Maryland Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Sheilah A. Lynch, MD
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact our office.
For more information about the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Notice requirements, see: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/index.html.
The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (“Privacy Rule”) establishes, for the first time, a set of national standards for the protection of certain health information. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued the Privacy Rule to implement the requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). 1 The Privacy Rule standards address the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information—called “protected health information” by organizations subject to the Privacy Rule — called “covered entities,” as well as standards for individuals’ privacy rights to understand and control how their health information is used. Within HHS, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has responsibility for implementing and enforcing the Privacy Rule with respect to voluntary compliance activities and civil money penalties. A major goal of the Privacy Rule is to assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well being.
The rule strikes a balance that permits important uses of information, while protecting the privacy of people who seek care and healing. Given that the healthcare marketplace is diverse, the Rule is designed to be flexible and comprehensive to cover the variety of uses and disclosures that need to be addressed.
This is a summary of key elements of the Privacy Rule and not a complete or comprehensive guide to compliance. Entities regulated by the Rule are obligated to comply with all of its applicable requirements and should not rely on this summary as a source of legal information or advice. To make it easier for entities to review the complete requirements of the Rule, provisions of the Rule referenced in this summary are cited in notes at the end of this document. To view the entire Rule, and for other additional helpful information about how it applies, see the OCR website: https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.
In the event of a conflict between this summary and the Rule, the Rule governs. Links to the OCR Guidance Document are provided throughout this paper. Provisions of the Rule referenced in this summary are cited in endnotes at the end of this document. To review the entire Rule itself, and for other additional helpful information about how it applies, see the OCR website: https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE:
This notice describes our office’s practices and that of: 1) Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your file or record, 2) All employees, staff, and other personnel, 3) All business associates with access to your medical information. All these entities follow the terms of this notice. In addition, these entities may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment, or hospital operations purposes described in this notice.
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 in our practice. 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 of your care.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. It also describes your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to: 1) Make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private, 2) Give you notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected medical information about you, and 3) Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose protected medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean. 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 protected medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose protected medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, pharmacists, or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you. Different departments of our practice also may 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 disclose protected medical information about you to people outside the practice who may be involved in your medical care, such as family members or others we use to provide services that are part of your care.
For Payment: We may use and disclose protected medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or third party. For example, we may need to give you health plan information about treatment you received so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you. We may also tell your health plan about treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment. We also may use and disclose your information to obtain payment from third parties that may be responsible for such costs, such as family members. And we may use your information to bill you directly for services and items.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose protected medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care.
Treatment Alternatives: We may use and disclose protected medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Health-Related Benefits and Services: We may use and disclose protected medical information to tell you about health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care: We may release protected 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. In addition, we may disclose protected 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 protected 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. We will almost always ask for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address, or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care in our practice.
As Required By Law: We will disclose protected 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 protected medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health or 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.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
You have the following rights regarding protected 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. This includes medical and billing records.
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 our practice.
To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to medical records. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your amendment 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: 1) Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment, 2) Is not part of the medical information kept by our practice, 3) Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect or copy, or 4) In our judgment the information is accurate and complete as it appears or as it was at the time it was originally captured and recorded.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures.” This is a list of the disclosures we have made of your medical information.
To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to medical records in our office. Your request must state a time period which may not be longer than six 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). The first list you request within each 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 Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the protected medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. However, we must receive your restrictions in writing before we have made such disclosures. Also, if you restrict our right to use your protected medical information for treatment, payment or health operations, we reserve the right to immediately withdraw our services from you and terminate the physician-patient relationship.
You may also have the right to request a limit on the protected information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery to your family.
We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.
To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to medical records in our office. In your request restrictions, you must tell us: 1) What information you want to limit, 2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both, and 3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosure to your spouse.
Right to Request Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work, or at home, or by mail, or by phone.
To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to medical records in our office. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.
Right to a Copy of This Notice: You have a right to a copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time.
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 protected medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in our office. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with Lynch Plastic Surgery, contact Sheila A. Lynch, MD, Administrator, at (301) 652-5933. All complaints must be submitted in writing.
You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION
Other uses and disclosures of protected 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 protected 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 protected 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.