Notice of Privacy Practices
Effective Date: April 14, 2003
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Sierra Pathology Associates Privacy Officer at (775) 334-3450.
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION
We take very seriously our obligation to protect the personal information you share with us. “Personal information” means information that identifies you personally and is not otherwise available to the public. It may include personal financial information, such as credit history, income, policy or claim information. It may also include personal health information, such as individual medical records or information about an illness, disability or injury, which we collect only with your prior authorization.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to:
- make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;
- give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and
- follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
In addition to federal law, Nevada law places more stringent limitation on the disclosure and use of mental health information, genetic information, communicable disease information and blood and urine tests. Other federal regulations place more stringent requirements of drug and alcohol abuse information. We shall comply with those more stringent restrictions.
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 that 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 health care professionals who are involved in your medical care.
- For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at Sierra Pathology Associates may be billed to, and payment may be collected from, you, an insurance company or a third party.
- For Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose medical information about you for health care operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run Sierra Pathology Associates and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care.
- 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. Unless there is a specific written request from you to the contrary, 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.
- 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.
- Worker’s Compensation: We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
- 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 laws.
- 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.
- Lawsuits and Disputes: We may disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful order from a court.
- Release Authorizations**: Certain disclosures and uses of patient information require authorization from the patient. Those disclosures include – Psychotherapy notes. These are the notes of a mental health professional that are kept separate from the record itself. – Protected information that the office uses for marketing. -Any disclosure the office makes that constitutes a sale of the protected information.
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 may not include some mental health information.
To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Sierra Pathology Associates Privacy Officer. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs 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 will review your request and the 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 Sierra Pathology Associates.
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 Sierra Pathology Associates;
- 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”: This is a list of the disclosures we made of medical information about you other than our own uses for treatment, payment and health care operations, as those functions are described above.
- Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery you had. 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 with emergency treatment.
- Right to Request Non-Disclosure: You have the right to pay in full for out of pocket expenses for health care services and request that medical information for these health care services not be disclosed to a health plan or other entity.*
- 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 by mail.
- 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.
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 the current notice at Sierra Pathology Associates. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date. In addition, each time you require health care services from Sierra Pathology Associates, 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 Sierra Pathology Associates or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint, contact our Privacy Officer at the address below. 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 medical information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to use will be made only with your written authorization. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you by signing an authorization, 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.
INFORMATION BREACH NOTIFICATION*
HIPAA provisions require that you be notified of any breach of health care information. If a breach involves 500 people or less, you will be notified by written notice. This notice will contain the details of the breach, the information disclosed, and the steps being taken to avoid any future breaches, as well as explaining patient(s) rights in protecting their private healthcare information. If the breach involves more than 500 persons, HIPAA requires that the Department of Health and Human Services be notified as well as the local media outlets.
IF YOU HAVE A REQUEST
If you would like to request a copy of medical information, ask to amend medical information, request an “accounting of disclosures” or restrictions or limitations on medical information, request confidential communications or file a complaint regarding your privacy rights, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Sierra Pathology Associates Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 3947, Reno, NV 89505. You must provide a reason that supports your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.
*Revised 2-18-2010 **Revised 5-28-2013