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Gastroenterology Consultants - Privacy Policy

This page 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 Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires GASTROENTEROLOGY CONSULTANTS, PC to maintain the privacy of an Individual’s Protected Health Information (PHI), and to provide Individuals with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI. The following defines GASTROENTEROLOGY CONSULTANTS, PC’s privacy policy and practices:

Individually identifiable information about your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of healthcare is considered “Protected Health Information” (PHI). We are required to extend certain protections to your PHI, and to give you this Notice about our privacy practices that explains how, when and why we may use or disclose your PHI. Except in specified circumstances, we must use or disclose only the minimum necessary PHI to accomplish the intended purpose of the use or disclosure.

We are required to follow the privacy practices described in this Notice though we reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this Notice at any time.
You may request a copy of the new Notice from any Center for Diagnostic Imaging center or view the notice here.

We use and disclose Protected Health Information for a variety of reasons. We have a limited right to use and/or disclose your PHI for purposes of treatment, payment and for our healthcare operations. For uses beyond that, we must have your written authorization unless the law permits or requires us to make the use or disclosure without your authorization. If we disclose your PHI to an outside entity in order for that entity to perform a function on our behalf, we must have in place an agreement from the outside entity that it will extend the same degree of privacy protection to your information that we must apply to your PHI. However, the law provides that we are permitted to make some uses/disclosures without your consent or authorization. The following describes and offers examples of our potential uses/disclosures of you PHI.

Generally, we may use or disclose your PHI as follows:

For treatment: We may disclose your PHI to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel who are involved in providing your health care. For example, your PHI will be shared among members of your healthcare team.

To obtain payment: We may use/disclose your PHI in order to bill and collect payment for your healthcare services. For example, we may contact your employer to verify employment status, and/or private insurer to get paid for services that we delivered to you. We may release information to collection agencies for the purpose of payment.

For healthcare operations: We may use/disclose your PHI in the course of operating our center. For example, we may use your PHI in evaluating the quality of services provided, or disclose your PHI to our accountant or attorney for audit purposes.

Appointment reminders: Unless you provide us with alternative instructions, we may send appointment reminders and other similar materials to your home.

GASTROENTEROLOGY CONSULTANTS, PC does not disclose an Individual’s health information to any organization or Individual, except for the purpose of treatment, payment or healthcare operations. Such as:
? Contacting the Individual to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment, treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest.
? Disclosure to the Individual’s referring physician or physician group for proposes of treatment.
? Disclosure to a group health plan, HMO, an insurance issuer for purpose of payment and collection.

Study Cases - From time to time, GASTROENTEROLOGY CONSULTANTS, PC may use selected images from an exam for study cases to be used for training externally as well as internally. In such instances, the images are de-identified, with identifying information removed from the exam such as name, address, phone number, social security number, email address, medical record number, account number and other information so that it becomes “anonymous” in the sense that it cannot be easily associated with the Individual.

For uses and disclosures beyond treatment, payment and operations purposes we are required to have your written authorization, unless the use or disclosure falls within one of the exceptions described below. Authorizations can be revoked at any time to stop future uses/disclosures except to the extent that we may have already undertaken an action in reliance upon your authorization.

The law provides that we may use/disclose your PHI from records without consent or authorization in the following circumstances:

When required by law: We may disclose PHI when a law requires that we report information about suspected abuse, neglect or domestic violence, or relating to suspected criminal activity, or in response to a court order. We also must disclose PHI to authorities that monitor compliance with these privacy requirements.

For public health activities: We may disclose PHI when we are required to collect information about disease or injury, or to report vital statistics to the public health authority.
For health oversight activities: We may disclose PHI to our corporate office, the protection and advocacy agency, or another agency responsible for monitoring the healthcare system for such purposes as reporting or investigation of unusual incidents, and monitoring of the Medicaid program.

Relating to decedents: We may disclose PHI related to a death to coroners, medical examiners or funeral directors, and to organ procurement organizations relating to organ, eye, or tissue donations or transplants.
To avert threat to health or safety: In order to avoid a serious threat to health or safety, we may disclose PHI as necessary to law enforcement or other persons who can reasonably prevent or lessen the threat of harm.

For specific government functions: We may disclose PHI of military personnel and veterans in certain situations, to correctional facilities in certain situations, to government benefit programs relating to eligibility and enrollment, and for national security reasons, such as protection of the President.

The only exceptions of disclosure are those sanctioned under the HIPAA regulations that include, but are not limited to:

An Individual’s personal representative; for example, a minor’s parent or guardian.
As required by the FDA or specialized government functions such as national security and intelligence, or law enforcement custodial duties.

To judicial and law enforcement; such as, court orders or subpoena, locating or identifying suspected criminals and reporting relevant information about victims of a crime.
If GASTROENTEROLOGY CONSULTANTS, PC reasonably believes the Individual is a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence, it will disclose PHI to the appropriate government authority.

For a deceased Individual, disclosure to the executor of the Individual’s estate, an administrator or other person authorized to act on the deceased’s behalf, or to a coroner or medical examiner for the purposes of identification or determining cause of death.