Notice of TFHS 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.
EFFECTIVE DATE: April 14, 2003
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. Each time you visit Tahoe Forest Health System; we create a record of the care and services you receive. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by the hospital, whether made by hospital personnel or your personal doctor.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
For Treatment: We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, pharmacist, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital.
For Payment: We may use and disclose health information about you so the treatment and services you receive at our hospital may be billed to and payment maybe collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. We may also tell your health plan administrator about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.
For Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose medical information about you for health care operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the hospital and make sure that all our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine medical information about many hospital patients to decide what additional services the hospital should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other hospital personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other hospitals to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without knowing who the specific patients are.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the hospital.
Health-Related Products and Services: We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about our health-related products or services that may be of interest to you.
Fundraising Activities: We may use your contact information in our efforts to raise money for the hospital and its operations. We will only use and/or release general contact information such as your name, address, phone number, and the dates you received treatment or services at the hospital. We may disclose such limited information to the charitable foundation(s) related to the hospital so that they may contact you to raise money for the health system. You may, however, request the hospital not to use or disclose your personal contact information for fundraising purposes.
Hospital Directory: We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at the hospital. This information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g., fair, stable, etc) and your religious affiliation. Unless there is a specific written request from you to the contrary, this directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or rabbi, even if they don't ask for you by name.
Research: Disclosure of health information for the purposes of research shall only be made after documented approval for the research. Names of the individual will not be included unless there is a specific authorization.
SPECIAL SITUATIONS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE YOUR CONSENT OR AUTHORIZATION
Organ and Tissue Donation: If a patient and/or patients family consents to be an organ or tissue donor then we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
Military and Veterans: If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities.
Workers' Compensation: We may release medical information about you for worker's compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks: We may disclose medical 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 the abuse or neglect of children, elders and dependent adults
- 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 medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government 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 medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request (which may include written notice to you) or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
Law Enforcement: We may release medical 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; about the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement; about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; 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.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors: We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
National Security and Intelligence Activities: We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
Inmates: If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official.
As Required by Law: We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but may not include some mental health information. To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Director of Medical Records. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request. We may deny your request to inspect and copy under limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by the hospital will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
Right to Amend: If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Director of Medical Records. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. We will act on your request within sixty (60) days of receipt of the request. We may extend the time for such action by up to 30 days, if we provide you with a written explanation of the reasons for the delay and the date by which we will complete action on the request.
We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or 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 medical information kept by or for the hospital;
- is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
- is accurate and complete.
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 other than our own uses for treatment, payment and health care operations (as those functions are described above), and with pursuant to the law. To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Director of Medical Records. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically).
Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations subject to limitations as stated below. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, 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 not agree, we will not comply with your request. We will provide requested information needed to provide you emergency treatment.
To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the Director of Medical Records. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to inspect or limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.
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 must make your request in writing to the Director of Medical Records. We will not ask you the reason for you 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 this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE: We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right 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 post a copy of the current notice in the hospital, and it will also be posted on our web site at www.tfhd.com. A copy of the current notice in effect will be available at the registration area of our hospital.
COMPLAINTS: If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the hospital or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the hospital, contact the Privacy Officer. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
If you require further information about matters covered by this notice, or if you have a complaint, please contact our Privacy Officer at (530) 582-6637.