Privacy Statement


 

Vascular Associates Privacy Statement

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.  If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact our Privacy Official at 850.872.8510.

This Notice of Privacy Practices is effective June 1, 2009.  It will describe your rights to access and control your Protected Health Information (PHI).  PHI is information about you, including demographic information that may identify you and relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services.
We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices.  We may change the terms of our notice at any time.  The new notice will be effective for all protected health information that we maintain at that time.  Upon your request, by calling our office and requesting that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail, or asking for one at the time of your next appointment, we will provide you with any revised Notice of Privacy Practices.

Others Involved In Your Healthcare

Your PHI may be used and disclosed by your physician, our office staff and others outside of our office that are involved in your care and treatment for the purpose of providing health care services to you.  Your PHI may also be used and disclosed to pay your health care bills and to support the operation of the physician’s practice.  Following are examples of the types of uses and disclosures of your PHI that the physician’s office is permitted to make.  These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, but to describe the types of uses and disclosures that may be made by our office once you have provided consent.

Treatment:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate and/or manage your health care and any related services.  This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party that has already obtained your permission to have access to your protected health information.  For example, we would disclose your PHI as necessary to other physicians who may be treating you.  Also, your protected health information may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.

Payment:  Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services.  For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.

Healthcare Operations:  We may use or disclose, as needed, your protected health information in order to support the business activities of your physician’s practice.  These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities.  For example, we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name and indicate your physician.  We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you.  We may use or disclose your PHI, as necessary, to contact you to remind you of your appointment.  You may contact our Privacy Official to request that these materials not be sent to you.

We will share your protected health information with third party business associates that perform various activities (e.g., billing, transcription services) for the practice.  Whenever an arrangement between our office and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your PHI, the third party to whom information is disclosed is prohibited from further disclosing any information in the medical record without written consent of the patient or the patient’s legal representative as stated in Florida Statute 456.057(10).

Required Uses and Disclosures

Other uses and disclosures of your PHI will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below.  You may revoke this authorization at any time in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician’s practice has taken an action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.

We may use and disclose your PHI in the following instances.  You have the opportunity to agree or object to the use or disclosure of all or part of your PHI.  If you are not present or able to agree or object to the use or disclosure of the PHI, then your physician may, using professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in your best interest.  In this case, only the PHI that is relevant to your health care will be disclosed.

You have the right to request a restriction of your Protected Health Information.

Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, your PHI that directly relates to that person’s involvement in your health care.  If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgment.  We may use or disclose PHI to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person that is responsible for your care at your location, general condition or death.  Finally, we may use or disclose your protected health information to an authorized public or private entity to assist in disaster relief as required by law in efforts to coordinate uses and disclosures to family or other individuals involved in your health care.

Required By Law

We may use or disclose your PHI to the extent that law requires the use or disclosure.  The use or disclosure will be made in compliance with the law and will be limited to the relevant requirements of the law.  We may use and disclose PHI for the following types of entities, including, but not limited to:

  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Public Health or Legal Authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability
  • Correctional Institution
  • Workers Compensation Agents
  • Organ and Tissue Donation Organizations
  • Military Command Authorities
  • Health Oversight Agencies
  • Funeral Directors, Coroners and Medical Directors
  • National Security and Intelligence Agencies
  • Protective Services for the President and Others

Legal Proceedings:  We may disclose PHI in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to an order of the court or administrative tribunal, in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process.

Law Enforcement:  We may also disclose PHI, so long as applicable legal requirements are met, for law enforcement purposes.

Criminal Activity:  Consistent with applicable federal and state laws, we may disclose your PHI if we believe that the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.

Under the law, we must make disclosures to you and when required by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate or determine our compliance with the requirements of Section 164.500 et.seq.

Patient’s Rights

You have the right to inspect and copy your Protected Health Information.

This means you may inspect and obtain a copy of PHI about you that is contained in a designated record set (or as long as we maintain the PHI).  A “designated record set” contains medical and billing records.  Under federal law, however, you may not inspect or copy the following records:

  • Psychotherapy notes
  • Information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or use in, a civil, criminal or administrative action or proceeding
  • PHI that is subject to law that prohibits access to PHI

Depending on the circumstances, a decision to deny access may be reviewable.  Please contact our Privacy Official if you have any questions about access to your medical record.

Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information Based Upon Your Written Consent.

This means you may ask us not to use or disclose any part of your PHI for the purposes of treatment, payment or healthcare operations.  You may also request that any part of your PHI not be disclosed to family members or friends who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices.  Your request must state the specific restriction requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply.  Your physician is not required to agree to a restriction that you may request.  If your physician believes it is in your best interest to permit use and disclosure of your PHI, your PHI will not be restricted.  If your physician does agree to the requested restriction, we may not use or disclose your PHI in violation of that restriction, unless it is needed to provide emergency treatment.  With this in mind, please discuss any restriction you with to request with your physician.

You have the right to request to receive confidential communication.

We will accommodate reasonable requests.  We may also condition this accommodation by asking you for information as to how payment will be handled or specification of an alternative address or other method of contact, such as we require a physical address for mailings.  We will not request an explanation from you as to the basis for the request.  Please make this request in writing to our Privacy Official.

You have the right to have your physician amend your Protected Health Information.

This means you may request an amendment of PHI about you in a designated record set for as long as we maintain this information.  In certain cases, we may deny your request (or an amendment).  If we deny your request for amendment, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with us and we may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy of any such rebuttal.  Please contact our Privacy Official if you have questions about amending your medical record.

You have the right to receive an accounting of disclosure.

This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment, healthcare operations as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices.  It excludes disclosures we may have made to you, for a facility directory, to family members or friends involved in your care, or for notification purposes.  The right to receive this information is subject to certain exceptions, restrictions and limitations.

You have a right to obtain a copy of this Notice.

You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this Notice from us, upon request, even if you have agreed to accept this notice electronically.

Complaints

You may make complaints to Vascular Associates, LLC, or to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, if you believe your privacy rights have been violated by us.  You may file a complaint with us by notifying our Privacy Official at 850-872-8510.  We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.

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