This notice describes how 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 about this notice, please contact the Facility Privacy Officer by dialing the main hospital number, (864) 833-9100.
Each time you visit a hospital, physician or other health care provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, a plan for future care or treatment and billing-related information. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by the hospital, whether made by hospital personnel, agents of the hospital or your personal doctor. Your personal doctor may have different policies or notices regarding the doctor’s use and disclosure of your health information created in the doctor’s office or clinic.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and provide you a description of our privacy practices. We will abide by the terms of this notice.
The following categories describe the way we use and disclose health information:
We may use health information about you to provide you treatment or services. We may disclose health information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, health students or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital. For example: a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes, because diabetes may slow the healing process. Different departments of the hospital also may share health information about you in order to coordinate things you may need, such as prescriptions, lab work, meals and x-rays.
We may also provide your physician or a subsequent health care provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you once you’re discharged from this hospital.
We may use and disclose health information about your treatment and services to bill and collect payment from you, your insurance company or a third party payer. For example, we may need to give your insurance company information about your surgery so they will pay us or reimburse you for the treatment. We may also tell your health plan about treatment you are going to receive to determine whether your plan will cover it.
For health care operations: Members of the medical staff and/or quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. The results will then be used to continually improve the quality of care for all patients we serve. For example, we may also combine health information about many patients to evaluate the need for new services or treatment. We may disclose information to doctors, nurses and students for educational purposes. And we may combine health information we have with that of other hospitals to see where we can make improvements. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of health information to protect your privacy.
We may also use and disclose health information:
When disclosing information, primary appointment reminders and billing/collections efforts, we may leave messages on your answering machine or voice mail.
Some of the services in our organization are provided through contracts with business associates. Examples include physician services in the emergency department and radiology, certain laboratory tests and a copy service we use when making copies of your health record. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associates so they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do and bill you, your insurance company or a third-party payer for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at the hospital. The information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g., good, fair) and your religious affiliation. This information may be provided to members of the clergy and, except for religious affiliation, to other people who ask for you by name. If you would like to opt out of being in the facility directory, please request the opt out form from the admission staff or facility privacy official.
We may release health information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care or who helps pay for your care. In addition, 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.
We may disclose information to researchers when an institutional review board, that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information, has approved their research and granted a waiver of the authorization requirement.
We may communicate to you via newsletters, mailings or other means regarding treatment options, health-related information, disease-management programs, wellness programs, or other community-based initiatives or activities our facility is participating in.
This facility and its medical staff members have organized and are presenting you with this document as a joint notice. Information will be shared as necessary to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations. Physicians and caregivers may have access to protected health information to assist in reviewing past treatment, as it may affect treatment at the time.
Protected health information will be made available to hospital personnel at local affiliated hospitals as necessary, to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations. Caregivers at other facilities may have access to protected health information at their locations to assist in reviewing past treatment information, as it may affect treatment at this time. Please contact the facility privacy official for further information on the specific sites included in the affiliated covered entity.
As required by law, we may also use and disclose health information for the following types of entities, including but not limited to:
We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena.
Many states have requirements for reporting, including population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing healthcare costs. Some states have separate privacy laws that may apply additional legal requirements. If the state privacy laws are more stringent than federal privacy laws, the state law preempts the federal law.
Although your health record is the physical property of the health care practitioner or facility that compiled it, your have the right to:
We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
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 contact you at work instead of at home. The facility will grant requests for confidential communications at alternative locations and/or via alternative means, only if the request is submitted in writing and the written request includes a mailing address where the individual will receive bills for services rendered by the facility and related correspondence regarding payment for services. Please realize we reserve the right to contact you by other means and locations if you fail to respond to any communication from us that requires a response. We will notify you in accordance with your original request prior to attempting to contact you by other means or at another location.
You have the right to a hard 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 hard copy of this notice.
A copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices is available by clicking here. To exercise any of your rights, please obtain the required forms from the privacy official and submit your request in writing.
We reserve the right to change this notice and the revised or changed notice will be effective for information we already have about you, as well as any information we receive in the future. The current notice will be posted in the hospital and include the effective date. In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to the hospital for treatment or health care services, as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the facility by following the process outlined in the facility’s Patient Rights documentation. You may also file a complaint with Region IV, Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, SW, Suite 3B70, Atlanta, GA 30303-8909, (404) 562-7886; FAX (404) 562-7881; TDD (404) 331-2867. All complaints must be submitted in writing or by calling our confidential Help Line at (800) 273-8452. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
Other uses and disclosures of health information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. If you provide us permission to use or disclose health information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose health information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you and documented in the doctor’s office or clinic.