Notice of Privacy Practices
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.
Handi Medical Supply is committed to protecting your privacy. Therefore, Handi Medical Supply has developed policies and procedures to ensure that the information you provide to us – individually identifiable health information, including protected health information (“PHI”) is collected and maintained in a confidential manner, as required by law.
Handi Medical Supply is providing this Notice as required by the Privacy Regulations promulgated pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH”).
What is Protected Health Information:
“Protected Health Information” (“PHI”) is medical information about you, including:
- Demographic information
- An Individuals past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition
- Related health services
- Common Identifiers (name, address, birth date, Social Security Number)
We are required by law to protect the privacy of your PHI, to provide you with this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your PHI, to notify you following a breach of unsecured PHI, and to abide by the terms of this Notice as currently in effect. We reserve the right to revise, amend, interpret and administer our privacy practices and this Notice.
Permitted Uses and Disclosures:
A covered entity may use and disclose protected health information for its own treatment, payment, and health care operations activities. A covered entity also may disclose protected health information for the treatment activities of any health care provider, the payment activities of another covered entity and of any health care provider, or the health care operations of another covered entity involving either quality or competency assurance activities or fraud and abuse detection and compliance activities, if both covered entities have or had a relationship with the individual and the protected health information pertains to the relationship.
- Treatment is the provision, coordination, or management of health care and related services for an individual by one or more health care providers, including consultation between providers regarding a patient and referral of a patient by one provider to another.
- Payment encompasses activities of a health plan to obtain premiums, determine or fulfill responsibilities for coverage and provision of benefits, and furnish or obtain reimbursement for health care delivered to an individual and activities of a health care provider to obtain payment or be reimbursed for the provision of health care to an individual.
- Health care operations are any of the following activities: (a) quality assessment and improvement activities, including case management and care coordination; (b) competency assurance activities, including provider or health plan performance evaluation, credentialing, and accreditation; (c) conducting or arranging for medical reviews, audits, or legal services, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs; (d) specified insurance functions, such as underwriting, risk rating, and reinsuring risk; (e) business planning, development, management, and administration; and (f) business management and general administrative activities of the entity, including but not limited to: de-identifying protected health information, creating a limited data set, and certain fundraising for the benefit of the covered entity.
Public Interest and Benefit Activities:
The Privacy Rule permits use and disclosure of protected health information, without an individual’s authorization or permission, for 12 national priority purposes. These disclosures are permitted, although not required, by the Rule in recognition of the important uses made of health information outside of the health care context. Specific conditions or limitations apply to each public interest purpose, striking the balance between the individual privacy interest and the public interest need for this information.
- Required by Law. Covered entities may use and disclose protected health information without individual authorization as required by law (including by statute, regulation, or court orders).
- Public Health Activities. Covered entities may disclose protected health information to: (1) public health authorities authorized by law to collect or receive such information for preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability and to public health or other government authorities authorized to receive reports of child abuse and neglect; (2) entities subject to FDA regulation regarding FDA regulated products or activities for purposes such as adverse event reporting, tracking of products, product recalls, and post marketing surveillance; (3) individuals who may have contracted or been exposed to a communicable disease when notification is authorized by law; and (4) employers, regarding employees, when requested by employers, for information concerning a work-related illness or injury or workplace related medical surveillance, because such information is needed by the employer to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA), or similar state law.
- Victims of Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence. In certain circumstances, covered entities may disclose protected health information to appropriate government authorities regarding victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
- Health Oversight Activities. Covered entities may disclose protected health information to health oversight agencies (as defined in the Rule) for purposes of legally authorized health oversight activities, such as audits and investigations necessary for oversight of the health care system and government benefit programs.
- Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. Covered entities may disclose protected health information in a judicial or administrative proceeding if the request for the information is through an order from a court or administrative tribunal. Such information may also be disclosed in response to a subpoena or other lawful process if certain assurances regarding notice to the individual or a protective order are provided.
- Law Enforcement Purposes. Covered entities may disclose protected health information to law enforcement officials for law enforcement purposes under the following six circumstances, and subject to specified conditions: (1) as required by law (including court orders, court-ordered warrants, subpoenas) and administrative requests; (2) to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; (3) in response to a law enforcement official’s request for information about a victim or suspected victim of a crime; (4) to alert law enforcement of a person’s death, if the covered entity suspects that criminal activity caused the death; (5) when a covered entity believes that protected health information is evidence of a crime that occurred on its premises; and (6) by a covered health care provider in a medical emergency not occurring on its premises, when necessary to inform law enforcement about the commission and nature of a crime, the location of the crime or crime victims, and the perpetrator of the crime.
- Research. “Research” is any systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. The Privacy Rule permits a covered entity to use and disclose protected health information for research purposes, without an individual’s authorization, provided the covered entity obtains either: (1) documentation that an alteration or waiver of individuals’ authorization for the use or disclosure of protected health information about them for research purposes has been approved by an Institutional Review Board or Privacy Board; (2) representations from the researcher that the use or disclosure of the protected health information is solely to prepare a research protocol or for similar purpose preparatory to research, that the researcher will not remove any protected health information from the covered entity, and that protected health information for which access is sought is necessary for the research; or (3) representations from the researcher that the use or disclosure sought is solely for research on the protected health information of decedents, that the protected health information sought is necessary for the research, and, at the request of the covered entity, documentation of the death of the individuals about whom information is sought. A covered entity also may use or disclose, without an individuals’ authorization, a limited data set of protected health information for research purposes.
- Serious Threat to Health or Safety. Covered entities may disclose protected health information that they believe is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person or the public, when such disclosure is made to someone they believe can prevent or lessen the threat (including the target of the threat). Covered entities may also disclose to law enforcement if the information is needed to identify or apprehend an escapee or violent criminal.
- Essential Government Functions. An authorization is not required to use or disclose protected health information for certain essential government functions. Such functions include assuring proper execution of a military mission, conducting intelligence and national security activities that are authorized by law, providing protective services to the President, making medical suitability determinations for U.S. State Department employees, protecting the health and safety of inmates or employees in a correctional institution, and determining eligibility for or conducting enrollment in certain government benefit programs.
- Workers’ Compensation. Covered entities may disclose protected health information as authorized by, and to comply with, workers’ compensation laws and other similar programs providing benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.
- Decedents. Covered entities may disclose protected health information to funeral directors as needed, and to coroners or medical examiners to identify a deceased person, determine the cause of death, and perform other functions authorized by law.
- Cadaveric Organ, Eye, or Tissue Donation. Covered entities may use or disclose protected health information to facilitate the donation and transplantation of cadaveric organs, eyes, and tissue.
Authorized Uses and Disclosures
A covered entity must obtain the individual’s written authorization for any use or disclosure of protected health information that is not for treatment, payment or health care operations or otherwise permitted or required by the Privacy Rule. All authorizations must be in plain language and contain specific information regarding the information to be disclosed or used, the person(s) disclosing and receiving the information, expiration, right to revoke in writing, and other data. The Privacy Rule contains transition provisions applicable to authorizations and other express legal permissions obtained prior to April 14, 2003.
- Psychotherapy Notes. A covered entity must obtain an individual’s authorization to use or disclose psychotherapy notes with the following exceptions:
- The covered entity who originated the notes may use them for treatment.
- A covered entity may use or disclose, without an individual’s authorization, the psychotherapy notes, for its own training, and to defend itself in legal proceedings brought by the individual, for HHS to investigate or determine the covered entity’s compliance with the Privacy Rules, to avert a serious and imminent threat to public health or safety, to a health oversight agency for lawful oversight of the originator of the psychotherapy notes, for the lawful activities of a coroner or medical examiner or as required by law.
- Marketing. Marketing is any communication about a product or service that encourages recipients to purchase or use the product or service. The Privacy Rule carves out the following health-related activities from this definition of marketing:
- Communications to describe health-related products or services, or payment for them, provided by or included in a benefit plan of the covered entity making the communication;
- about participating providers in a provider or health plan network, replacement of or enhancements to a health plan, and health-related products or services available only to a health plan’s enrollees that add value to, but are not part of, the benefits plan;
- Communications for treatment of the individual; and
- Communications for case management or care coordination for the individual, or to direct or recommend alternative treatments, therapies, health care providers, or care settings to the individual.
Limiting Uses and Disclosures:
Minimum Necessary. A central aspect of the Privacy Rule is the principle of “minimum necessary” use and disclosure. A covered entity must make reasonable efforts to use, disclose, and request only the minimum amount of protected health information needed to accomplish the intended purpose of the use, disclosure, or request.50 A covered entity must develop and implement policies and procedures to reasonably limit uses and disclosures to the minimum necessary. When the minimum necessary standard applies to a use or disclosure, a covered entity may not use, disclose, or request the entire medical record for a particular purpose, unless it can specifically justify the whole record as the amount reasonably needed for the purpose.
The minimum necessary requirement is not imposed in any of the following circumstances: (a) disclosure to or a request by a health care provider for treatment; (b) disclosure to an individual who is the subject of the information, or the individual’s personal representative; (c) use or disclosure made pursuant to an authorization; (d) disclosure to HHS for complaint investigation, compliance review or enforcement; (e) use or disclosure that is required by law; or (f) use or disclosure required for compliance with the HIPAA Transactions Rule or other HIPAA Administrative Simplification Rules.
Access. Except in certain circumstances, individuals have the right to review and obtain a copy of their protected health information in a covered entity’s designated record set. The “designated record set” is that group of records maintained by or for a covered entity that is used, in whole or part, to make decisions about individuals, or that is a provider’s medical and billing records about individuals or a health plan’s enrollment, payment, claims adjudication, and case or medical management record systems. The Rule excepts from the right of access the following protected health information: psychotherapy notes, information compiled for legal proceedings, laboratory results to which the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) prohibits access, or information held by certain research laboratories. For information included within the right of access, covered entities may deny an individual access in certain specified situations, such as when a health care professional believes access could cause harm to the individual or another. In such situations, the individual must be given the right to have such denials reviewed by a licensed health care professional for a second opinion. Covered entities may impose reasonable, cost-based fees for the cost of copying and postage.
Amendment. The Rule gives individuals the right to have covered entities amend their protected health information in a designated record set when that information is inaccurate or incomplete. If a covered entity accepts an amendment request, it must make reasonable efforts to provide the amendment to persons that the individual has identified as needing it, and to persons that the covered entity knows might rely on the information to the individual’s detriment. If the request is denied, covered entities must provide the individual with a written denial and allow the individual to submit a statement of disagreement for inclusion in the record. The Rule specifies processes for requesting and responding to a request for amendment. A covered entity must amend protected health information in its designated record set upon receipt of notice to amend from another covered entity.
Disclosure Accounting. Individuals have a right to an accounting of the disclosures of their protected health information by a covered entity or the covered entity’s business associates. The maximum disclosure accounting period is the six years immediately preceding the accounting request, except a covered entity is not obligated to account for any disclosure made before its Privacy Rule compliance date. The Privacy Rule does not require accounting for disclosures: (a) for treatment, payment, or health care operations; (b) to the individual or the individual’s personal representative; (c) for notification of or to persons involved in an individual’s health care or payment for health care, for disaster relief, or for facility directories; (d) pursuant to an authorization; (e) of a limited data set; (f) for national security or intelligence purposes; (g) to correctional institutions or law enforcement officials for certain purposes regarding inmates or individuals in lawful custody; or (h) incident to otherwise permitted or required uses or disclosures. Accounting for disclosures to health oversight agencies and law enforcement officials must be temporarily suspended on their written representation that an accounting would likely impede their activities.
Restriction Request. Individuals have the right to request that a covered entity restrict use or disclosure of protected health information for treatment, payment or health care operations, disclosure to persons involved in the individual’s health care or payment for health care, or disclosure to notify family members or others about the individual’s general condition, location, or death. A covered entity is under no obligation to agree to requests for restrictions. A covered entity that does agree must comply with the agreed restrictions, except for purposes of treating the individual in a medical emergency.
Confidential Communications Requirements. Health plans and covered health care providers must permit individuals to request an alternative means or location for receiving communications of protected health information by means other than those that the covered entity typically employs. For example, an individual may request that the provider communicate with the individual through a designated address or phone number. Similarly, an individual may request that the provider send communications in a closed envelope rather than a post card.
Changes to Notice:
Handi Medical Supply reserves the right to change this Notice. Handi Medical reserves the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for PHI we already have about you as well as any PHI we receive in the future. Handi Medical will post a copy of the current Notice on our Web site. 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 Handi Medical Supply or with the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with Handi Medical Supply, direct your correspondence to the Compliance Officer, 2505 University Ave W, St. Paul MN 55114 or email email@example.com. Please submit all complaints in writing.