Effective: December 1, 2016
Our legal requirements:
Uphold the privacy of your protected Personal Health Information;
Provide you with this policy of our duties and privacy practices regarding your Personal Health Information;
Adhere to the terms of our policy that is currently in effect.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PHI:
Described below are the ways in which we may use and disclose your Personal Health Information (or PHI). With the exception of the following purposes, we will use and disclose PHI only with your written permission. Permission may be revoked at any time by providing the office with written notice.
Treatment. We may use and disclose PHI for your treatment, as well as, to provide you with treatment-related health care services. For example, we may disclose your PHI to doctors, nurses, technicians, or other personnel, including people outside our office, who are involved in your medical care and need the information to provide you with medical care.
Payment. We may use and disclose PHI so that we may bill and receive payment from you, an insurance company, or a third party for the treatment and services you received. For example, we may give your health plan information so that they will pay for your treatment. However, if you pay for your services yourself (e.g. out-of-pocket and without any third party contribution or billing), we will not disclose PHI to a health plan if you instruct us to not do so.
Appointment Reminders, Treatment Alternatives, and Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose PHI to contact you and to remind you that you have an appointment with us. We also may use and disclose PHI to tell you about treatment alternatives or health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We will not, however, send you communications about health-related or non-health-related products or services that are subsidized by a third party without your authorization.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. When appropriate, we may share PHI with a person who is involved in your medical care or payment for your care, such as your family or a close friend. We also may notify your family about your location or general condition or disclose such information to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort.
As Required by Law. We will disclose PHI when required to do so by federal, provincial, or local law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose PHI when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Disclosures, however, will be made only to someone who may help prevent the threat.
Business Associates. We may disclose PHI to our business associates that perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the information is necessary for such functions or services. For example, we may use another company to perform billing services on our behalf. All of our business associates are obligated to protect the privacy of your information and are not allowed to use or disclose any information other than as specified in our contract.
Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release PHI as required by military command authorities. We also may release PHI to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military. We will contact you if this is required.
Workers’ Compensation. We may release PHI for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks. We may disclose PHI for public health activities. These activities generally include disclosures to prevent or control disease, injury, or disability; report births and deaths; report child abuse or neglect; report reactions to medications or problems with products; notify people of recalls of products they may be using; a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; and 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 PHI 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. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose PHI in response to a court or administrative order. We also may disclose PHI in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful processes by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
Law Enforcement. We may release PHI if asked by a law enforcement official if the information is:
(1) in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons, or similar process;
(2) limited information to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
(3) about the victim of a crime even if, under certain very limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement;
(4) about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
(5) about criminal conduct on our premises; and
(6) in an emergency 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 PHI to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We also may release PHI to funeral directors as necessary for their duties.
Inmates or Individuals in Custody. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release PHI to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be if necessary:
(1) for the institution to provide you with health care;
(2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or
(3) the safety and security of the correctional institution.
You have the following rights regarding PHI we have about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy. You have a right to inspect and copy PHI that may be used to make decisions about your care or payment for your care. This includes medical and billing records, other than psychotherapy notes. To inspect and copy this PHI, you must make your request, in writing, to our office.
Right to Amend. If you feel that PHI we have is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our office. To request an amendment, you must make your request, in writing, to our office.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request a list of certain disclosures we made of PHI for purposes other than treatment, payment, and health care operations or for which you provided written authorization.
To request an accounting of disclosures, you must make your request, in writing, to our office.
Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the PHI we use or disclose for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the PHI we disclose to someone involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not share information about a particular diagnosis or treatment with your spouse. To request a restriction, you must make your request, in writing, to our office. We are not required to agree to all such requests. If we agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
Right to Request Confidential Communication. 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 by mail or at work. To request confidential communication, you must make your request, in writing, to our office. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted. We will accommodate reasonable requests.
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. You may obtain a copy of this notice in our office. To obtain a paper copy of this notice please request it in writing.
Right to Electronic Records. You have the right to receive a copy of your electronic health records in electronic form.
Right to Breach Notification. You have the right to be notified if there is a Breach of privacy such that your PHI is disclosed or used improperly or in an unsecured way.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE:
We reserve the right to change this notice and make the new notice apply to PHI we already have as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of our current notice at our office. The notice will contain the effective date on the first page, in the top right-hand corner.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Information and Privacy Commissioner. All complaints must be made in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.