Patient Privacy Practices Notice
|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 Officer. (Contact information for our Privacy Officer appears at the end of this Notice.)
Who Will Follow the Practices Outlined in This Notice?
We recognize that information about your health and the care you receive is very sensitive and personal, and we will use every effort to protect that information in accordance with our privacy practices.
This notice describes the privacy practices of the hospital, its employees, its volunteers, physicians in training, and other students who are training at the hospital, all physicians and other health care providers who provide services in the hospital, physicians employed by the hospital (in connection with the services
they provide in the hospital and the services they provide in their offices), the outpatient locations and clinics that the hospital operates, Abington Memorial Hospital Home Care, Alliance outpatient pharmacy, and the hospital's home infusion service. These persons and programs may share your medical information with each other for purposes of your treatment, payment for your care, or general health care operations as described in this Notice.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices and your rights with respect to the health information we collect, create and maintain about you. We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice.
How We May Use and Disclose Health Information About You
We are either permitted or required by law to use and/or disclose your health information for various purposes. We cannot describe every possible use or disclosure of your health information in this Notice. However, uses or disclosures that we are permitted or required to make will generally fall within one of the following categories:
We will use your health information for your treatment—For example: Information obtained by physicians, nurses, technicians, students and other staff will be recorded in your record, shared with people involved in your care, and used to recommend your course of treatment.
We will use your health information to obtain payment for care provided to you—For example: A bill will be sent to you, your insurance company or a third party payer for the services we provide to you. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, and procedures and supplies used in your care. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.
We will use your health information for our health care operations—For example, we may use health information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also disclose information to physicians, nurses, technicians, students, and other staff for review and learning purposes.
Facility Directories—We may include your name, location in the facility, and general condition in the hospital's facility directory. The directory information may be released to anyone who asks for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a pastor, priest or rabbi, even if they don't ask for you by name. This information is provided so that your family, friends and clergy can visit you. You will be given the opportunity to tell us that you do not wish to be included in the facility directory and/or you do not want us to release any information to the clergy.
Family Members/Personal Representatives—We may disclose your health information to your guardian, or someone you have named as your Power of Attorney for health care decisions, or to someone you have authorized to make decisions on your behalf in a Living Will or other health care directive, and, in the event of your death, to your executor or administrator. Unless you communicate your objection to us, we may also disclose your health information to individuals such as family members who are involved in your care or for payment for your care.
Appointment Reminders—We may use and disclose health
information when scheduling appointments for your treatment
or medical care and to remind you about those appointments.
Treatment Alternatives—We may use and disclose health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
Fundraising—We may contact you in an effort to raise money for the hospital and its programs, facilities and operations. You will be notified of how to opt out of these solicitations if you do not wish to receive them.
Disasters—In the event of a disaster, we may disclose health information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status, and location.
Business Associates—There are some services provided in our organization through contracts with unrelated persons. Examples include transcription services or billing services. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we've asked them to do. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
As Required By Law—We will disclose your health information when required to do so by federal, state or local law. For example, we may disclose your health information to representatives of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services so that they may ensure that we are appropriately protecting the privacy of your health information.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety—We may use and disclose health information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.
Organ, Tissue and Body Donation—If you are an organ or body donor, we will release health information to organizations that handle organ or body procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ, tissue or body donation and transplantation.
Military and Veterans—If you are a member of the armed forces, we will release your health information as required by military command authorities. We may also release health information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority. We may use or disclose your health information to components of the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine whether you are eligible for certain benefits.
Workers' Compensation—We may release your health information for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health—As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability, to report vital statistics such as deaths, to report child abuse, or to notify appropriate persons of adverse reactions to products or drugs or of a product recall.
Health Oversight Activities—We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Examples of these activities include audits, investigations, inspections, licensure, and other activities that are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs and compliance with civil rights.
Lawsuits and Disputes—We may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose health information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process (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 health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to valid legal process. Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors—We may release health information to a coroner or medical examiner to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release health information about patients to funeral directors as necessary to allow them to carry out their duties.
National Security and Intelligence Activities—We will release health information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
Research—In limited situations, we may use your health information in connection with research activities or activities in preparation for research. In most instances, we may not use your health information for research purposes without your authorization.
Incidental Uses and Disclosures—We may use or disclose your medical information if it is a by-product of any of the uses or disclosures described above and it could not be reasonably prevented.
Certain types of health information are subject to more stringent protections under state law than those described above. For example, we may not release your mental health records without your authorization except in more limited situations than those described above. Psychotherapy notes, that is, notes recorded by a mental health care professional documenting or analyzing the contents of conversation during a private counseling session or a group, joint or family counseling session that are maintained separately from your medical record, are afforded additional protections under Federal law. Drug and alcohol treatment information may only be released with your authorization or pursuant to a court order in limited circumstances. Finally, HIV-related information such as information pertaining to HIV testing or your HIV status, may only be released in limited situations under state law.
Uses and disclosures of health information that do not fall within the categories listed above or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization. If you provide us with authorization to use or disclose health information about you, you may revoke that authorization, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your health information for the reasons covered by your written authorization. We are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your authorization, and we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.
Your health information rights—You have the right (1) to inspect and obtain a copy of your health information, (2) to obtain from us an accounting of certain disclosures of your health information, (3) to request that your health information is communicated in a particular way (for example, you may ask us not to provide information over the phone to another member of your household) or to a location of your choice (for example, to your office rather than home), (4) to request that we amend your health information if you feel it is incorrect; and (5) to a paper copy of this Notice. In very limited circumstances, we may deny these requests. You also have the right to request a restriction on our uses and disclosures of your health information for treatment, payment or health care operations as described above or to members of your family or friends involved in your care or payment for that care, but we are not required to comply with these requests. You may make any of the requests described above by contacting our Privacy Officer in writing at the address listed at the end of this Notice. We will respond to all such requests in writing.
Changes to our privacy practices—We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice. However, we reserve the right to change this notice in the future. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for health information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. Updated notices will be available upon request, and we will post a copy of the updated notice in our facilities and on our website at www.abingtonhealth.org. The effective date of the notice will be displayed on the top right-hand corner of the first page of the notice.
For more information or to report a complaint—If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact our Privacy Officer at (215) 481-4655. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the hospital or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. All complaints must be submitted in writing. To file a complaint with the hospital, you should address your written complaint as follows:
Abington Memorial Hospital
1200 Old York Rd., Abington, PA 19001-3788
Attention: Privacy Officer - (215) 481-4655
It is your right to file a complaint if you feel that your privacy rights have been violated. You will not be penalized in any way for doing so.
Effective Date: 4/14/2003
Revised Effective: 3/1/2008