Caring Hearts Hospice
Caring Hearts Hospice

Privacy Policy

 

 

HIPAA NOTIFICATION 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 IT CAREFULLY.

 

USE AND DISCLOSURE OF HEALTH INFORMATION The Agency may use your health information, information that constitutes protected health information as defined in the Privacy Rule of the Administrative Simplification provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, for purposes of providing you treatment, obtaining payment for your care and conducting health care operations. The Agency has established policies to guard against unnecessary disclosure of your health information.

 

THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED:

 

To Provide Treatment The Agency may use your health information to coordinate care within the Agency and with others involved in your care, such as your attending physician and other health care professionals who have agreed to assist the Agency in coordinating care. For example, physicians involved in your care will need information about your symptoms in order to prescribe appropriate medications. The Agency also may disclose your health care information to individuals outside of the Agency involved in your care including family members, pharmacists, suppliers of medical equipment or other health care professionals.

 

To Obtain Payment                The Agency may include your health information in invoices to collect payment from third parties for the care you receive from that Agency. For example, the Agency may be required by your health insurer to provide information regarding your health care status so that the insurer will reimburse you or the Agency. The Agency may also need to obtain prior approval from your insurer and may need to explain to the insurer your need for home care and the services that will be provided to you.

 

To Conduct Health Care Operations   The Agency may use and disclose health information for its own operations in order to facilitate the function of the Agency and as necessary to provide quality care to all of the Agency's patients. Health care operations include such activities as:

  • Quality assessment and improvement activities
  • Activities designed to improve health or reduce health care costs
  • Protocol development, case management and care coordination
  • Contacting health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives and other related functions that do not include treatment
  • Professional review and performance evaluation
  • Training programs including those in which students, trainees or practitioners in health care learn under supervision
  • Training on non-health care professionals
  • Accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities
  • Review and auditing, including compliance reviewed, medical reviews, legal services and compliance programs
  • Business planning and development including cost management and planning related analyses and formulary development
  • Business management and general administrative activities of the Agency
  • Fund-raising for the benefit of the Agency

For example, the Agency may use your health information to evaluate its staff performance, combine your health information with other Agency patients in evaluating how to more effectively serve all Agency patients, disclose your health information to Agency staff and contracted personnel for training purposes, use your health information to contact you as a reminder regarding a visit to you, or contact you as part of general fund-raising and community information mailings (unless you tell the agency you do not want to be contacted).

 

For Fundraising Activities                  The Agency may use information about you including your name, address, phone number and the dates you received care in order to contact you to raise money for the agency. The agency may also release this information to a related agency foundation. If you do not want the agency to contact you, notify the Privacy Officer and indicate that you do not wish to be contacted.

 

For Appointment Reminders  The Agency may use and disclose your health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for a home visit.

 

For Treatment Alternatives   The Agency may use and disclose your health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.

 

THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION MAY ALSO BE USED AND DISCLOSED (check your State laws to ensure consistency with State law requirements).

 

When Legally Required          The Agency will disclose your health information when it is required to do so by any Federal, State or local law.

 

When There are Risks to Public Health                     The Agency may disclose your health information for public activities and purposes in order to:

  • Prevent or control disease, injury or disability, report disease, injury, vital events such as birth or death and the conduct of public health surveillance, investigations and interventions.
  • Report adverse events, product defects, to track products or enable product recalls, repairs and replacements and to conduct post-marketing surveillance and compliance with requirements of the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Notify a person who has been exposed to a communicable disease or who may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease.
  • Notify an employer about an individual who is a member of the workforce as legally required.

 

To Report Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence      The Agency is allowed to notify government authorities if the Agency believes a patient is the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. The Agency will make this disclosure only when specifically required or authorized by law or when the patient agrees to the disclosure.

 

To Conduct Health Oversight Activities                     The Agency may disclose your health information to a health override agency for activities including audits, civil administration or criminal investigations, inspections, licensure or disciplinary action. The Agency, however, may not disclose your health information if you are the subject of an investigation is not directly related to your receipt of health care or public benefits.

 

In Connection with Judicial and Administrative Proceedings            The Agency may disclose your health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding in response to an Order of a Court of administrative tribunal as expressly authorized by such Order or in response to a Subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process, but only when the Agency makes reasonable efforts to either notify you about the request or to obtain an Order protecting your health information.

 

For Law Enforcement Purposes         As permitted or required by State law, the Agency may disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for certain law enforcement purposes as follows:

  • As required by law for reporting of certain types of wounds or other physical injuries pursuant to the court order, warrant, subpoena, or summons or similar process.
  • For the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person. Under certain limited circumstances, when you are the victim of a crime.
  • To the law enforcement official if the Agency has a suspicion that your death was the result of criminal conduct, including criminal conduct at the Agency.
  • In an emergency in order to report a crime.

 

To Coroners and Medical Examiners The Agency may disclose your health information to coroners and medical examiners for the purposes of determining your cause of death or for other duties, as authorized by law.

 

To Funeral Directors   The Agency may disclose your health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law and, if necessary, to carry out their duties with respect to your funeral arrangements. If necessary to carry out their duties, the Agency may disclose your health information prior to and in reasonable anticipation of your death.

 

For Organ, Eye or Tissue Donation    The Agency may use or disclose your health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs, eyes or tissue for the purpose of facilitating the donation and transplantation.

 

For Research Purposes           The Agency may, under very select circumstances, use your health information for research. Before the Agency discloses any of your health information for such research purposes, the project will be subject to an extensive approval process. If the Agency intends to routinely conduct research. It is important to carefully review the authorization requirements for research exceptions and revise the notice provisions as needed.

 

In the Event of a Serious Threat to Health or Safety            The Agency may, consistent with applicable law and ethical standards of conduct, disclose your health information if the Agency, in good faith, believes that such disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your health or safety or to the health and safety of the public.

 

For Specified Government Functions In certain circumstances, the Federal regulations authorize the Agency to use or disclose your health information to facilitate specified government functions relating to military and veterans, national security and intelligence activities, protective service for the President and others, medical suitability determinations and inmates and law enforcement custody.

 

For Worker's Compensation  The Agency may release your health information for worker's compensation or similar programs.

 

AUTHORIZATION TO USE OR DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION

Other than is stated above, the Agency will not disclose your health information other than with your written authorization. If you or your representative authorizes the Agency to use or disclose your health information, you may revoke that authorization in writing at any time.

 

YOUR RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION

You have the following rights regarding your health information that the Agency maintains:

  • Right to request restrictions. You may request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information to someone who is involved in your care or the payment of your care. However, the Agency is not required to agree to your request. If you wish to make a request for restrictions, please contact the Privacy Officer.
  • Right to receive confidential communications. You have the right to request that the Agency communicate with you in a certain way. For example, you may ask that the Agency only conduct communications pertaining to your health information with you privately with no other family members present. If you wish to receive confidential communications, please contact the Privacy Officer. The Agency will not request that you provide any reasons for your request and will attempt to honor your reasonable requests for confidential communications.
  • Right to inspect and copy your health information. You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, including billing records. A request to inspect and copy records containing your health INFORMATION may be made to the Privacy Officer. If you request a copy of your health information, the Agency may charge a reasonable fee for copying and assembling costs associated with your request.
  • Right to amend health care information. You or your representative has the right to request that the Agency amend your records, if you believe that your health information is incorrect or incomplete. That request may be made as long as the INFORMATION is maintained by the Agency. A request for an amendment of records must be made in writing to the Privacy Officer. The Agency may deny the request if it is not in writing or does not include a reason for the amendment. The request also may be denied if your health information records were not created by the Agency, if the records you are requesting are not part of the Agency's records, if the health information you wish to amend is not part of the health information you or your representatives have permitted to the Agency to copy, or if, in the opinion of the Agency, the records containing your HEALTH information are accurate and complete.
  • Right to an accounting. You or your representative have the right to request an accounting of disclosures of your health information made by the Agency for certain reasons, including reasons related to public purposes authorized by law and certain research. The request for an accounting must be made in writing. Accounting requests may not be made for periods of time in excess of six (6) years. The request should specify the time period for the accounting starting on or after the first day of start of care. The Agency would provide the first accounting you request during any 12-month period without charge. Subsequent accounting requests may be subject to a reasonable cost based fee.
  • Right to a paper copy of this notice. You or your representative has a right to a separate paper copy of this Notice at any time even if you or your representative has received this Notice previously. To obtain a separate paper copy, please contact the Privacy Officer.

 

DUTIES OF THE AGENCY

The Agency is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide to you and your representative this Notice of its duties and privacy practices. The Agency is required to abide by the terms of this Notice of its duties and privacy practices. The Agency is required to abide by the terms of this Notice as may be amended from time to time. The Agency reserves the right to change the terms of its Notice and to make the new Notice provisions effective for all health information that it maintains. If the Agency changes its Notice, the Agency will provide a copy of the revised Notice to you or your appointed representative. You or your personal representative has the right to express complaints to the Agency and to the Secretary of DHHS if you or your representative believes that your privacy rights have been violated. Any complaints to the Agency should be made in writing to the Privacy Officer. The Agency encourages you to express any concerns you may have regarding the privacy of your information. You will not be retaliated against in any way for filing a complaint.

 

CONTACT PERSON

The Agency has designated the Privacy Officer as its contact person for all issues regarding patient privacy and your rights under the Federal privacy standards. You may contact this person at Caring Hearts Hospice, (903) 887-4788, Fax (903) 887-7288.

 

TEXAS LAWS REGARDING PRIVACY

MARKETING The Organization may not disclose PHI for any marketing communication without the patient's written authorization, unless the communication is:

  1. In the form of a face-to-face communication made to the patient.
  2. In the form of a promotional gift of nominal value provided by the Organization.
  3. Necessary for the administration of a patient assistance program or other prescription drug savings or discount program.
  4. Made at the oral request of the patient. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 181.152(a).

If the Organization uses or discloses PHI to send a written marketing communication through the mail, the communication must:

  1. be sent in an envelope showing only the names and addresses of sender and recipient;
  2. include the Organization's name and toll-free telephone number; and
  3. explain the recipient's right to have the recipient's name removed from the Organization's mailing list. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 181.152(b).

Sale of PHI The Organization may not disclose an individual's PHI to any other person in exchange for direct or indirect remuneration, except that the Organization may disclose an individual's PHI:

  1. To another covered entity for purposes of:
    1. treatment;
    2. payment;
    3. health care operations; or
    4. performing an insurance or health maintenance organization function described in Tex. Insurance Code § 602.053.
  2. As otherwise authorized or required by state or federal law. Tex. Health & Safety Code  § 181.153(a).

Under Texas law (and for purposes of this policy), the term "covered entity" is broader than the definition of "covered entity" under HIPAA, and includes any entity that engages in assembling, collecting, analyzing, using, evaluating, storing, or transmitting PHI as well as any entity that comes into possession of or obtains or stores PHI (including business associates). Tex. Health & Safety Code § 181.001(b)(2).

Electronic Disclosures of PHI The Organization may not electronically disclose an individual's PHI to any person without a separate authorization from the individual or the individual's legally authorized representative for each disclosure. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 181.154(b). An authorization for disclosure may be made in written or electronic form or in oral form if it is documented in writing by the Organization. An authorization for electronic disclosure is not required if the electronic disclosure is:

  1. Made to another covered entity for the purpose of:
    1. treatment;
    2. payment;
    3. health care operations; or
    4. performing an insurance or health maintenance organization function described by Tex. Insurance Code § 602.053.
  2. Otherwise authorized or required by state or federal law. Tex. Health & Safety Code       § 181.154(c).

Under Texas law (and for purposes of this policy), the term "covered entity" is broader than the definition of "covered entity" under HIPAA, and includes any entity that engages in assembling, collecting, analyzing, using, evaluating, storing, or transmitting PHI as well as any entity that comes into possession of or obtains or stores PHI (including business associates). Tex. Health & Safety Code § 181.001(b)(2).

Communicable Diseases The Organization may not disclose any information that directly or indirectly identifies a patient as having a communicable disease, unless the disclosure is permitted under Tex. Health & Safety Code Chapter 81 (regarding mandatory reporting to the Texas Department of Health) or is otherwise permitted under state law. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 81.203.

A "communicable disease" is an illness that occurs through the transmission of an infectious agent or its toxic products from a reservoir to a susceptible host, either directly from an infected person or animal, or indirectly through an intermediate plant or animal host, vector, or the inanimate environment. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 81.003(1).

HIV/AIDS

Texas law restricts the disclosure of HIV test results. HIV test results are defined as any statement that indicates that an individual has or has not been tested for AIDS or HIV infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probable causative agent of AIDS, including a statement that the individual is positive, negative, at risk, or has or does not have a certain level of antigen or antibody. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 81.101(5).

The Organization may not disclose HIV test results unless the disclosure is to:

  1. The Texas Department of Health.
  2. A local health authority pursuant to mandatory reporting requirements.
  3. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Public Health Service, if reporting is required by federal law or regulation.
  4. The person who ordered the test.
  5. A health care provider who legitimately needs the information in order to provide for his or her protection or to provide for the patient's health and welfare.
  6. The patient or a person authorized to act on behalf of the patient.
  7. The patient's spouse, if the patient is positive for AIDS or HIV infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probable causative agent of AIDS.
  8. A person authorized to receive HIV test results under Article 21.31 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
  9. A person exposed to HIV infection as provided by Tex. Health & Safety Code        § 81.050.
  10. A county or district court, in order to comply with Texas laws relating to the control and treatment of communicable diseases and health conditions. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 81.103(b).

Mental Health/Substance Abuse Texas law restricts the disclosure of communications between a healthcare professional and a patient who consults or is interviewed by the healthcare professional for diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of any mental or emotional condition or disorder, including alcoholism or drug addiction ("Mental Health Information"). Tex. Health & Safety Code § 611.001 and 611.002.

The Organization may not disclose Mental Health Information, unless the disclosure is made:

  1. To a governmental agency, if required or authorized by law.
  2. To medical or law enforcement personnel, if there is a probability of imminent physical injury by the patient to himself or others, or if there is a probability of immediate mental or emotional injury to the patient.
  3. To qualified personnel for management audits, financial audits, program evaluations, or research.
  4. To a person authorized in writing by the patient, the patient's parent (if the patient is a minor), or the patient's guardian (if the patient has been adjudicated as incompetent to manage the patient's personal affairs).
  5. To the patient's personal representative if the patient is deceased.
  6. To parties involved in paying or collecting fees for mental or emotional health services provided by a professional.
  7. To health care providers who participate in the diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of the patient.
  8. In connection with an official legislative inquiry relating to a state hospital or state school.
  9. To designated personnel of a correctional facility in which a person is detained, if the disclosure is for purposes of providing treatment and health care to the person in custody.
  10. To an employee or agent of the patient's health care provider who requires Mental Health Information to provide mental health care services, or to comply with statutory, licensing, or accreditation requirements, but only if the Organization ensures that the employee or agent: (a) will not use or disclose the information for any other purposes; and (b) will take appropriate steps to protect the information.
  11. To satisfy a request for medical records of a deceased or incompetent person pursuant to Section 74.051(e) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 611.004(a).

Developmental Disability Texas law restricts the disclosure of information relating to the identity, diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of a person that is maintained in connection with the performance of a "program or activity relating to mental retardation" ("Developmental Disability Information"). Tex. Health & Safety Code § 595.001.

The Organization may not disclose Developmental Disability Information without the written consent of the patient, unless the disclosure is:

  1. To medical personnel in a medical emergency.
  2. To qualified personnel for management audits, financial audits, program evaluations, or research approved by the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.
  3. To personnel legally authorized to conduct investigations concerning complaints of abuse or denial of rights of persons with mental retardation.
  4. Authorized by a court. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 595.005.

 

Contact us today!

Caring Hearts Hospice

1837 W. Main Street
Gun Barrel City, TX 75156

 

Phone: 903-887-4788

Fax: 903-887-7288

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contact@caringheartshospice.net

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