Highlands Pathology Consultants, P.C. respects the privacy of those who visit our site. Information sent to us or collected by this website is used solely to provide information to the requestor. Highlands will not sell, trade, or reveal this information to any other parties.
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES:
HIGHLANDS PATHOLOGY CONSULTANTS, P.C.
Notice of Privacy Practices for Protected Health Information
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!
Our office is permitted by federal privacy laws to make uses and disclosures of your health information for purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations. Protected Health Information is the information that individually identifies you and that we create and obtain in providing our services to you that relates to (1) your past, present, or future physical or mental health or conditions, (2) the provision of health care to you, or (3) the past, present, or future payment for your health care. Such information may include documenting your symptoms, test results, and diagnoses. It also includes billing documents for those services.
How We May Use and Disclose Your Protected Health Information
We may use and disclose your Protected Health Information in the following circumstances:
Treatment – During the course of your treatment, your specimen/s are referred to us from your physician for diagnostic purposes. We will send your report/s to your physician. Additionally, we may refer your specimen/s to other facilities or specialists to assist us with your diagnosis.
Payment – We submit requests for payment to your health insurance company or other third party payer. The payer may request information from us regarding your medical care given. We will provide information to them about you. If a bill is overdue, we may need to provide Protected Health Information to a collection agency to the extent necessary to help collect the bill and we may disclose outstanding debt to credit reporting agencies.
Health Care Operations – We may obtain services from and provide information to business associates such as quality assessment, quality improvement, outcome evaluation, protocol and clinical guidelines development, training programs, credentialing, medical review, legal services, and insurance. We will share information about you with such business associates as necessary to obtain these services.
Patient Contact – We may contact you to provide us with current billing and insurance information.
Minors – We may disclose Protected Health Information of minor children to their parents or legal guardians unless such disclosure is otherwise prohibited by law.
Personal Representative – If you have a personal representative, such as a legal guardian (or an executor or administrator of your estate after your death), we will treat that person as if that person is you with respect to disclosures of your Protected Health Information.
Research – We may use and disclose your Protected Health Information for research purposes, but we will only do that if the research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your Protected Health Information.
Required by Law – We will disclose Protected Health Information about you when required to do so by international, federal, state, or local law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health and Safety – We may use or disclose your Protected Health Information consistent with applicable law to prevent or lessen a serious, imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public, but we will only disclose the information to someone who may be able to help prevent the threat.
Business Associates – We may use or disclose your Protected Health Information to our business associates who perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services, if the Protected Health Information is necessary for those functions or services. For example, we may use another company to do our billing, or to provide transcription or consulting services for us. All of our business associates are obligated, under contract with us, to protect the privacy of your Protected Health Information.
Organ and Tissue Donation – If you are an organ or tissue donor, we may disclose your Protected Health Information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs, eyes, or tissue for the purpose of donation and transplant.
Military and Veterans – If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release Protected Health Information as required by military command authorities. We also may release Protected Health Information to the appropriate foreign military authority if you are a member of a foreign military.
Workers’ Compensation – If you are seeking compensation through Workers’ Compensation, we may disclose your Protected Health Information to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers’ compensation.
Health Oversight Agencies – Federal law allows us to release your Protected Health Information to appropriate health oversight agencies or for health oversight activities to include audits; civil, administrative or criminal investigations; inspections; licensure; disciplinary actions, and for similar activities that are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
Public Health Activities – We may disclose Protected Health Information for public health activities. This includes disclosures to:
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – We may disclose to the FDA your Protected Health Information for purposes related to quality, safety or effectiveness of an FDA regulated product or activity.
- Controlling Disease – 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.
- Child Abuse & Neglect – We may disclose Protected Health Information to public authorities as allowed by law to report child abuse or neglect.
- Medication Problems – We may disclose Protected Health Information to report reactions to medications or problems with products.
- Product Recalls – We may disclose Protected Health Information to notify people of recalls of products they may be using.
- Disease – We may disclose Protected Health Information to a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition.
- Victims of Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence – We can disclose Protected Health Information to governmental authorities to the extent the disclosure is authorized by statute or regulation and in the exercise of professional judgment, if we believe the disclosure is necessary to prevent serious harm to the individual or other potential victim.
- Births and Deaths – We may disclose Protected Health Information to public authorities as required to report births and deaths.
Judicial/Administrative Proceedings – We may disclose your Protected Health Information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding as allowed or required by law, or as directed by a proper court order or administrative tribunal, provided that only the Protected Health Information released is expressly authorized by such order, or in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process. We may also use your Protected Health Information to defend ourselves if you sue us.
Law Enforcement – We may disclose your Protected Health Information for law enforcement purposes as required by law, such as when required by court order, including laws that require reporting of certain types of wounds or other physical injury.
National Security – We may disclose your Protected Health Information to authorized federal officials for national security activities authorized by law.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors – We may release Protected Health Information to coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors consistent with applicable law to allow them to carry out their duties.
Correctional Institutions – If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may disclose to the institution or law enforcement official the Protected Health Information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.
Uses and Disclosures That Require Us to Give You an Opportunity to Agree or Object
Unless you object we may use or disclose your Protected Health Information as outlined below, but before doing so, we will provide you with an opportunity to object to or opt out of such a disclosure whenever we practicably can do so.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care – We may disclose Protected Health Information to a person who is involved in your medical care or helps pay for your care, such as a family member, other relative, or any other person you identify, to the extent it is relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
Disaster Relief – We may use and disclose your Protected Health Information to disaster relief organizations that seek your Protected Health Information to coordinate your care, or notify family and friends of your location or condition in a disaster.
Your Written Authorization is Required for Other Uses and Disclosures
Marketing and Fundraising Purposes – We will not disclose your Protected Health Information for marketing or fundraising purposes without your written authorization.
Sale of Protected Health Information – We will not sell your Protected Health Information for direct or indirect remuneration without your written authorization, except as allowed by law, such as in the sale, transfer, merger or consolidation of all or a part of our office.
Other uses and disclosures besides those identified in this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization which you may revoke except to the extent information or action has already been taken.
Special Protections for HIV, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and Genetic Information
Special privacy protections apply to HIV-related information, alcohol and substance abuse, mental health, and genetic information. Some Parts of this general Notice of Privacy Practices may not apply to these kinds of Protected Health Information. Please check with our Privacy Officer for information about the special protections that do apply. For example, if we give you a test to determine if you have been exposed to HIV, we will not disclose the fact that you have taken the test to anyone without your written consent unless otherwise required by law.
Your Health Information Rights
The health and billing records we maintain are the physical property of our office. You have the following rights with respect to your Protected Health Information
- Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your Protected Health Information by delivering the request in writing to our office. We are not required to grant the request but we will consider any request;
- Obtain a paper copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices for Protected Health Information (“Notice”) by making a request at our office;
- Right to inspect and copy your Protected Health Information. You may exercise this right by delivering the request in writing to our office using the form we provide to you upon request. You may appeal a denial of access to your Protected Health Information except in certain circumstances; however, we may release transcripts of laboratory tests or examinations only to an individual authorized under state law to order tests or receive lab results, or both, or the individual responsible for utilizing the test results;
- Right to an electronic copy of your Protected Health Information if this information is maintained in an electronic format (known as an electronic medical record or an electronic health record). You may exercise this right by delivering the request in writing to our office using the form we provide to you upon request.
- Right to request that your Protected Health Information be amended to correct incomplete or incorrect information by delivering a written request that includes the reason for your request to our office using the form we provide to you upon request. We may deny your request if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. Additionally, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that (a.) was not created by us, (b.) is not part of the medical information kept by or for us, (c.) is not information that you would be permitted to inspect and copy, or (d.) is accurate and complete. You may file a statement of disagreement if your amendment is denied, and require that the request for amendment and any denial be attached in all future disclosures of your Protected Health Information;
- Right to receive an accounting of disclosures of your Protected Health Information as required to be maintained by law by delivering a written request to our office using the form we provide to you upon request. An accounting will not include disclosures made for treatment, payment, or operations purposes; disclosures made to you or made at your request; disclosures made to create a limited data set; or disclosures made with your authorization;
- Right to confidential communication by requesting that communication of your Protected Health Information be made by alternative means or at an alternative location by delivering the request in writing to our office using the form we give you upon request;
- Right to get notice of a security breach by first class mail of any breach of your Unsecured Protected Health Information as soon as possible, but no later than 60 days after we discover the breach. “Unsecured Protected Health Information” is Protected Health Information that has not been made unusable, unreadable, and undecipherable to unauthorized users. The notice will give you information including what happened, the date of the breach and the date discovered, information on steps you should take to protect yourself from potential harm from the breach, steps we are taking to investigate the breach, mitigate losses, and protect against further breaches, as well as contact information on where you can ask questions and obtain additional information; and,
- Right to ask that your Protected Health Information with respect to an item or service paid out-of-pocket in full by you not be disclosed to a health plan for purposes of payment or health care operations.
If you want to exercise any of the above rights, please contact our Privacy Officer at 423-323-5290 or 2175 Hwy 75, Suite 4, Blountville, TN. 37617, in person or in writing, during normal hours. Our Privacy Officer will provide you with assistance on the steps to take to exercise your rights.
To Request Information or File a Complaint
If you have questions, would like additional information, or want to report a problem regarding the handling of your information, you may contact our Privacy Officer at 423-323-5290.
Additionally, if you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
To file a complaint with us, contact our Privacy Officer at 2175 Hwy 75 Suite 4, Blountville, TN. 37617. All complaints must be made in writing and should be submitted within 180 days of when you know or should have known of the suspected violation. There will be no retaliation against you for filing a complaint.
To file a complaint with the Secretary, mail it to: Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201. Call 202-619-0257 or Toll Free 877-696-6775 or go to the website of the Office of Civil Rights, www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/, for more information. There will be no retaliation against you for filing a complaint.
The office is required to:
- Maintain the privacy of your health information as required by law;
- Provide you with a notice as to our duties and privacy practices as to the information we collect and maintain about you;
- Abide by the terms of this Notice;
- Notify you if we cannot accommodate a requested restriction or request;
- Accommodate your reasonable requests regarding methods to communicate health information with you;
- Accommodate your request for an accounting of disclosures; and
- Notify you of a security breach of your Unsecured Protected Health Information.
If we maintain a website that provides information about our entity, this Notice will be on the website.
We reserve the right to amend, change, or eliminate provisions in our privacy practices and access practices and to enact new provisions regarding the Protected Health Information we maintain. If our information practices change, we will amend our Notice. You are entitled to receive a revised copy of the Notice by calling and requesting a copy of our “Notice” or by visiting our office and picking up a copy.
Effective Date: April 14, 2003, Revised September 15, 2011, and September 9, 2013