Butte Home Health & Hospice Privacy Policy

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.

Effective Date: September 23. 2013

PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.

Butte Home Health and Hospice is required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information and to provide you with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices.  We understand the importance of privacy and are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your medical information.  We make a record of the medical care we provide and may receive such records from others.  We use these records to provide or enable other health care providers to provide quality medical care, to obtain payment for services provided to you as allowed by your health plan and to enable us to meet our professional and legal obligations to operate this health care provider properly. This notice describes how we may use and disclose your medical information.  It also describes your rights and our legal obligations with respect to your medical information.  If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact our Privacy Officer listed above. 

Butte Home Health and Hospice must abide by the terms of the notice currently in effect, but Butte Home Health and Hospice reserves the right to change the terms.  If there is a change, Butte Home Health and Hospice will provide you with a written, revised notice as soon as practicable by mail or hand delivery.

A. HOW BUTTE HOME HEALTH AND HOSPICE MAY USE OR DISCLOSE YOUR HEALTH   INFORMATION

As a patient of Butte Home Health and Hospice; information about you may be collected and stored in a chart or on a computer in the form of an electronic health record.  This information must be used and disclosed to other parties for purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations.  The law permits us to use or disclose your health information without your consent for the following purposes:

1. Treatment.  We use medical information about you to provide your medical care.  We disclose medical information to our employees and others who are involved in providing the care you need.  For example, we may share your medical information with a pharmacist who needs it to dispense a prescription to you, or a laboratory that performs a test, any hospital, nursing home, or other health care facility to which you may be admitted, any assisted living or personal care facility of which you are a resident, any physician providing you care and family members and other caregivers who are part of your home care plan for service.

2. Payment.  We use and disclose medical information about you to obtain payment for the services we provide.  For example, we give your health plan the information it requires before it will pay us.  We may also disclose information to other health care providers to assist them in obtaining payment for services they have provided to you.

3. Health Care Operations.  We may use and disclose medical information about you to operate this health care provider.  For example, we may use and disclose this information to review and improve the quality of care we provide, or the competence and qualifications of our staff.  Or we may use and disclose this information to get your health plan to authorize services.  We may also use and disclose this information as necessary for medical reviews, legal services and audits, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs and business planning and management.  We may also share your medical information with our "business associates" that perform administrative services for us.  We have a written contract with each of these business associates that contains terms requiring them to protect the confidentiality and security of your medical information.  Although federal law does not protect health information which is disclosed to someone other than another healthcare provider, health plan or healthcare clearinghouse, under California law all recipients of health care information are prohibited from re-disclosing it except as specifically required or permitted by law.  We may also share your information with other health care providers, health care clearinghouses or health plans that have a relationship with you, when they request this information to help them with their quality assessment and improvement activities, their efforts to improve health or reduce health care costs, their review of competence, qualifications and performance of health care professionals, their training programs, their accreditation, certification or licensing activities, or their health care fraud and abuse detection and compliance efforts. 

4. Appointment/Visit Reminders.  We may use and disclose medical information to contact and remind you about appointments or visits or information about other health services.  If you are not home, we may leave this information on your answering machine or in a message left with the person answering the phone. ,

5. Notification and Communication With Family and Caregivers.  We may disclose your health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, your personal representative or another person responsible for your care or payment for your care about your general condition or in the event of your death unless we know that this would be inconsistent with your previously expressed preferences.  In the event of a disaster, we may disclose information to a relief organization so that they may coordinate these notification efforts.  We may also disclose information to someone who is involved with your care or helps pay for your care.  Where substantial barriers to communicating with you exist and Butte Home Health and Hospice determines that the consent is clearly inferred from the circumstances, we may use your health information to facilitate the provision of services and coordinate care.  If you are able and available to agree or object, we will give you the opportunity to object prior to making these disclosures, although we may disclose this information in a disaster or emergency even over your objection if we believe it is necessary to respond to the emergency circumstances and Butte Home Health and Hospice is required by law to provide treatment and we are unable to obtain consent;.  If you are unable or unavailable to agree or object, our health professionals will use their best judgment in communication with your family and others.

6. Disclosures Required by Law.  Where Butte Home Health and Hospice reasonably believes you are a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, we may be required by law to report such to a government agency authorized to receive abuse, neglect or domestic violence reports. As required by law, we will use and disclose your health information, but we will limit our use or disclosure to the relevant requirements of the law.  When the law requires us to report abuse, neglect or domestic violence, or respond to judicial or administrative proceedings, or to law enforcement officials, we will further comply with the requirement set forth below concerning those activities. 

7. Public Health.  We may, and are sometimes required by law to disclose your health information to public health authorities for purposes related to:  preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability; reporting child, elder or dependent adult abuse or neglect; reporting domestic violence; reporting to the Food and Drug Administration problems with products and reactions to medications; and reporting disease or infection exposure.  When we report suspected elder or dependent adult abuse or domestic violence, we will inform you or your personal representative promptly unless in our best professional judgment, we believe the notification would place you at risk of serious harm or would require informing a personal representative we believe is responsible for the abuse or harm.

8. Health Oversight Activities.  We may, and are sometimes required by law to disclose your health information to health oversight agencies during the course of audits, investigations, inspections, licensure and other proceedings, subject to the limitations imposed by federal and California law. We may be required to disclose your health information to licensing and accrediting bodies, including the information contained in the OASIS Data Set to the state agency acting as a representative of the Medicare/Medicaid program;

 

9. Judicial and Administrative Proceedings.  We may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose your health information in the course of any administrative or judicial proceeding to the extent expressly authorized by a court or administrative order.  We may also disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process if reasonable efforts have been made to notify you of the request and you have not objected, or if your objections have been resolved by a court or administrative order.

10. Law Enforcement. We may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for purposes such as identifying of locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person, complying with a court order, warrant, grand jury subpoena and other law enforcement purposes.

11. Coroners, Etc.. We may, and are often required by law, to disclose your health information to coroners in connection with their investigations of deaths and to medical examiners and funeral directors, in certain circumstances; .

12. Public Safety. We may, and are sometimes required by law, to disclose your health information to appropriate persons in order to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a particular person or the general public.

13. Specialized Government Functions. We may disclose your health information for military or national security purposes or to correctional institutions or law enforcement officers that have you in their lawful custody.

14. Worker’s Compensation. We may disclose your health information as necessary to comply with worker’s compensation laws.  For example, to the extent your care is covered by workers’ compensation, we will make periodic reports to your employer about your condition.  We are also required by law to report cases of occupational injury or occupational illness to the employer or workers’ compensation insurer.

15. Change of Ownership. In the event that this health care provider is sold or merged with another organization, your health information/record will become the property of the new owner, although you will maintain the right to request that copies of your health information be transferred to another physician or medical group.

16. Breach Notification. In the case of a breach of unsecured protected health information, we will notify you as required by law. If you have provided us with a current email address, we may use email to communicate information related to the breach. In some circumstances our business associate may provide the notification. We may also provide notification by other methods as appropriate; provided that we will only use email notification if it will not contain protected health information and it will not disclose inappropriate information.

17. Fundraising.  “Butte Home Health & Hospice is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization which relies on the contributions from individuals who have been served to fulfill our mission. We may use certain information to contact you for the purpose of raising money for Butte Home Health & Hospice. You will have the right to opt out of receiving such communications with each solicitation and your decision will have no impact on your treatment or services provided by Butte Home Health & Hospice.”

18. Organ, Eye or Tissue Donation.  We may disclose your health information to organizations involved in procuring, banking or transplanting organs and tissues.

 

B. WHEN BUTTE HOME HEALTH AND HOSPICE MAY NOT USE OR DISCLOSE YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT

Except as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices, this health care provider will not use or disclose health information which identifies you without your written authorization.  If you do authorize this health care provider to use or disclose your health information for another purpose, except  in limited circumstances (including relative to disclosures made pursuant to your authorization), you may revoke your authorization in writing at any time by providing written notice to the Privacy Officer listed at the top of this Notice.  Uses and disclosures of your health information for marketing, for sale or other financial remuneration require your authorization.  In addition, use and disclosure of psychotherapy notes, if any, requires your authorization.  Certain other uses and disclosure require your consent, and include, but are not limited to, a release of information concerning communicable diseases such as Human Immune Deficiency Viruses (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), drug/alcohol abuse, psychiatric diagnosis and treatment records and/or laboratory test results require your authorization for any use or disclosure except for treatment, payment or health care operations.  We may not use or disclose genetic information when it qualifies as protected health information except as the Privacy Rule permits or requires or you authorize in writing.

C. YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION RIGHTS

1. Right to Request Special Privacy ProtectionsYou have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information by a written request specifying what information you want to limit, and what limitations on our use or disclosure of that information you wish to have imposed.  If you tell us not to disclose information to your commercial health plan concerning health care items or services for which you (or a person on your behalf) have paid for in full out-of-pocket, we will abide by your request, unless we must disclose the information for treatment or legal reasons. We reserve the right to accept or reject any other request, and will notify you of our decision.  If you make such a request, it is your responsibility to notify other providers, including downstream providers, of your wish to restrict health plan access to this protected health information.

2. Right to Request Confidential Communications..  You have the right to request that you receive your health information in a specific way or at a specific location.  For example, you may ask that we send information to a particular e-mail account or to your work address.  We will comply with all reasonable requests submitted in writing which specify how or where you wish to receive these communications.

3. Right to Inspect and Copy.  You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, with limited exceptions.  To access your medical information, you must submit a written request detailing what information you want access to and whether you want to inspect it or get a copy of it.  We will charge a reasonable fee, as allowed by California and federal law.  We may deny your request under limited circumstances.  If we deny your request to access your child’s records or the records of an incapacitated adult you are representing because we believe allowing access would be reasonably likely to cause substantial harm to the patient, you will have a right to appeal our decision.  If we deny your request to access your psychotherapy notes, if any, you will have the right to have them transferred to another mental health professional.  If we use an electronic health record and your written request clearly, and specifically asks us to send you or some other person or entity an electronic copy of your medical record, and we do not deny the request as discussed above, we will send a copy of the electronic health record in such form and format as you requested, and will charge you no more than what it cost us to respond to your request, and to the extent the form and format you have requested is not easily producible, we will provide the information in a readable electronic form and format.

4. Right to Amend or Supplement.  You have a right to request that we amend your health information that you believe is incorrect or incomplete.  You must make a request to amend in writing, and include the reasons you believe the information is inaccurate or incomplete.  We are not required to change your health information, and will provide you with information about this health care provider’s denial and how you can disagree with the denial.  We may deny your request if we do not have the information, if we did not create the information (unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment), if you would not be permitted to inspect or copy the information at issue, or if the information is accurate and complete as is.  You also have the right to request that we add to your record a statement of up to 250 words concerning any statement or item you believe to be incomplete or incorrect.

5. Right to an Accounting of Disclosures.  You have a right to receive an accounting of disclosures of your health information made by this health care provider, except that this health care provider does not have to account for the disclosures provided to you or pursuant to your written authorization, or as described in paragraphs 1 (treatment), 2 (payment), 3 (health care operations), 5 (notification and communication with family) and 13 (specialized government functions) of Section A of this Notice of Privacy Practices or disclosures for purposes of research or public health which exclude direct patient identifiers, or which are incident to a use or disclosure otherwise permitted or authorized by law, or the disclosures to a health oversight agency or law enforcement official to the extent this health care provider has received notice from that agency or official that providing this accounting would be reasonably likely to impede their activities.

6. Right to Copy of Privacy Notice.  You have a right to a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices, even if you have previously requested its receipt by e-mail.  If you would like to have a more detailed explanation of these rights or if you would like to exercise one or more of these rights, contact our Privacy Officer listed at the top of this Notice of Privacy Practices.

D. CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

Butte Home Health and Hospice reserves the right to amend this Notice of Privacy Practices at any time in the future.  Until such amendment is made, we are required by law to comply with this Notice.  After an amendment is made, the revised Notice of Privacy Protections will apply to all protected health information that we maintain, regardless of when it was created or received.  We will provide a copy of any updated notice to all current patients or clients at the time of the next staff visit. We will keep a copy of the current notice posted in our reception area, and a copy will be available to each patient upon admission and at the time of any update or at any time upon request.  We will also post the current Notice on our website.

  1. COMPLAINTS

Complaints about this Notice of Privacy Practices or how this health care provider handles your health information should be directed to our Privacy Officer listed at the top of this Notice of Privacy Practices.  There will be no retaliation against you for filing a complaint.  The complaint should be filed in writing with Butte Home Health and Hospice and should state the specific incident(s) in terms of subject, date, and other relevant matters. 

Contact the Privacy Officer, Butte Home Health and Hospice, 10 Constitution Drive, Chico, CA 95973, or (530) 895-0462, or (800) 655-0462.

If you are not satisfied with the manner in which this office handles a complaint, you may submit a formal complaint to:

Region IX
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
90 7th Street, Suite 4-100
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 437-8310; (415) 437-8311 (TDD)
(415) 437-8329 FAX
OCRMail@hhs.gov

The complaint form may be found at www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/hipcomplaint.pdf. 

You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.