Neighborhood Health Center respects your privacy. We understand that your personal health information is very sensitive. We will not disclose your information to others unless you tell us to do so, or unless the law authorizes or requires us to do so. All agents of NHC are responsible to abide by the terms and conditions of this notice, maintain the privacy of your personal health information and provide you with notice of NHC’s legal obligations and privacy practices. This notice applies to the information and records we have about you, your health, health status, and the health care and services you receive at all Neighborhood Health Center primary care clinics, dental clinics, School Based Health Centers, and pharmacies. Your health information may include information created and received by Neighborhood Health Center, may be in the form of written or electronic records or spoken words, and may include information about your health history, health status, symptoms, examinations, test results, diagnoses, treatments, procedures, prescriptions, related billing activity and similar types of health‐related information.
We are required by law to give you this notice. It will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose health information about you and describes your rights and our obligations regarding the use and disclosure of that information.
How We May Use and Disclose Health Information About You
We may use and disclose health information for the follow purposes:
For Treatment. We may use health information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose health information about you to doctors, dentists, behaviorists, nurses, technicians, pharmacists, staff, or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you and your health.
For example, your doctor may be treating you for a heart condition and may need to know if you have other health problems that could complicate your treatment. The doctor may use your medical history to decide what treatment is best for you. The doctor may also tell another doctor about your condition so that doctor can help determine the most appropriate care for you.
Different personnel in our organization may share information about you and disclose information to people who do not work for Neighborhood Health Center in order to coordinate your care, such as phoning in prescriptions to your pharmacy, scheduling lab work and ordering x‐rays. Family members and other health care providers may be part of your medical care outside this office and may require information about you that we have. We will request your permission before sharing health information with your family or friends unless you are unable to give permission to such disclosures due to your health condition.
For Payment. We may use and disclose health information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at Neighborhood Health Center may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party.
For example, we may need to give your health plan information about a service you received here so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the service. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will pay for the treatment.
For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose health information about you in order to run Neighborhood Health Center and make sure that you and our other patients receive quality care. For example, we may use your health information to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also use health information about all or many of our patients to help us decide what additional services we should offer, how we can become more efficient, or whether certain new treatments are effective.
We may also disclose your health information to health plans that provide you insurance coverage and other health care providers that care for you. Our disclosures of your health information to plans and other providers may be for the purpose of helping these plans and providers provide or improve care, reduce cost, coordinate, and manage health care and services, train staff and comply with the law.
Fund Raising. We may contact you to ask for your help with different campaigns.
Please notify us if you do not wish to be contacted during fund raising campaigns. If you advise us in writing (at the address listed at the top of this Notice) that you do not wish to receive such communications, we will not use or disclose your information for these purposes.
We may use or disclose health information about you for the following purposes, subject to all applicable legal requirements and limitations:
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.
Required by Law. We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state, or local law.
Research. We may use and disclose health information about you for research projects that are subject to a special approval process. We will ask you for your 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 at the office.
Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ donor, we may release health information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate such donation and transplantation.
Military, Veterans, National Security and Intelligence. If you are or were a member of the armed forces, or part of the national security or intelligence communities, we may be required by military command or other government authorities to release health information about you. We may also release information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority. 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 reasons in order to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; or report births, deaths, suspected abuse or neglect, non‐accidental physical injuries, reactions to medications or problems with products. Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for audits, investigations, inspections, or licensing purposes. These disclosures may be necessary for certain state and federal agencies to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order. Subject to all applicable legal requirements, we may also disclose health information about you in response to a subpoena.
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, subject to all applicable legal requirements.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release health information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death.
Information Not Personally Identifiable. We may use or disclose health information about you in a way that does not personally identify you or reveal who you are.
Family and Friends. We may disclose health information about you to your family members or friends if we obtain your verbal agreement to do so or if we give you an opportunity to object to such a disclosure and you do not raise an objection. We may also disclose health information to your family or friends if we can infer from the circumstances, based on our professional judgment that you would not object. For example, we may assume you agree to our disclosure of your personal health information to your spouse when you bring your spouse with you into the exam room or the hospital during treatment or while treatment is discussed.
In situations where you are not capable of giving consent (because you are not present or due to your incapacity or medical emergency), we may, using our professional judgment, determine that a disclosure to your family member or friend is in your best interest. In that situation, we will disclose only health information relevant to the person’s involvement in your care. For example, we may inform the person who accompanied you to the emergency room that you suffered a heart attack and provide updates on your progress and prognosis. We may also use our professional judgment and experience to make reasonable inferences that it is in your best interest to allow another person to act on your behalf to pick up, for example, filled prescriptions, medical supplies, or X‐rays.
Other Uses and Disclosures of Health Information
We will not use or disclose your health information for any purpose other than those identified in the previous sections without your specific, written authorization. If you give us authorization to use or disclose health information about you, you may revoke that authorization, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization, but we cannot take back any uses or disclosures already made with your permission.
In some instances, we may need specific, written authorization from you in order to disclose certain types of specially protected information such as substance abuse information for purposes such as treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.
No notice is required to be given to inmates who may receive treatment at a Neighborhood Health Center facility.
In the case of patients who are minors, notice will be given to both the patient and the minor’s parent or guardian.
Organized Health Care Arrangements Terms
Neighborhood Health Center is part of an organized health care arrangement including participants in OCHIN. A current list of OCHIN participants is available at www.ochin.org as a business associate of Neighborhood Health Center, OCHIN supplies information technology and related services to Neighborhood Health Center and other OCHIN participants. OCHIN also engages in quality assessment and improvement activities on behalf of its participants. For example, OCHIN coordinates clinical review activities on behalf of participating organizations to establish best practice standards and assess clinical benefits that may be derived from the use of electronic health record systems. OCHIN also helps participants work collaboratively to improve the management of internal and external patient referrals. Your personal health information may be shared by Neighborhood Health Center with other OCHIN participants or a health information exchange only when necessary for medical treatment or for the health care operations purposes of the organized health care arrangement. Health care operation can include, among other things, geocoding your residence location to improve the clinical benefits you receive.
The personal health information may include past, present, and future medical information as well as information outlined in the Privacy Rules. The information, to the extent disclosed, will be disclosed consistent with the Privacy Rules or any other applicable law as amended from time to time. You have the right to change your mind and withdraw this consent, however, the information may have already been provided as allowed by you. This consent will remain in effect until revoked by you in writing. If requested, you will be provided a list of entities to which your information has been disclosed.
Your Rights Regarding Health Information About You
You have the following rights regarding health information we maintain about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, such as medical and billing records, that we keep and use to make decisions about your care. You must submit a written request to Risk and Compliance in order to inspect and/or copy records of your health information. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other associated supplies. 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. A modified request may include requesting a summary of your medical record.
If you request to view a copy of your health information, we will not charge you for inspecting your health information. If you wish to inspect your health information, please submit your request in writing to Risk and Compliance.
You have the right to request a copy of your health information in electronic form if we store your health information electronically.
We may deny your request to inspect and/or copy your record or parts of your record in certain limited circumstances. If you are denied copies of or access to, health information that we keep about you, you may ask that our denial be reviewed. If the law gives you a right to have our denial reviewed, we will select a licensed health care professional to review your request and our denial.
The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request, and we will comply with the outcome of the review.
Right to Amend. If you believe health 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 as long as the information is kept by your provider.
To request an amendment, request and complete a Medical Record Amendment/Correction Form from Risk and Compliance.
We may deny your request for an amendment if your request is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny or partially deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
- We did not create, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment;
- Is not part of the health information that we keep;
- You would not be permitted to inspect and copy;
- Is accurate and complete.
If we deny or partially deny your request for amendment, you have the right to submit a rebuttal and request the rebuttal be made a part of your medical record. Your rebuttal needs to be 2 pages in length or less and we have the right to file a rebuttal responding to yours in your medical record. You also have the right to request that all documents associated with the amendment request (including rebuttal) be transmitted to any other party any time that portion of the medical record is disclosed.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an accounting of disclosures. This is a list of the disclosures we made of medical information about you for purposes other than treatment, payment, health care operations, when specifically authorized by you and a limited number of special circumstances involving national security, correctional institutions and law enforcement.
To obtain this list, you must submit your request in writing to Billing Clerk. It must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically). The first list you request within a 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 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 it, 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 emergency treatment or we are required by law to use or disclose the information.
- We are required to agree to your request if you pay for treatment, services, supplies and prescriptions “out of pocket” and you request the information not be communicated to your health plan for payment or health care operations purposes. There may be instances where we are required to release this information if required by law.
To request restrictions, you may complete and submit the request in writing to our Administration office, attention to Risk and Compliance.
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.
To request confidential communications, you may submit a letter stating the request to our Administration office, attention Risk and Compliance. 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 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 it electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy. You may also find a copy of this Notice on our web site.
To obtain such a copy, contact Administration.
Changes to This Notice
We reserve the right to change this notice, and 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 inform you of any significant changes to this Notice. This may be through our newsletter, a sign prominently posted at our location(s), a notice posted on our web site or other means of communication.
Breach of Health Information
We will inform you if there is a breach of your unsecured health information.
Questions, Concerns, or Complaints
If you have questions about this policy or believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may contact our offices by telephone, e-mail, or by letter. You may also choose to file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be penalized for filing a compliant.