Privacy & Patient Rights
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE
This Notice describes our hospital's practices and that of:
- Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your hospital chart.
- All departments and units of the hospital.
- Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while you are in the hospital.
- All employees, staff and other hospital personnel.
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 hospital operation 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 at the hospital. 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 the hospital, whether made by hospital personnel or your personal doctor. Your personal doctor 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. It also describes your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to:
- Make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;
- Make available to 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. This Notice may change, in the manner described below under "CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE".
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 provide examples, but not every use or disclosure in a category is 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 you at the hospital. 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.
- For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the hospital may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, we may need to give your health insurance company information about surgery you received at the hospital so your insurance company will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your insurance company about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.
- For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for hospital operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the hospital 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 hospital patients to decide what additional services the hospital 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 hospital personnel for review and learning purposes.
- Business Associates. We may disclose your protected health information to Business Associates independent of the Hospital with whom we contract to provide services on our behalf. However, we will only make these disclosures if we have received satisfactory assurance that the Business Associate will properly safeguard your privacy and the confidentiality of your protected health information. For example, we may contract with a company outside of the hospital to provide medical transcription services for the hospital, or to provide collection services for past due accounts.
- 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.
- Fundraising Activities. We may use medical information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for the hospital and its operations. We may disclose medical information to a foundation related to the hospital so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for the hospital. In those cases, we only would release contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you received treatment or services at the hospital.
- Hospital Directory. We routinely include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at the hospital. This may include your name, your location in the hospital, your general condition (such as "fair" or "critical") and your religious affiliation. We may release that directory information, except for religious affiliation, to any person who asks for you by name. Your religious affiliation and the other directory information may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest, minister or rabbi, even if they don't ask for you by name. This is so that your family, friends and clergy can visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing. We are not required to obtain your consent to include you in the hospital directory. However, you may (if you choose) object, and instruct us not to disclose, or to limit disclosure of your directory information in the manner described under "Right to Request Restrictions" below.
- 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. We may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital. 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.
- 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 being conducted, the project will have been approved through this research approval process.
- As Required by Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law. For example, Oklahoma law requires us to report all births and deaths that occur in the hospital to the Oklahoma Department of Health.
- To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may 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 to someone able to help prevent the threat.
- Special Situations. We may also use and disclose medical information about you in the situations described under "SPECIAL SITUATIONS" below.
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 authorization. A form for those authorizations, both those that you request and those that we request, is available from the Health Information Services Department at the location noted on the cover of this Notice. If you give us an authorization, you may later revoke the 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. In that case, however, we will be unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and we will still be required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.
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.
Worker's Compensation. We may release medical information about you for worker's compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities or some in cases, if needed to determine benefits, to the Department of Veterans Affairs. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
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 that 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 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;
- 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 hospital; 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 the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
National Security, Intelligence and Federal Protective Service Activities. We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law, and to authorized federal officials where required to provide protection to the President of the United States, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or 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 where necessary for the institution to provide you with health care; to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
You have the following rights regarding medical 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.
You must submit any request to inspect and copy your medical information to our Health Information Services Department at the location on the cover page of this Notice, in writing. (A form for that request is available from that office.) If you request a copy of your information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.
We may deny your request 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 the hospital 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 that review.
- Right to Amend. If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask 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 hospital.
You may submit any request for an amendment to our Health Information Services Department at the location noted on the cover of this Notice, in writing. (A form for that request is available from that office.) Your written request 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 make the amendment.
- is not part of the medical information kept by or for the hospital;
- is not part of the information which you are 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 have made of medical information about you, with some exceptions. The exceptions are governed by federal health privacy law, and include (1) routine disclosures for treatment, payment and operations conducted pursuant to your signed consent form, (2) disclosures to you about your own information, and (3) disclosures made from the hospital directory (described earlier).
You must submit any request for an accounting of disclosures to our Health Information Services Department at the location noted on the cover of this Notice, in writing. (A form for that request is available from that office). Your written request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 13, 2003, when current federal health privacy laws became effective for our hospital. The first report you request within a 12-month period will be free. For additional reports, we may charge you for the costs of providing the report. 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. Please note that we are not required to agree to your request. However, if we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.
You must submit any request for restrictions to our Health Information Services Department at the location noted on the cover page of this Notice, in writing. (A form for that request is available from that office). Your written request 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.
You must submit any request for confidential communication restrictions to our Health Information Services Department at the location noted on the cover page of this Notice, in writing. (A form for that request is available from that office). Your written request must tell us how or where you wish to be contacted. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests.
- Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You may ask us to give you a paper copy of this Notice at any time, even if you have agreed to receive this Notice electronically, by contacting our Health Information Services Department at the location on the cover of this Notice. (You may also obtain a copy of this Notice at our Web site, www.mrhcok.com.)
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE
We reserve the right to change this Notice. When we do, we may make the changed Notice effective for medical information we already have about you then, as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current Notice at our Admissions Office at this hospital and on our Web site, www.mrhcok.com. Each notice will contain on the back cover, centered at the bottom, its effective date. Also, each time you register at or are admitted to the hospital for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, you may obtain a copy of the current Notice in effect.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the hospital or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the hospital, contact our Privacy Officer located in the Health Information Services Department found at the location noted on the cover of this Notice. To file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, contact:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S. W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
All complaints must be submitted in writing. YOU WILL NOT BE PENALIZED FOR FILING A COMPLAINT.