Your Privacy


Patient Notice of Privacy Practices
EFFECTIVE DATE: September 23, 2013.

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.

PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY.
I. OUR RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION 

We are required by law to:

A. Maintain the privacy of protected health information.

B. Provide you with this Notice, which describes our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect about you and a revised copy of the Notice if it is amended or otherwise changed.

C. Abide by the terms of this Notice.

D. Notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction.

E. Accommodate reasonable requests that you have made to have us communicate your health information to you in a certain way or at a certain location.

 

II. HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

Each time you visit us, a record of your visit is made. We may use or disclose the health information contained in this record to certain employees and staff members of the surgery center or certain persons or entities outside the surgery center in certain situations without first obtaining your authorization. The following categories describe the different ways that we may use and disclose your medical information. We must obtain your prior written authorization before using or disclosing your medical information in all other situations which are not listed below.

A. For Treatment. We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment and services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, or other surgery center personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the surgery center.  For example, information obtained by a nurse, physician, or other member of your health care team will be recorded in your medical 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 that they took and their observations. By reading your medical record, the physician will know how you are responding to treatment.

B. For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the surgery center may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company, or third party.  For example, we may need to give your insurance company information about surgery you received at the surgery center so that the insurance company will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery.

C. Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for the operations of the surgery center. For example, members of the medical staff, the risk manager 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 be used in a way to improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and services that we provide.

D. Appointment Reminders. We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the surgery center.

E. Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose medical information about you to contact you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.

F. Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose your medical information to inform you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.

G. 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 or who helps pay for your care. We must inform you that we are going to use or disclose your information for this purpose and provide you with an opportunity to agree to, restrict or object to the disclosure or use.

H. Notification. We may use or disclose your medical information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or other person responsible for your care of your location and general condition or disclose such information to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort. We must inform you that we are going to use or disclose your information for this purpose and provide you with an opportunity to agree to, restrict or object to the disclosure or use.

I. As Required by Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by international, federal, state or local law.

J. Avert 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 or safety, or the health or safety of the public or another person. The surgery center, however, will only disclose the information to someone able to help prevent the threat.

K. Organ and Tissue Donation. 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.

L. Business Associates. Some of the services provided at the surgery center are provided by business associates. For example, we contract with certain laboratories to perform lab tests. When we contract for these services, we may disclose your health information to our business associates so that they can perform the job we have hired them to do. To protect your health information, we require our business associates to appropriately safeguard your information.

M. Workers’ Compensation. We may release medical information about you to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with the laws relating to workers’ compensation or other similar programs established by law.

N. Public Health Risks. We may disclose Health Information for public health activities.  These activities generally include disclosures to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; report births and deaths; report child abuse or neglect; report reactions to medications or problems with products; notify people of recalls of products they may be using; a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; and 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.

O. 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 and disciplinary action that are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.

P. 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 a dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.

Q. Law Enforcement. We may release Health Information if asked by a law enforcement official if the information is: (1) in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; (2) limited information to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; (3) about the victim of a crime even if, under certain very limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement; (4) about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; (5) about criminal conduct on our premises; and (6) in an emergency to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.

R. Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner for purposes of identifying a deceased, determining a cause of death, or other duties authorized by law. We may also disclose health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.

S. Food and Drug Administration. We may disclose to the FDA health information related to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, products and product defects, or post marketing surveillance information or to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacement.

T. Inmates or Individuals in Custody.  If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release Health Information to the correctional institution or law enforcement official.  This release would be necessary if: (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) the safety and security of the correctional institution.

U. Victims of Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence. We may release medical information to a government authority if we reasonably believe that you are a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence, to the extent authorized or required by law. We must inform you or your personal representative that we have disclosed information for this purpose unless we believe that telling you or your personal representative would place you in risk of serious harm or otherwise not be in your best interest.

V. Child Abuse. We may release medical information to a government authority authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect.

W. Research.  Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose Health Information for research.  For example, a research project may involve comparing the health of patients who received one treatment to those who received another, for the same condition.  Before we use or disclose Health Information for research, the project will go through a special approval process.  Even without special approval, we may permit researchers to look at records to help them identify patients who may be included in their research project or for other similar purposes, as long as they do not remove or take a copy of any Health Information.

X. Military and Veterans.  If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release Health Information as required by military command authorities.  We also may release Health Information to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military.

Y. 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.

Z. National Security and Intelligence Activities and Protective Services for the President and Others. We may release Health Information to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counter-intelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.  We may disclose Health Information to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state, or to conduct special investigations.
III. USES AND DISCLOSURES THAT REQUIRE US TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO OBJECT AND OPT OUT

Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, your Protected Health Information that directly relates to that person’s involvement in your health care. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment.

Disaster Relief. We may disclose your Protected Health Information to disaster relief organizations that seek your Protected Health Information to coordinate your care, or notify family and friends of your location or condition in a disaster.  We will provide you with an opportunity to agree or object to such a disclosure whenever we practically can do so.

IV. YOUR WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION IS REQUIRED FOR OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES

The following uses and disclosures of your Protected Health Information will be made only with your written authorization:

1.  Uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information for marketing purposes
2.  Disclosures that constitute a sale of your Protected Health Information

Other uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization.  If you do give us an authorization, you may revoke it at any time by submitting a written revocation to our Privacy Officer and we will no longer disclose Protected Health Information under the authorization.  But disclosure that we made in reliance on your authorization before you revoked it will not be affected by the revocation.

V. YOUR RIGHTS

Right to Inspect and Copy.  You have a right to inspect and copy Health Information that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care.  This includes medical and billing records, other than psychotherapy notes.  To inspect and copy this Health Information, you must make your request, in writing, to the Privacy Officer.  We have up to 30 days to make your Protected Health Information available to you and we may charge you a reasonable fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.  We may not charge you a fee if you need the information for a claim for benefits under the Social Security Act or any other state of federal needs-based benefit program.  We may deny your request in certain limited circumstances.  If we do deny your request, you have the right to have the denial reviewed by a licensed healthcare professional who was not directly involved in the denial of your request, and we will comply with the outcome of the review.

Right to an Electronic Copy of Electronic Medical Records. If your Protected Health Information is maintained in an electronic format (known as an electronic medical record or an electronic health record), you have the right to request that an electronic copy of your record be given to you or transmitted to another individual or entity.  We will make every effort to provide access to your Protected Health Information in the form or format you request, if it is readily producible in such form or format.  If the Protected Health Information is not readily producible in the form or format you request your record will be provided in either our standard electronic format or if you do not want this form or format, a readable hard copy form.  We may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for the labor associated with transmitting the electronic medical record.

Right to Get Notice of a Breach.  You have the right as required by law to be notified upon a breach of any of your unsecured Protected Health Information.

Right to Amend.  If you feel that Health Information we have 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 our office.  To request an amendment, you must make your request, in writing, to the Privacy Officer.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures.  You have the right to request a list of certain disclosures we made of Health Information for purposes other than treatment, payment and health care operations or for which you provided written authorization.  To request an accounting of disclosures, you must make your request, in writing, to the Privacy Officer.

Right to Request Restrictions.  You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the Health Information we use or disclose for treatment, payment, or health care operations.  You also have the right to request a limit on the Health Information we disclose to someone involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend.  For example, you could ask that we not share information about a particular diagnosis or treatment with your spouse.  To request a restriction, you must make your request, in writing, to the Privacy Officer.  We are not required to agree to your request unless you are asking us to restrict the use and disclosure of your Protected Health Information to a health plan for payment or health care operation purposes and such information you wish to restrict pertains solely to a health care item or service for which you have paid us “out-of-pocket” in full. If we agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.

Out-of-Pocket-Payments.  If you paid out-of-pocket (or in other words, you have requested that we not bill your health plan) in full for a specific item or service, you have the right to ask that your Protected Health Information with respect to that item or service not be disclosed to a health plan for purposes of payment or health care operations, and we will honor that request.

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 by mail or at work.  To request confidential communications, you must make your request, in writing, to the Privacy Officer.  Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.  We will accommodate reasonable requests.

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 obtain a copy of this notice at our web site, www.rmsurgicalcenter.com.  To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact the Privacy Officer.

WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THIS NOTICE. We reserve the right to make the revised and changed notice effective for medical information that 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 the surgery center. The notice will contain the effective date on the first page.  Each time you register at the surgery center for health care services, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.

 

QUESTIONS OR COMPLAINTS

If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact the Chief Executive Officer, at (406)556-9000 at the surgery center.

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can submit a written complaint describing the circumstances surrounding the violation to DeeDee Dalke, Privacy Officer, at 1450 Ellis Street, Suite 101, Bozeman, MT  59715 (406)556-9000 at the Surgery Center or to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. You will not be penalized for filing any complaint.

DeeDee Dalke, Privacy Officer