Notice of Privacy Practices
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.
At Valley View Nursing Center, we are committed to protecting your health information. This Notice of Privacy Practices describes the personal information we collect, and how and when we use or disclose that information. It also describes your rights as they relate to your protected health information. This Notice is effective April 14, 2003, and applies to all protected health information as defined by federal regulations. Please sign the acknowledgement of receipt found on the last page of this document.
Understanding Your Health Record/Information
Each time you are admitted to our facility, a record is made. Typically, this record will contain your diagnosis, examination and test results, treatment and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a:
- basis for planning your care and treatment;
- means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care;
- legal document describing the care you received;
- means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided;
- tool in educating heath professionals;
- source of information for medical research;
- source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of this state and the nation;
- source of information for our planning and marketing;
- tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve;
Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to:
- ensure its accuracy;
- better understand who, what, when, where and why others may access your health information;
- make more informed decisions when you allow Valley View Nursing Center to share your health information with others;
Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of Valley View Nursing Center, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:
- obtain a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices upon request;
- inspect and obtain a copy of your health record as permitted by law;
- amend your protected health information as permitted by law;
- receive confidential communications of protected health information as permitted by law;
- obtain an accounting of disclosures of your protected health information as permitted by law, although an accounting will not contain disclosures that were made for treatment, payment or health care operations purposes, or disclosures that were made with your authorization;
- request communications of your protected health information by alternative means or at alternative locations;
- request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your protected health information as permitted by law, although Valley View Nursing Center is not required to agree on a requested restriction; give written authorization for uses or disclosures not described in the NPP;
- revoke your authorization to use or disclose protected health information except to the extent that action has already been taken;
Please contact the HIPAA Coordinator at 570 433-3161, for more information if you would like to exercise any of the rights listed above.
Valley View Nursing Center is required to:
- maintain the privacy of your protected health information;
- provide you with this notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information we collect and maintain about you;
- abide by the terms of this notice;
- notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction;
- accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate protected health information by alternative means or at alternative locations;
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our privacy practices change, you may obtain the revised Notice of Privacy Practices by notifying the Campus Admission Director, Social Services or the HIPAA Coordinator and requesting that you receive the revised Notice.
Our Notice of Privacy Practices is posted throughout the facility.
We will not use or disclose your protected health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice. We will also stop using or disclosing your protected health information after we have received a written termination of authorization, according to the procedures included in the authorization.
For More Information or to Report a Problem
If you have questions and would like additional information, you may request to speak to the HIPAA Coordinator at Valley View Nursing Center.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the HIPAA Coordinator at Valley View Nursing Center, or with the secretary of Health and Human Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint with either the HIPAA Coordinator or the Office for Civil Rights.
Examples of Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Operations
We will use or disclose your protected health information for the purpose of treatment.
For example: Information obtained by a nurse, doctor or other member of your healthcare team will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your doctor will document in your record his or her expectations of the members of your healthcare team. Members of your healthcare team will then record the actions they took and their observations. In that way, the doctor will know how you are responding to treatment.
We will also provide your doctor or a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you.
We will use or disclose your protected health information for the purpose of payment.
For example: A bill may be sent to you, a primary, secondary or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures and supplies used.
We will use or disclose your protected health information for the purpose of regular health care operations.
For example: Members of the medical staff, the Director of Quality Assurance or members of the quality improvement committee at Valley View Nursing Center may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in an effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the health care and service we provide.
Other Purposes for which Uses or Disclosures may be Made Without Authorization
Business Associates: There are some services provided in our organization through contacts with business associates. Examples of business associates include certain healthcare quality improvement services, 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 protected health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we've asked them to do and bill you or your primary, secondary third-party payer for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate and their subcontractors who create, receive, maintain or transmit PHI on behalf of Valley View Nursing Center to appropriately safeguard your information.
Should a breach of unsecured PHI occur, the business associate must notify Valley View Nursing Center of said breach within 60 days.
Workforce Members: Valley View Nursing Center employees, volunteers, trainees and other persons who work at Valley View Nursing Center.
Facility Directory: Unless you notify us that you object, we will use your name and location in the facility, for directory purposes. This information may be provided to members of the clergy and, except for religious affiliation, to other people who ask for you by name.
Notification: Unless you object, we may use or disclose protected health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or another person responsible for your care, your location and general condition.
Communication with Family: Unless you object, health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend or any other person you identify, protected health information relevant to that person's involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
As Required by Law: We will disclose protected health information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
Military and Veterans: If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release protected health information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release protected health information to components of the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine whether you are eligible for certain benefits.
Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose protected health 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: 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 a lawsuit or 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;
- 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 the facility; 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.
National Security and Intelligence Activities: We may release protected health information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety: We may use and disclose protected health information about you when we determine it is 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.
Funeral Directors: We may disclose protected health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.
Organ Procurement Organizations: Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose protected health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
Appointments: We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
Resident and Family Newsletter: Unless you object, we may use your name and birthdate in our newsletter. The Valley View Express is a monthly publication for residents and families of Valley View Nursing Center.
Posting of Names Outside Doors: As part of facility operations, your name will be posted outside your doorway.
Posting of Birthdays: Unless you object, resident birthdays for the month will be posted on the nursing units.
Pennsylvania Department of Aging: The local Area Agency on Aging may send an Ombudsman to review your medical records in order to provide services to you.
Treatment in Emergency Situations: In an emergency situation, your health information may be shared with non-facility emergency personnel to facilitate your care and treatment.
Fundraising: We may use certain protected health information (name, address, telephone number, dates of service, age and gender) to contact you in the future to raise money for Valley View Nursing Center.
Food And Drug Administration (FDA): We may disclose to the FDA protected health information relative to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, product and product defects or post-marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs or replacement.
Workers Compensation: We may disclose protected health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
Public Health: As required by law, we may disclose your protected health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability.
Federal law makes provisions for your protected health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a workforce 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 residents, workers or the public.
The following uses and disclosures of PHI require your written authorization; psychotherapy notes, information for marketing purposes, disclosures that constitute a sale of protected health information.
It is the policy of Valley View Nursing Center to protect the privacy of individual health information, and to ensure that such information is used and disclosed appropriately and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. When there is an unauthorized disclosure, Valley View will notify the affected parties in writing.
This policy supersedes and rescinds all previous policies on this subject matter.