coding which identifies a patient’s condition or information which is not already a matter of public record. The normal course of providing care means that such records may be left, at least temporarily, in administrative areas such as the front office, healthcare provider’s offices, etc. Those records will not be available to persons other than our staff or applicable Business Associates.
For More Information or to Report a Problem: If you have questions about this notice or would like additional information, you may contact our Privacy Officer at the telephone number and address below. If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated, you have the right to file a complaint with our Privacy Officer at Greater Austin Psychiatry & Wellness or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The complaint must be in writing, describe the acts or omissions that you believe violate your privacy rights, and be filed within 180 days of when you knew or should have known that the act or omission occurred. We will take no retaliatory action against you if you make such complaints.
The contact information for both parties is included below:
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Secretary. 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201. Phone: (202) 619-0257. Toll Free Phone: 1-877-696-6775. Website: www.hhs.gov.
Greater Austin Psychiatry & Wellness, Privacy Officer. 5424 West US HWY 290, Suite 108. Austin, Texas, 78735. Phone: (512) 430-1130. Website: www.GreaterAustinPsychiatry.com