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Health Information Privacy Practices
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.
We understand the importance of privacy and are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your health information. We make a record of health information we provide and may receive such records from others. We use these records to provide or enable other health care providers to provide quality health 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 practice properly. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information, to provide individuals notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health information, and to notify affected individuals following any breach of unsecured protected health information. This notice describes how we may use and disclose your health information. It also describes your rights and our legal obligations with respect to your health information. If you have any questions about this notice, please contact our office.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Right to Request Special Privacy Protections
- Right to Request Confidential Communications
- Right to Inspect and Copy
- Right to Amend or Supplement
- Right to an Accounting of Disclosures
- Right to a Paper or Electronic Copy of this Notice
How This Practice May Use or Disclose Your Health Information and When This Practice May Not Use or Disclose Your Health Information
This practice collects health information about you and stores it electronically. This is your health information record. The health information record is the property of the practice, but the information itself in the health information record belongs to you. The law permits us to use or disclose your health information for the below listed purposes.
Treatment: Our providers and other personnel use or disclose your information to other health care professionals involved in your care for the purpose of evaluating your health, diagnosing medical or mental health conditions and providing treatment.
Psychotherapy Notes: We will not use or disclose your psychotherapy notes without your prior written authorization except for the following: 1) consultation within the practice with the clinical director, another clinician, the psychiatrist or APRN; 2) to defend ourselves if you sue or bring other legal proceedings; 3) if the law or a court order requires us to disclose; 4) to avoid a serious and imminent danger to health and safety. If you sign a Release of Information to Disclose, this may be revoked at any time with written notice; however, it will not impact disclosures already made in reliance of your consent.
Payment: We use and disclose payment information about you to obtain payment for the services we provide. Payment may come from your health plan, worker’s compensation, automobile insurer, or credit card company that you may use to pay for services.
Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose information about you to operate the practice. This includes reviews of provided care, legal services, auditors, our billing services, and internal quality of care reviews.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose your information to remind you of appointments through phone calls or text messages or emails. If you are not at home, we may leave a message or a reminder with a family member. Please let us know if you do not want these calls left on a message or with anyone else so we can note this request for our staff.
Sign-in Sheet: We may use or disclose your information by having you sign in when you arrive at our office for your appointment. We may also call out your name in the waiting area when we are ready to see you.
Notification to Family and Significant Others: We will ask you to identify an emergency contact. In the event of an emergency situation or a disaster, we will notify your emergency contact. We may also disclose information to someone who is involved in your 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 in an emergency situation even over your objections if we believe it is necessary to respond to the emergency. If you are unable or unavailable to agree or object, our health professionals will use their best judgment in communication with your family and significant others. Note: With limited exceptions (for example, in the case of highly confidential information (such as substance use, treatment and rehab information), or if the minor is emancipated or a mature minor under law), custodial parents of children under 18 do not require a release of information to obtain information about their dependent children.
Notification to Emergency Personnel and/or Law Enforcement: If you present a danger to yourself, we will contact 911 and involve emergency personnel. If you are physically incapacitated, we will contact an ambulance to take you to the nearest Emergency Room. If you commit a criminal act or become threatening to any person or persons while on the property, we may notify law enforcement. If you disclose a plan to harm another person, then we may be obliged to report to law enforcement.
Required by Law: As required by law, we will use or disclose your health information to the extent mandated. 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 comply with those requirements.
Public Health: We may be 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 threat to harm another person; reporting to the Food and Drug Administration problems with products and reactions to medications; and reporting disease and infection exposure.
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 limitations imposed by law.
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.
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 or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person, complying with a court order, warrant, grand jury subpoena and other law enforcement purposes.
Coroners: We may and are sometimes required by law to disclose your health information to coroners with their investigations of deaths.
Specialized Governmental Functions: We may disclose your health information for military or national security purposes or to law enforcement or correctional facilities if you are in their custody.
Special Rules for Privacy of Drug or Alcohol Information: If your health information is about use of drugs or alcohol, then the law gives it extra protection. We adhere to requirements of law when we use or disclose substance use information for payment and health care operation purposes. We also may disclose substance use information without your permission if you are having a medical or behavioral health emergency, to report suspected child abuse, to report a crime against our staff or in our location, or if we are being audited. We may also disclose this kind of information to business partners helping us deliver services, if they have agreed to follow the same requirements.
Your Health Information Rights
Right to Request Special Privacy Protections: You 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 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 services for which you paid 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.
Right to Inspect and Copy: You have a right to inspect and copy your health information record with limited exceptions. Some of the exceptions when access is limited are:
- Psychotherapy notes; and
- Information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or for use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding.
Copies of your health information records will only be provided by the entity providing the health care service.
If you wish to inspect or copy your records, 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 also send a copy to any other person you designate in writing. We will charge a reasonable fee to cover our costs for labor, supplies, postage, etc. Under limited conditions, we may deny a request if we believe allowing access will cause substantial harm. You will have the right to appeal this decision.
Right to Amend and Supplement: You have the 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 if the request is denied, we will provide you information about how you can disagree with the denial. Any documents in your health record that we did not create cannot be amended by our practice.
Right to An Accounting of Disclosures: You have a right to receive an accounting of disclosures of your health information made by this practice. Exceptions to this are disclosures provided pursuant to your written authorization, disclosures for payment, disclosures for health care operation, disclosures for specialized government functions, and disclosures to law enforcement officials if the practice has received notice from that agency or official that providing this accounting would be reasonably likely to impede their activities.
Right to Care. We will need your specific written authorization for uses or disclosures other than those listed above. We will not deny health care treatment if you do not sign an authorization for these additional disclosures. You also have a right to confidential and alternate communication related to your care. Please refer to our Alternate Communication Form.
Revocation of Authorizations. You have the right to revoke your authorization (or consent) to our use of information as long as you make your request in writing to the following address: Beacon Care Services, 200 State Street, Boston, MA 02109. Your revocation will apply to future disclosures, but not for any disclosures made prior to when you first gave your authorization (or consent).
Right to Notice of Privacy Practices. You have a right to notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your health information, including a right to a paper copy or electronic of this Notice of Privacy Practices. In the event of a breach, you have the right to receive a breach notification that complies with applicable Federal and State laws.
TherapyNotes // Scheduling Service.
We have partnered with TherapyNotes to provide a platform for scheduling appointments and other patient self-services. This platform has two spaces: general space and Beacon Care Services-only space. In the general space (i.e., not Beacon-only space), your activities will be subject to the terms of services that TherapyNotes posts on the web site. It is only within the Beacon Care Services-only space that your information will be handled in accordance with this Notice of Privacy Practices.
Additional Provisions Related to Disclosures of Health Information.
Staff trained and responsible for releasing health records will handle all requests for record copies, with a few exceptions, as stated in any practice-specific releasing policy. Information disclosed by a provider to you, such as test results and other treatment discussions, are not considered “releases of records”.
Disclosures To Individual’s Involved In Payment Or Treatment
Verbal disclosures of your health information to you or your representative will be noted in the health or other record.
Prior to the disclosure of your health information someone other than to you, the relationship of that person will be checked. Documentation of who is involved in your treatment or payment will be recorded in either your health record, in a system note or on the form “Designation of Individuals Who are Involved in My Payment or Treatment Decisions.” If the person is not listed in the documentation, you may be contacted to verbally provide approval of the disclosure and the approval will be documented, when the disclosure is made, either in your health record or location designated by us for such matters.
Disclosures Of Health Records To A Provider For Continuing Care
Your health records may be sent to a provider to whom a referral has been made for continuing care without your authorization but at request of the physician to whom you have been referred. If an authorization is provided by you, your wishes will be respected whether or not a referral has been made. Mental health records will be sent to referred providers for continuing care only with client authorization or in an emergency situation. In the exceptional case where records are sent in an emergency without authorization, the disclosure will be tracked in your record. When you or your representative requests records to be sent to another provider or a request is received from a provider where a referral has not been made by the practice, a HIPAA authorization will be obtained from you to document the request and treatment relationship with the provider who is receiving the record.
In an emergency situation, records will be sent with verbal request from you or your representative or a written request from the treating provider on the provider’s letterhead and will be documented in the record. Texas State Law requires that requests for health information records be made in writing and uses a valid HIPAA authorization to document these requests.
Disclosure Related To Emergent Issues
We prioritize the safety needs of the individuals in treatment, their significant others, the care team providing services, and the community at large. Our policies provide preferred response protocols to prevent emerging safety threats whenever possible and address current incidents placing individuals at imminent risk. When you present a significant and imminent risk of harm to yourself or others, however, Beacon Care Services may use or disclosure your information to notify authorities, persons who know you and/or to persons who are at risk of harm.
Changes to Notice of Privacy Practices
We reserve 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 the terms of this notice currently in effect. After an amendment is made, the revised Notice of Privacy Practices will apply to all protected health information that we maintain, regardless of when it was created or received. Any amendments will be posted in our lobby and on our website and are available to all clients.