Health Information Protection
VERMILION COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Effective: 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.
This notice will tell you how we may use and disclose protected health information about you. Protected health information means any health information about you that identifies you or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify you. In this notice, we call all of that protected health information, “medical information.” This notice also will tell you about your rights and our duties with respect to medical information about you. In addition, it will tell you how to complain to us if you believe we have violated your privacy rights.
How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information About You.
We use and disclose medical information about you for a number of different purposes. Each of those purposes is described below.
We may use medical information about you to provide, coordinate or manage your health care and related services by both us and other health care providers. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, hospitals and other health facilities who become involved in your care. We may consult with other health care providers concerning you and as part of the consultation share your medical information with them. Similarly, we may refer you to another health care provider and as part of the referral share medical information about you with that provider. For example, we may conclude you need to receive services from a physician with a particular speciality. When we refer you to that physician, we also will contact that physician’s office and provide medical information about you to them so they have information they need to provide services for you.
We may use and disclose medical information about you so we can be paid for the services we provide to you. This can include billing you, Medicaid, Medicare, or a third party payer. For example, we may need to provide your insurance company or a government program, such as Medicare or Medicaid, with information about your medical condition and the health care you need to receive to determine if you are covered by that insurance or program.
For Health Care Operations.
We may use and disclose your medical information for our own health care operations. These are necessary for us to operate the Vermilion County Health Department and to maintain quality health care for our clients. For example, we may use medical information about you to review the services we provide and the performance of our employees in caring for you. We may disclose medical information about you to train our staff, volunteers and students working in the Vermilion County Health Department. We also may use the information to study ways to more efficiently manage our organization.
How We Will Contact You.
Unless you tell us otherwise in writing, we may contact you by either telephone or by mail at either your home or your workplace. We may leave messages for you on the answering machine or voice mail. If you want to request that we communicate to you in a certain way or at a certain location, see “Right to Receive Confidential Communications” on page 11 of this Notice.
We may use and disclose medical information about you to contact you to remind you of an appointment you have with us.
We may use and disclose medical information about you to contact you about treatment alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Health Related Benefits and Services.
We may use and disclose medical information about you to contact you about health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
We may use and disclose medical information about you to communicate with you about a product or service to encourage you to purchase the product or service. This may be:
- To describe a health-related product or service that is provided by us;
- For your treatment;
- For case management or care coordination for you;
- To direct or recommend alternative treatments, therapies, health care providers, or settings of care.
We may communicate to you about products and services in a face-to-face communication by us to you. We also may communicate about products or services in the form of a promotional gift of nominal value. All other use and disclosure of medical information about you by us to make a communication about a product or service to encourage the purchase or use of a product or service will be done only with your written authorization.
Individuals Involved in Your Care.
We may disclose to a family member, other relative, a close personal friend, or any other person identified by you, medical information about you that is directly relevant to that person’s involvement with your care or payment related to your care. We also may use or disclose medical information about you to notify, or assist in notifying, those persons of your location, general condition, or death. If there is a family member, other relative, or close personal friend that you do not want use to disclose medical information about you to, please notify the Privacy Officer or tell our staff member who is providing care to you.
We may use or disclose medical information about you to a public or private entity authorized by law or by its charter to assist in disaster relief efforts. This will be done to coordinate with those entities in notifying a family member, other relative, close personal friend, or other person identified by you of your location, general condition or death.
Required by Law.
We may use or disclose medical information about you when we are required to do so by law.
Public Health Activities.
We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities and purposes. We may use and disclose your medical information to prevent or control disease, injury or disability, to report births and deaths, to report reactions to medicines or medical devices or to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease. It also includes reporting for purposes of activities related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of a United States Food and Drug administration regulated product or activity.
Victims of Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence.
We may disclose medical information about you to a government authority authorized by law to receive reports of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, if we believe you are a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. This will occur to the extent the disclosure is: (a) required by law; (b) agreed to by you; or, (c) authorized by law and we believe the disclosure is necessary to prevent serious harm to you or to other potential victims, or, if you are incapacitated and certain other conditions are met, a law enforcement or other public official represents that immediate enforcement activity depends on the disclosure.
Health Oversight Activities.
We may disclose medical information about you to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, including audits, investigations, inspections, licensure or disciplinary actions. These and similar types of activities are necessary for appropriate oversight of the health care system, government benefit programs, and entities subject to various government regulations.
Judicial and Administrative Proceedings.
We may disclose medical information about you in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding in response to an order of the court or administrative tribunal. We also may disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other legal process but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information to be disclosed.
Disclosures for Law Enforcement Purposes.
We may disclose medical information about you to a law enforcement official for law enforcement purposes:
- As required by law.
- In response to a court, grand jury or administrative order, warrant or subpoena.
- To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person.
- About an actual or suspected victim of a crime and that person agrees to the disclosure. If we are unable to obtain that person’s agreement, in limited circumstances, the information may still be disclosed.
- To alert law enforcement officials to a death if we suspect the death may have resulted from criminal conduct.
- About crimes that occur at our facility.
- To report a crime in emergency circumstances.
Coroners and Medical Examiners.
We may disclose medical information about you to a coroner or medical examiner for purposes such as identifying a deceased person and determining cause of death.
We may disclose medical information about you to funeral directors as necessary for them to carry out their duties.
Organ, Eye or Tissue Donation.
To facilitate organ, eye or tissue donation and transplantation, we may disclose medical information about you to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs, eyes or tissue.
Under certain circumstances, we may use or disclose medical information about you for research. Before we disclose medical information for research, the research will have been approved through an approval process that evaluates the needs of the research project with your needs for privacy of your medical information. We may, however, disclose medical information about you to a person who is preparing to conduct research to permit them to prepare for the project, but no medical information will leave the Vermilion County Health Department during that person’s review of the information.
To Avert Serious Threat to Health or Safety.
We may use or disclose protected health information about you if we believe the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. We also may release information about you if we believe the disclosure is necessary for law enforcement authorities to identify or apprehend an individual who admitted participation in a violent crime or who is an escapee from a correctional institution or from lawful custody.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, we may use and disclose medical information about you for activities deemed necessary by the appropriate military command authorities to assure the proper execution of the military mission. We may also release information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign miliary authority for the same purposes.
National Security and Intelligence.
We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials for the conduct of intelligence, counter-intelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
Protective Services for the President.
We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they can provide protection to the President of the United States, certain other federal officials, or foreign heads of state.
Inmates; Persons in Custody.
We may disclose medical information about you to a correctional institution or law enforcement official having custody of you. The disclosure will be made if the disclosure is necessary: (a) to provide health care to you; (b) for the health and safety of others; or, (c) the safety, security and good order of the correctional institution.
We may disclose medical information about you to the extent necessary to comply with workers’ compensation and similar laws that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness without regard to fault.
Other Uses and Disclosures.
Other uses and disclosures will be made only with your written authorization. You may revoke such an authorization at any time by notifying the Vermilion County Health Department, Privacy Officer, 200 S College St., Suite A, Danville, Illinois, 61832 in writing of your desire to revoke it. However, if you revoke such an authorization, it will not have any affect on actions taken by us in reliance on it.
Illinois law also has certain requirements that govern the use or disclosure of your medical information. In order for the Vermilion County Health Department to release information about mental health treatment, genetic information, your AIDS/HIV status, and alcohol or drug abuse treatment, you will be required to sign an authorization form unless state law allows it without your authorization.
Your Rights With Respect to Medical Information About You.
You have the following rights with respect to medical information that we maintain about you.
Right to Request Restrictions.
You have the right to request that we restrict the uses or disclosures of medical information about you to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request that we restrict the uses or disclosures we make to: (a) a family member, other relative, a close personal friend or any other person identified by you; or, (b) for to public or private entities for disaster relief efforts. For example, you could ask that we not disclose medical information about you to your brother or sister.
To request a restriction, you may do so at any time. If you request a restriction , you should tell us: (a) what information you want to limit; (b) whether you want to limit use or disclosure or both; and, (c) to whom you want the limits to apply (for example, disclosures to your spouse).
We are not required to agree to any requested restriction. However, if we do agree, we will follow that restriction unless the information is needed to provide emergency treatment. Even if we agree to a restriction, either you or we can later terminate the restriction.
Right to Receive Confidential Communications.
You have the right to request that we communicate medical information about you to you in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you by mail or at work. We will not require you to tell us why you are asking for the confidential communication. If you want to request confidential communication, you must do so in writing. Your request must state how or where you can be contacted. We will accommodate your request. However, we may, when appropriate, require information from you concerning how payment will be handled. We also may require an alternate address or other method to contact you.
Right to Inspect and Copy.
With a few very limited exceptions, you have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of medical information about you.
To inspect or copy medical information about you, you must submit your request in writing to our Privacy Officer. Your request should state specifically what medical information you want to inspect or copy.
We will act on your request within thirty (30) calendar days after we receive your request. If we grant your request, in whole or in part, we will inform you of our acceptance of your request and provide access and copies.
If we deny your request, we will inform you of the basis for the denial, how you may have our denial reviewed, and how you may complain. If you request a review of our denial, it will conducted by a licensed health care professional designated by us who was not directly involved in the denial. We will comply with the outcome of that review.
Right to Amend.
You have the right to ask us to amend medical information about you. You have this right for so long as the medical information is maintained by us. To request an amendment, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. Your request must state the amendment desired and provide a reason in support of that amendment. We will act on your request within sixty (60) calendar days after we receive your request. We may deny your request to amend your medical information. You also will have the right to complain about our denial of your request.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures.
You have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of medical information about you. The accounting may be for up to six (6) years prior to the date on which you request the accounting but not before April 14, 2003.
Certain types of disclosures are not included in such an accounting:
Disclosures to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations;b. Disclosures of your medical information made to you;c. Disclosures that are incident to another use or disclosure;d. Disclosures that you have authorized; e. Disclosures for our facility directory or to persons involved in your care;f. Disclosures for disaster relief purposes; g. Disclosures for national security or intelligence purposes;h. Disclosures to correctional institutions or law enforcement officials having custody of you;i. Disclosures that are part of a limited data set for purposes of research, public health, or health care operations (a limited data set is where things that would directly identify you have been removed.j. Disclosures made prior to April 14, 2003.
Under certain circumstances your right to an accounting of disclosures to a law enforcement official or a health oversight agency may be suspended. Should you request an accounting during the period of time you right is suspended, the accounting would not include the disclosure or disclosures to a law enforcement official or to a health oversight agency.
To request an accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer, 200 S. College Street, Suite A, Danville, Illinois 61832. Your request must state a time period for the disclosures. It may not be longer than six (6) years from the date we receive your request and my not include dates before April 14, 2003. Usually, we will act on your request within sixty (60) calendar days after we receive your request. There is no charge for the first accounting we provide to you in any twelve (12) month period. For additional accountings, we may charge you for the cost of providing the list. If there will be a charge, we will notify you of the cost involved and give you an opportunity to withdraw or modify your request to avoid or reduce the fee.
Right to a Copy of this Notice.
You have the right to obtain a paper copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices. You may obtain a paper copy even though you agreed to receive the notice electronically. You may request a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices at any time.You may obtain a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices over the Internet at this site. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact Vermilion County Health Department, Privacy Officer, 200 S. College Street, Suite A, Danville, Illinois 61832..
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of medical information about you and to provide individuals with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information. We are required to abide by the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices in effect at the time.
Our Right to Change Notice of Privacy Practices.
We reserve the right to change this Notice of Privacy Practices. We reserve the right to make the new notice’s provisions effective for all medical information that we maintain, including that created or received by us prior to the effective date of the new notice.
Availability of Notice of Privacy Practices.
A copy of our current Notice of Privacy Practices will be posted in each reception area. A copy of the current notice also will be posted on our web site, www.vchd.org. At any time, you may obtain a copy of the current Notice of Privacy Practices by contacting the Privacy Officer, 200 S College Street, Suite A, Danville, Illinois 61832..
Effective Date of Notice.
The effective date of the notice will be stated on the first page of the notice.
You may complain to us and to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated by us. To file a complaint with us, contact our Privacy Officer, 200 S College Street, Suite A, Danville, Illinois 61832. All complaints should be submitted in writing. To file a complaint with the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, send your complaint to them in care of: Region V, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 233 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 240, Chicago, Illinois 60601. You will not be retaliated against for filing a complaint.
Questions and Information.
If you have any questions or want more information concerning this Notice of Privacy Practices, please contact the Privacy Officer, 200 South College Street, Suite A, Danville, Illinois 61832.