NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed.  It also describes how you can get access to this information.  Please review carefully.

We are required by law to provide you with this notice that explains our privacy practices with regard to your medical information and how we may use and disclose your protected health information for:  treatment, payment, health care operations, and other purposes that are permitted or required by law.  You have certain rights regarding the privacy of your protected health information and we also describe those rights in this notice.  We have provided an example for each category, but these examples are not meant to be exhaustive.
All of the ways we may use and disclose your health information fall into one of these categories.

TREATMENT:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and any related services.  We will also disclose your health information to other physicians/providers who may be treating you.  Additionally, we may from time to time disclose your health information to another physician/provider whom we have requested to be involved in your care.  For example:  we would disclose your health information to a specialist to whom we have referred you for a diagnosis or to help in your treatment.

PAYMENT:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to obtain payment for the health care services we provide to you.  For example:  we may include information with a bill to a third-party payer that identifies you, your diagnosis, procedures performed, and supplies used in rendering the service.  If you have paid in full for your services out-of-pocket, and request that we not disclose your medical information related to such service to your insurance company, we will accommodate your request as long as it is not a diagnosis that we are required by law to disclose.

HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to support the business activities of our practice. 
For example:  we may use medical information about you to review and evaluate our treatment and services OR to evaluate our staff’s performance while caring for you.  In addition, we may disclose your health information to third party business associates who perform billing, consulting, transcription or other services for our practice.

OTHER WAYS WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION:

TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to tell you about or recommend possible alternative treatments or options that may be of interest to you.

OTHERS INVOLVED IN YOUR CARE:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to a family member/relative, close friend, or any other person that is involved in your medical care or payment for care.

AS REQUIRED BY LAW:  We will use and disclose your protected health information when required to do so by federal, state or local law.

TO AVERT A SERIOUS THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to public health authorities which are permitted to collect or receive information for the purpose of controlling disease, injury, or disability.  If directed by that health authority, we will also disclose your health information to a foreign government agency that is collaborating with the public health authority.

WORKER’S COMPENSATION:  We will use and disclose your protected health information for worker’s compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

INMATES:  We will use and disclose your protected health information to a correctional institution or law enforcement official if you are an inmate of that correctional facility or are under the custody of the law enforcement official.  This information would be necessary for the institution to provide you with health care, to protect the health and safety of others, or for the safety and security of the correctional institution.

YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION RIGHTS

Although your health record is the physical property of the practitioner or facility that compiled it, the information belongs to you.  You have the right to:

A paper copy of this notice.  The copy has been provided to you.

Inspect and Copy:  You have the right to inspect and copy the protected health information that we maintain about you in our designated record set for as long as we maintain that information.  This designated record set includes your medical and billing records, as well as any other records we use for making decisions about you.  Any psychotherapy notes that may have been included in records we received about you are not available for your inspection or copying as per law.  We may charge you a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, or other supplies used in fulfilling your request. 
If you wish to inspect or copy your medical information, you must submit your request
in writing to our Privacy Officer:
Attention:  Privacy Officer
519 Broad Street, Suite 106
Rome, GA 30161
We will have 30 days to respond to your request for information that we maintain at our practice site.  If the information is stored off-site, we are allowed up to 60 days to respond but must inform you of this delay.

Request Amendment:  You have the right to request that we amend your medical information if you feel that it is incomplete or inaccurate.  You must make this request in writing to our Privacy Officer, stating exactly what information is incomplete or inaccurate, and the reasoning that supports your request.
We are permitted to deny your request if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request.  We may also deny your request if:
The information was not created by us, or the person who created it is no longer available to make the amendment.
The information is not part of the record which you are permitted to inspect and copy.
The information is not part of the designated record set kept by this practice, or if it is the opinion of the health care provider that the information is accurate and complete.

Request Restrictions:  You have the right to request a restriction of how we use or disclose your medical information for treatment, payment, or health care operations.  For example:  you could request that we not disclose information about a prior treatment to a family member or friend who may be involved in your care or payment for care. Your request must be made in writing to our Privacy Officer.
We are not required to agree to your request if we feel it is in your best interest to use or disclose that information.  If we do agree, we will comply with your request except for emergency treatment.

An Accounting of Disclosures:  You have the right to request a list of  the disclosures of your health information we have made outside of our practice that were not for treatment, payment, or health care operations.  Your request must be in writing and must state the time period for the requested information.  You may not request information for any dates prior to February 1, 2009, nor for a period of time greater than six years (our legal obligation to retain information.)
Your request for a list of disclosures within a 12-month period will be free.  If you request an additional list within 12 months of the first request, we may charge you a fee to cover the costs of providing this additional list.  You will be notified of such costs and given the opportunity to withdraw your request before any costs are incurred.
Additionally, we are required to notify you of any breach in your unsecured Protected Health Information.

Request Confidential Communications:  You have the right to request how we communicate with you to preserve your privacy.  For example:  you may request that we call you only at your work number, or by mail at a special address or post office box.  Your request must be made in writing and must specify how or where we are to contact you.  We will accommodate all reasonable requests.

File a Complaint:  If you believe we have violated your medical information privacy rights, you have the right to file a complaint with our Privacy Officer or directly to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  To file a complaint with our Privacy Officer, you must make it in writing within 180 days of the suspected violation.  Provide as much detail as you can about the suspected violation.
Uses or disclosures of your health information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us may only be made with your written authorization.  You may revoke such authorization in writing at any time and we will no longer disclose health information about you for the reasons stated in your written authorization.  Disclosures made in reliance on the authorization prior to the revocation are not affected by the revocation.
If you have questions or would like additional information, you may contact our Privacy Officer.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  FEBRUARY 1, 2009; REVISED JANUARY 2014