NOTICE OF HOME HEALTH UNITED PRIVACY PRACTICES
This notice describes how personal health 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 or would like additional information about this notice or HHU Privacy Practices, you may contact the Privacy Officer at 4801 Hayes Road, Madison, Wisconsin, 53704.
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE
This notice describes the privacy practices of Home Health United entities including those of:
· Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your clinical record,
· All departments of Home Health United Visiting Nurse Service, Home Health United Hospice, Home Health United Home Medical Equipment, and Home Health United Community Health Services, and
· Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while he/she is providing care.
All the above-identified entities, sites and locations will follow the terms of this notice. In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share personal health information with each other for treatment, payment or operations as described in this notice.
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION
Home Health United has a professional commitment and a legal duty to protect and maintain the privacy of your health information. This “protected health information”, sometimes called “personal health information” (PHI), is information that is about you and can be identified with you.
§ We create, receive, and record personal health information about your past, present, or future health condition, medical care and/or services we provide to you, or payment for your care.
§ When we release your health information, we must release only the information we need to achieve the purpose of the use or disclosure.
This notice will describe how we may use and disclose personal health information about you and gives examples. In addition, we may make other uses and disclosures which occur as a byproduct of the permitted uses and disclosures described in this notice. It also describes your rights and our obligations regarding the use and disclosure of your personal health information. All of your personal health information that you designate will be available for release if you sign an authorization form, if you request the information for yourself, to a provider regarding your treatment, or due to a legal requirement. Your personal doctor or other health care providers may have different policies or notices regarding their use or disclosure of your personal health information created in that doctor’s office, clinic or other health care facility.
We must follow the privacy practices described in this notice. However, Home Health United reserves the right to change the privacy practices described in this notice, in accordance with State and Federal law. Any changes to our privacy practices would apply to all personal health information we maintain. If we change our privacy practices, Home Health United will:
§ Post the revised notice in our locations;
§ Make copies of the revised notice available upon request (either at our offices or through the contact person listed in this Notice); and
§ Post the revised notice on our website.
HOW HHU MAY USE AND DISCLOSE PERSONAL
HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
The following categories describe the ways we use and disclose personal health information. For each category of uses and disclosures, we will explain what we mean and give examples. All of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories. Under these categories, we may use and disclose your personal health information without your written authorization:
· For Treatment. We may use and disclose personal health information about you to provide, coordinate or manage your health care and related services. This may include communicating with other health care providers regarding your treatment and coordinating and managing your health care with others. We may disclose personal health information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, residents, medical students, pharmacists, therapists, or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you. We may disclose personal health information about you to people and entities outside Home Health United who may be involved in your ongoing medical care. In addition, we may use and disclose personal health information about you when referring you to another health care provider. For example, a doctor may use the information in your medical record to determine if oxygen treatment is addressing your health needs. Home Health United will document changes in treatment in your clinical record so that other health care professionals can make informed decisions about your care.
· For Payment. We may use and disclose personal health information about you to obtain payment for services. We will disclose information to an insurance company that identifies you, your diagnosis, and the service received so that we may bill and collect payment for your services. We may also share portions of your personal health information with the following:
§ Billing departments;
§ Collection departments or agencies;
§ Insurance companies, health plans and their agents which provide you coverage;
§ Consumer reporting agencies (e.g., credit bureaus).
For example, your physician may prescribe home nursing services for you. Home Health United may provide information about your health status, medical needs, and/or your physician’s orders to your insurance company to determine if coverage is available for you.
· For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose personal health information about you for business activities or “health care operations”. These uses and disclosures are necessary to operate Home Health United and improve quality and lower the costs of health care. We may use your personal health information to review our care and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff. We may also combine personal health information about many patients to decide what additional services we should offer, what services are needed, and what treatments are effective. For example, Home Health United may review personal health information about deliveries of oxygen to develop greater efficiency in our delivery services and improve service to patients.
· Business Associates. We may disclose personal health information to other persons or organizations who provide services on our behalf under contract. These entities are also known as “business associates”. To protect your personal health information, we require our business associates to safeguard the information we disclose to them. For example, Home Health United may work with a software vendor to electronically submit claims to your insurance company. If this vendor assists us with submission of a claim that includes your personal health information, that vendor must also maintain the privacy of your personal health information.
· Appointment Reminders. We may use and disclose personal health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment to receive services from us. For example, Home Health United may call you prior to your service date to confirm the date, time, and services you are expecting to receive.
· Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose personal health information to tell you about or recommend products or services of interest. We may also use and/or disclose personal health information to give you gifts of a small value. For example, if you have diabetes and use equipment to monitor your diabetes, we may tell you about new monitoring products that may be of interest to you.
· Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose personal health information to tell you about health-related benefits or services of interest. For example, if you use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, we may tell you about a support group for patients who use this equipment.
· Fundraising Activities. We may disclose personal health information about you to our foundation so the foundation may contact you in raising money for charitable and non-charitable operations. We will only release contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and treatment dates. If you do not want to be contacted for fundraising efforts, you must notify the contact person listed on the first page of this notice in writing. For example, if Home Health United wanted to provide more charity nursing care in your community, we may want to raise additional money and we may contact you for a donation.
· Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may release personal health information about you to a friend, family member or any other person identified by you as being involved in your personal health care. The information released to these people also may include your location, your general condition, or death.
We may allow you to agree or disagree to such release and we will only release this information if you agree to the disclosure. We may give you the opportunity to object to such a disclosure, unless there is an emergency or if in our professional judgment, it is common practice that it is in your best interest to allow a person to act on your behalf as in the case of picking up a filled prescription or medical supplies. In addition, we may disclose personal health information about you to an entity or organization assisting in disaster relief efforts so that your caregivers can be notified about your condition, health status and location. It is our duty to give you enough information so you can decide whether or not to object to the release of your health information to others involved with your care. For example, if your family member pays your medical bills and wants to make sure you were not overcharged for services you received, we may provide personal health information to your family member about the services you received.
· Research. Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose personal health information about you for research purposes. Before we use or disclose personal health information for research, any research project will be approved through our research approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and tries to balance the use of personal health information for research with the need for privacy of your health information. We may disclose personal health information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project so long as the personal health information they review does not leave our organization. We will almost always ask your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals the identity of you, or will be involved in your care. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health outcome of patients who received home blood pressure monitoring from Home Health United to those patients who did not receive home blood pressure monitoring. Private pay patients may exempt themselves from disclosures to researchers by annually submitting a signed, written request to Home Health United.
· As Required By Law. We will disclose personal health information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
· Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ donor, we may release personal health information to people that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue storage or transplantation, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
· Workers’ Compensation. We may release personal health information about you as legally required for workers’ compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness. For example, if you are receiving home health care services to care for a severe wound you received at work, your employer may request information about your treatment and progress to determine any benefits you may receive.
· Public Health Activities. We may disclose personal health information about you for public health activities. These activities generally may include the following:
· To prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
· To report births or deaths;