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Reeves County Hospital District Notice of Privacy Practices

Effective Date: April 14, 2003


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.

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") is a federal program that requires that all medical records and other individually identifiable health information used or disclosed by us in any form, whether electronically, on paper, or orally, are kept properly confidential. This Act gives you, the patient, significant new rights to understand and control how your health information is used. "HIPAA" provides penalties for covered entities that misuse personal health information. Reeves County Hospital District District's contact person for all issues regarding this Notice, patient privacy and your rights under the Federal privacy standards is the Privacy Officer.

WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE.

This notice describes Reeves County Hospital District District's practices and that of:

Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your chart.

All departments and units of Reeves County Hospital District District.

Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while you are in the care of Reeves County Hospital District District.

All employees, staff and other Reeves County Hospital District District personnel.

Pecos Valley Rural Health Clinic, and Reeves County Home Health Services. All these entities, sites and locations follow the terms of this notice. In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or Reeves County Hospital District District operations purposes described in this notice.

OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:

We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive from Reeves County Hospital District District. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by Reeves County Hospital District District, whether made by Reeves County Hospital District District or another provider that you were referred to. Other physicians you may see in the course of your treatment may have different policies or notices regarding the doctor's use and disclosure of your medical information created in the doctor's office or clinic.

This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.

The Law requires us to:

Make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;

Give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and

Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.

For Treatment. We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of your service . 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. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different departments of the hospital also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the hospital who may be involved in your medical care after you leave the hospital, such as family members, clergy, home health agency, nursing home, or others we use to provide services that are part of your care.

For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at Reeves County Hospital District District which involves activities in obtaining reimbursement for services, confirming coverage, billing or collection activities, utilization review, payment collection from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, we may need to give your health care information about treatment you received at the Reeves County Hospital District District so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the care. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment or service you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment. Also, we may disclose patient information to another provider involved in your care for the other provider's payment and reimbursement activities.

For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for Reeves County Hospital District District operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run Reeves County Hospital District District and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine medical information about many patients to decide what additional services Reeves County Hospital District District should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other Reeves County Hospital District District personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other health providers to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.

Directory Information. We may use or disclose Protected Health Information for facility directories. These disclosures would be limited to members of the clergy and to other persons who ask for the patient by name. The permitted use and disclosure with respect to the facility directory are limited to:

The patient's name;

The patient's room number;

The patient's condition in general terms as to not communicate specific medical information about the patient;

The patient's religious affiliation

Appointment Reminders. We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for medical care.

Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.

Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.

Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care. In addition, we may disclose medical 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.

Banking & Payment Process: Patient identifiable information may be disclosed on banking and payment processes. For example we may receive a check for payment that contains patient name, date of service and account number.

Research. Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients' need for privacy of their medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process, but we may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs, so long as the medical information they review does not leave the Reeves County Hospital District District. We will almost always ask for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care with Reeves County Hospital District District.

As Required By Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose medical 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 disclosed to someone able to help prevent the threat.

SPECIAL SITUATIONS

Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.

Workers' Compensation. We may release medical information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

Public Health Risks. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:

To prevent or control disease, injury or disability;

To report births and deaths;

To report child abuse or neglect;

To report reactions to medications or problems with products;

To notify people of recalls of products they may be using;

To notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;

To notify 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 medical information 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 and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process 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 medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:

In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;

As required by law for reporting certain types of wounds or other physical injuries;

To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;

About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement;

About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;

About criminal conduct at Reeves County Hospital District District; and

In emergency circumstances 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 medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of REEVES COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.

National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or to conduct special investigations.

Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be 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) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

You have the following rights regarding Protected Health Information we maintain about you:

Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes.

To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Health Information Management Department. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.

We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by Reeves County Hospital District District will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.

Right to Amend. If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may request us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for the Reeves County Hospital District District. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Health Information Management Department. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:

Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to act on the amendment;

Is not part of the medical information kept by or for the Reeves County Hospital District District;

Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or

Is accurate and complete.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures." This is a list of the disclosures we made of medical information about you. To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Health Information Management Department. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically). The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free. For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.

Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about care you had.

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 emergency treatment.

To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the Health Information Management Department. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.

Right to Request Confidential Communications. 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 at work or by mail.

To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to the Health Information Management Department. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.

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 at our website, www.reevescountyhospital.com

To obtain a paper copy of this notice you may contact:

The Health Information Department of the Hospital or

The Admissions Office of the Hospital

CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE

We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in the waiting room. The notice will contain on the first page, on the top and middle of the page, the effective date. In addition, each time you register at the front desk for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.

COMPLAINTS

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Reeves County Hospital District District, with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, or with the Office of Civil Rights. All complaints being submitted to Reeves County Hospital District must be in writing. To file a complaint with the Reeves County Hospital District District you can mail the complaint to the Privacy Officer by sending it to:

Reeves County Hospital District

2323 Texas

Pecos, Texas 79772

ATTN: Privacy Officer

The Privacy Officer, Lily Serrano, can be contacted by telephone at (432) 447-3551 ext 2225.

You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION.

Other uses and disclosures of medical 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 medical 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 medical 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.

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