Notice of Privacy Practices


Effective March, 2002; Revised January 2013

This policy describes how your medical information may be used and disclosed.  Please review the information carefully which describes how Brazos Valley Pathology (BVP) and its business associates may use and disclose your protected health information (PHI) in order to carry out payment, treatment, healthcare operations and other purposes required by law. 

Our legal duty is to safeguard your PHI.  BVP is required to protect the privacy of your healthcare billing information.  The PHI includes information provided to us by your treating physician and/or facility where services were performed.  We may not use or disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose of its use.  We strive to legally follow the privacy practices that are herein described.  BVP reserves the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this information at any time and make such changes effective for the PHI that we possess at the time of change as well as any information received thereafter. 

How Your PHI May Be Used and/or Disclosed

We may disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:

·        Treatment – your PHI may be disclosed to physicians, nurses and other healthcare personnel who provide treatment or are involved in your care; this includes disclosure related to workers’ compensation insurance and treatment.

·        Payment – we may use and disclose your PHI to bill and collect payment for the services provided to you.  Our pathology group may provide portions of your information to our billing company, ProMedX Billing Solutions and to your health plan in efforts to obtain payment for our services. 

·        Operations – BVP may also disclose your PHI to organizations that evaluate the quality of healthcare services provided to you.  We may also be requested to share your information with accountants, attorneys, consultants and others to confirm that we are complying with the laws that affect our physician group.

·        Administrative – we may use and disclose your information when required by state, federal and/or local laws, judicial or administrative proceedings or law enforcement.  In addition, public health activities and guidelines require us to report certain information to state agencies for disease monitoring or investigations/inspections of a healthcare provider or organization.

·        Organ donation – upon request of our hospitals facility(ies), our pathology group may notify organ procurement organizations to assist in orderingeye or tissue donation and transplants.

·        Research – in certain studies, upon request of the attending physician, we may provide your PHI to research groups.

·        Law enforcement – we may provide PHI to law enforcement personnel in efforts to lessen or prevent harm or serious threat to public health.

·        Military – certain PHI of military personnel and veterans may require disclosure to federal agencies.

You may object to disclosure of your PHI in the following instance:

                    We may share your PHI with a family member, friend or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your healthcare, unless you object in whole or in part. The opportunity to authorize may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.

You must provide prior written approval to release you PHI:

                    In any other situation not described above.

                    If you authorize us to use or disclose your PHI, you may later revoke that authorization in writing at any time. If you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your PHI for any of the reasons that may have been covered by your written authorization; however, you understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures which may already have been made with your authorization.

You have the following rights with respect to your PHI:

§  You have the right to request that we restrict or limit how we use and disclose your PHI. Your request must be in writing and must explain what information you want to limit and to whom the limits are to apply. You may not however limit the uses and disclosures that we are legally required or allowed to make. We will consider your request, but we are not required to agree to such requests. If we do agree, we will comply with the requested limits except in emergency situations.

§  You have the right to choose how we send PHI to you. You have the right to ask that we send information to you in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may want us to send information to you at your work address instead of your home address. Your request must be made in writing, and we will agree to it as long as we can easily provide it in the manner you requested.

§  You have the right to inspect and obtain copies of your PHI. In most cases, you have the right to inspect or obtain copies of your PHI that are in our possession, but you must make this request in writing. If we do not have your PHI, but we know who does, we will inform you of the manner in which to obtain it. We will respond to you within 60 days after receiving your written request. In certain situations, we may deny your request. If we do, we will inform you, in writing, of our reasons for the denial and explain your right to have the denial reviewed. If you request copies of your PHI, we may charge you. Instead of providing the PHI you requested, we might provide you with a summary or explanation of the PHI as long as you agree to that and to the actual cost in advance.

§  You have the right to obtain an accounting of the disclosures we have made. You have the right to obtain an accounting of instances in which we have disclosed your PHI. Your request must be made in writing and should state a specific time period to be covered (the time period requested may not be more than six (6) years and may not include dates prior to April 2002). We will respond within 60 days of receiving your written request. The list we provide may not include uses or disclosures associated with treatment, payment or healthcare operations or those made directly to you or to your family. The list also may not include uses and disclosures for which a signed authorization has been received; those made for national security purposes; or those made to corrections or law enforcement personnel. The list will include the date of the disclosure, to whom the PHI was disclosed, a description of the information disclosed and the reason for the disclosure. We will generally provide the list to you at no charge, except that if you make more than one request in the same calendar year, we may charge you for the cost of providing each additional request.

§  You have the right to amend your PHI. If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI or that a piece of important information is missing, you have the right to request that we correct the existing information or add the missing information. You must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. We may deny your request if it is not made in writing or does not include a reason to support the request, or if: 1) we believe that the information is correct and complete; 2) the information was not created by us; 3) you do not have the right to the information; or 4) the information is not part of our records. If we deny your request, our written response will state the reasons for the denial and explain your rights to file a written statement of disagreement with the denial. If we approve your request, we will make the change as requested and advise you in writing that we have done it, and we will make reasonable efforts inform others of the changes on a need-to-know basis.

§  You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice or by email. You have the right to obtain a copy of this notice at any time. We can send it to you electronically via email, or you may prefer to have us mail you a paper copy.

For More Information or To Report a Problem:

If you have any questions or complaints about our privacy practices in general or our handling of your PHI, or if you want to submit a written request to BVP as required in any of the previous sections of the Notice, please write us at the address provided below. If you believe that your privacy rights have been violated, you may also file a written complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. BVP will not take any retaliatory action against you for filing a complaint about our privacy practices. We understand that information about you and your health is personal, we respect your right to privacy, and we are committed to protecting your health information against any unlawful or otherwise improper use or disclosure.

Compliance Officer
Brazos Valley Pathology
PO Box 163567
Austin, TX  78716-3567

 


 

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