USES AND DISCLOSURES OF HEALTH INFORMATION
The following describes how information about you may be used in this dental office:
Treatment Services: We may use or disclose your health information to all of our staff members, other dentists, your physicians, and/or other health care providers taking care of you.
Payment and Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose your health information to obtain payment for services we provide to you, or to participate in quality assurance, disease management, training, licensing, and certification programs. Upon your written request, we will not disclose to your health insurer any services paid by you out of pocket.
Marketing / Fundraising: We will not use your health information for marketing or fundraising purposes without your written consent. You can opt out of receiving information about our marketing or fundraisers. We will not sell your health information without your explicit authorization.
Appointment Reminders: We may use or disclose your health information to provide you with appointment reminders such as voicemail messages, text messages, emails, postcards, or letters.
Legal Requirements: We may use or disclose your health information when required to do so by law.
Abuse or Neglect: If abuse or neglect is reasonably suspected, we may use or disclose your health information to the appropriate governmental authorities.
National Security: When required, we may disclose military personnel health information to the Armed Forces. Information may be given to authorized federal offices when required for intelligence and national security activities. Health information for inmates in the custody of law enforcement may be provided to correctional institutes.
Family Members, Friends, and Others Involved in Care: At your request, we may disclose your health information to a family member or other person if necessary to assist with your treatment and/or payment for services. Based on our judgement and as per 164.522(a) of HIPAA, we may disclose your information to these persons in the event of an emergency situation. We also may make information available so that another person may pick up filled prescriptions, medical supplies, records, or x-rays for you. Your information may be disclosed to assist in notifying a family member, caregiver, or personal representative of your location, condition, or death.
Business Associates: Some services in our organization are provided through contacts with business associates. Examples include practice management software representatives, accountants, answering service personnel, etc. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associates so that they can perform the job we have asked them to do and bill you or your third-party payer for services rendered. All of our business associates are required to safeguard your information and to follow HIPAA Privacy Rules.
Workers’ Compensation: We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.
Research: We may use or disclose medical information to researchers when an institution’s review board or special privacy board has reviewed the proposed study and established protocols to ensure the privacy of the health information used in their research and determined that the researcher does not need to obtain your authorization prior to using your medical information for research purposes.
Public Health Activities: We may use or disclose your health information for public health activities including the following: to prevent or control disease, injury, or disability; to report reactions with 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 who may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; to notify the proper government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence (when required by law).
Other Authorizations: In addition to our use of your health information for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations, you may give us written authorization to use your health information or to disclose it to anyone for any purpose. If you give us authorization, you may revoke it at any time. Your revocation will not affect any use or disclosures permitted by your authorization while it was in effect. Unless you give us a written authorization, we cannot use or disclose your health information for any reason except those described in this Notice.
Breach Notification: We will notify you any time your PHI may have been compromised through unauthorized acquisition, use or disclosure.
Access: You have the right to look at or get copies of your health information, with limited exceptions. You may request that we provide copies in a format other than photocopies. We will use the format you request unless we cannot practicably do so. You must make a request in writing to obtain access to your health information.
We will charge you a reasonable cost-based fee for expenses such as copies. If you request x-rays, there will be a fee for any copies of films. You are not entitled to originals, only copies. Postage will be added if copies are to be mailed. If you prefer, we will prepare a summary or an explanation of your health information for a fee. Details of all fees are available from the HIPAA Coordinator.
Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to receive a list of instances in which we or our business associates disclosed your health information for purposes other than treatment, payment, healthcare operations, and certain other activities, for the last 6 years. If you request this accounting more than once in a 12-month period, we may charge you a reasonable, cost-based fee for responding to these additional requests.
Restriction: You have the right to request that we place additional restrictions on our use or disclosure of your health information. We will keep your information confidential from your health plans if you pay cash, at your request. In some instances, we may not be required to agree to these additional restrictions, but if we do, we will abide by our agreement, except in an emergency.
Alternative Communication: You have the right to request that we communicate with you about your health information by alternative means or to alternative locations. You must make your request in writing. Your request must specify the alternative means or location, and provide satisfactory explanation how payments will be handled under the alternative means or location you request.
Amendment: You have the right to request that we amend your health information. Your request must be in writing, and must explain the reason for the amendment. We may deny your request under certain circumstances.
Surveillance: We utilize video surveillance in all areas of our dental office, including patient rooms, exam rooms, and the lobby, for the primary purpose of ensuring the safety, security, and protection of our patients, staff, and property. The surveillance system is not intended for individual monitoring but to deter and document potential criminal activities and promote a secure environment. Access to and disclosure of footage is limited to authorized individuals in accordance with applicable laws, and the data is retained only for a legally permissible period before secure disposal. Any concerns or queries regarding this policy should be directed to our office manager.
QUESTIONS AND COMPLAINTS
We support your right to the privacy of your health information. We will not retaliate in any way if you choose to file a complaint with us or with the HHS.