Our pledge regarding the protection of your health information.
Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey strives to protect your privacy and confidentiality. We understand that health information about you and your healthcare is personal. We are committed to protecting health information about you. We will create a record of the care and services you receive from us. We do so to provide you with quality care and to comply with any legal or regulatory requirements.
This Notice applies to all of the records generated or received by Planned Parenthood® of Southern New Jersey, whether we documented the health information, or another doctor forwarded it to us. This Notice will tell you the ways in which we may use or disclose health information about you. This Notice also describes your rights to the health information we keep about you, and describe certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of your health information.
Our pledge regarding your health information is backed-up by Federal law. The privacy and security provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) require us to:
· Make sure that health information that identifies you is kept private;
· Make available this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health information about you; and
· Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
How we may use ad disclose health information about you.
The following categories describe different ways that we may use or disclose health information about you. Unless otherwise noted each of these uses and disclosures may be made without your permission. For each category of use or disclosure, we will explain what we mean and give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, unless we ask for a separate authorization, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
Ways health information may be shared.
For Treatment. We may use health information about you to provide you with healthcare treatment and services. We may disclose health information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, health students, volunteers or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you. They may work at our offices, at a hospital , or at another doctor’s office, lab, pharmacy, or other healthcare provider to whom we may refer you for consultation, to take x-rays, to perform lab tests, to have prescriptions filled, or for other treatment purposes.
We may share the information you have given us on the forms you fill out with other health care providers in the course of providing you health care.
For Payment: We may use and disclose health information about you so that the treatment and services you receive from us may be billed to and payment collected from you, an insurance company, a state Medicaid agency or a third party. If you are using insurance or Medicaid to pay for your visit, we must give them information about the treatment you received or are going to receive so they can determine what your plan will pay for.
For Healthcare Operations: We may use and disclose health information about you for operations of our healthcare practice. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run our practice and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care.
We may use health information about you ( or any of our clients) to find ways to improve the care and service we provide.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment. Please let us know if you do not wish to have us contact you concerning your appointment.
Research. There may be situations where we want to use and disclose health information about you for research purposes For any research project that uses your health information, we will either obtain an authorization from you or ask an Institutional Review or Privacy Board to waive the requirement to obtain authorization from you. A waiver of authorization will be based upon assurances from a review board that the researchers will adequately protect your health information.
For example, a research project may involve comparing the efficacy of one medication over another.
As Required By Law. We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state, or local law.
If your records are subpoenaed by the courts. See law enforcement below.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose health 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.
Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces or are separated/discharged from military services, we may release health information about you as required by military command authorities or the Department of Veterans Affairs as may be applicable. We may also release health information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authorities.
Workers' Compensation. We may release health information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks. We may disclose health 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;
· 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;
· 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 health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure
Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose health information about you in response to an order issued by a court or administrative tribunal. We may also disclose health information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only after efforts have been made to tell you about the request and you have time to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
Law Enforcement. We may release health information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
· In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
· To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
· If you are the victim of a crime and we are unable to obtain your consent;
· About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
· In an instance of criminal conduct at our facility; 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.
Such releases of information will be made only after efforts have been made to tell you about the request and you have time to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
Coroners, Health Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release health information to a coroner or health examiner. We may also release health information about patients to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death
Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release health information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official.
This release would be necessary: (1) for the institution to provide you with healthcare; (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.
Your rights regading health information about you.
You have the right to inspect and copy health information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes health and billing records. This does not include psychotherapy notes.
To do so, you must submit your request in writing on a form provided by us to: “The Privacy Official at Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey”. We may charge a fee for the costs of locating, copying, mailing or other supplies and services associated with your request.
We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to health information, you may in certain instances request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed healthcare professional chosen by our practice will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your initial request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
If you feel that health information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you have the right to amend the information for as long as we keep the information. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing on a form provided by us and submitted to: “The Privacy Official at Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey.
We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not the form provided by us and 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 health information kept by or for our practice;
· Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
· Is accurate and complete.
Any amendment we make to your health information will be disclosed to those with whom we disclose information as previously specified.
You have the right to request a list (accounting) of any disclosures of your health information we have made, except for uses and disclosures for treatment, payment, and health care operations, as previously described. To request this list of disclosures, you must submit your request on a form that we will provide to you.
You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the health 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 health information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care. For example, you could ask that access to your health information be denied to a particular member of our workforce who is known to you personally.
While we will try to accommodate your request for restrictions, we are not required to do so if it is not feasible for us to ensure our compliance with law or we believe it will negatively impact the care we may provide you. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment. To request a restriction, you must make your request on a form that we will provide you. In your request, you must tell us what information you want to limit and to whom you want the limits to apply.
You have the right to request confidential communications about your health matters For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail to a post office box. During our intake process, we will ask you how you wish to receive communications about your health care or for any other instructions on notifying you about your health information. We will accommodate all reasonable requests.
Minors and persons with Guardians have all the rights outlined in this Notice with respect to health information relating to reproductive healthcare, except in emergency situations or when the law requires reporting of abuse and neglect. If you are a minor or a person with a guardian obtaining healthcare that is not related to reproductive health, your parent or legal guardian may have the right to access your medical record and make certain decisions regarding the uses and disclosures of your health information.
We reserve the right to change this Notice and the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for health 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 facility. The Notice contains the effective date on the first page. In addition, each time you register for treatment or healthcare services, we will offer you a copy of the current Notice in effect. You may request a copy of this Notice at any time.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with us, contact : “The Privacy Official at Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey.].” All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
OTHER USES OF HEALTH INFORMATION
Other uses and disclosures of health 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 health 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 health 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 the records of the care that we provided to you.