PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
USE AND DISCLOSURE OF HEALTH INFORMATION
Steele County Public Health [“Agency”] may use your health information, information that constitutes protected health information as defined in the Privacy Rule of the Administrative Simplification provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, for purposes of providing you treatment, obtaining payment for your care and conducting health care operations. The Agency has established policies, in accordance with the Federal HIPAA rules and Mn. Statutes, to guard against unnecessary disclosure of your health information.
THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED WITH YOUR CONSENT:
To Provide Treatment. The Agency may use your health information to coordinate care within the Agency and with others involved in your care, such as your attending physician and other health care professionals who have agreed to assist the Agency in coordinating care. For example, physicians involved in your care will need information about your symptoms in order to prescribe appropriate medications. The Agency also may disclose your health care information to individuals outside of the Agency involved in your care including family members, pharmacists, suppliers of medical equipment, Human Services, or other health care professionals.
To Obtain Payment. The Agency may include your health information in invoices to collect payment from third parties for the care you receive from the Agency. For example, the Agency may be required by your health insurer to provide information regarding your health care status so that the insurer will reimburse you or the Agency. The Agency also may need to obtain prior approval from your insurer and may need to explain to the insurer your need for home care and services that will be provided to you.
To Conduct Health Care Operations. The Agency may use and disclose health information for its own operations in order to facilitate the function of the Agency and as necessary to provide quality care to all of the Agency’s patients. Health care operations includes such activities as:
- Quality assessment and improvement activities.
- Professional review and performance evaluation.
- Training programs including those in which students, trainees or practitioners in health care learn under supervision.
- Accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities.
- Business management and general administrative activities of the Agency such as, preparing financial reports and maintaining paper and electronic records of services provided.
- Scheduling client visits.
For example the Agency may use your health information to evaluate staff performance.
- For Appointment Reminders. The Agency may use and disclose your health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for a home visit.
- For Treatment Alternatives. The Agency may use and disclose your health information to tell
you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH AND PURPOSES FOR WHICH YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION MAY ALSO BE USED AND DISCLOSED.
When Legally Required. The Agency will disclose your health information when it is required to do so by any Federal, State or local laws. For example: mandatory reporting of abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult and information pursuant to court order. Mn. Statute 13.384 subd.3subp C.
When There Are Risks to Public Health. The Agency may disclose your health information in order to:
- Prevent or control disease, injury or disability, report disease, injury, vital events such as birth or death and in the conduct of public health surveillance, investigations and interventions.
- Notify a person who has been exposed to a communicable disease or who may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease. Mn.Statute 13.3085 subd.1 subp.b.
- For a medical emergency when the provider is unable to obtain the patient’s consent due to the patient’s condition or the nature of the medical emergency. Mn. Statute 144.335 subd. 3a(b)(1).
- Share immunization data between health care providers, group purchasers of health care services, child care facilities, schools and colleges, public health agencies, community action agencies, and the commissioner of health without the individual’s or parent’s consent. This includes the reporting of adverse events. Mn. Statute 144.3351.
- Inform the parent or legal guardian of the minor patient of any treatment given or needed where, in the judgment of the professional, failure to inform the parent or guardian would seriously jeopardize the health of the minor patient. Mn. Statute 144.346.
AUTHORIZATION TO USE OR DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION
Other than is stated previously, the Agency will not disclose your health information other than with your written authorization. If you or your representative authorizes the Agency to use or disclose your health information, you may revoke that authorization in writing at any time.
YOUR RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION
You have the following rights regarding your health information that the Agency maintains:
Right to request restrictions. You may request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information. You have the right to request a limit on the Agency’s disclosure of your health information to someone who is involved in your care or the payment of your care. However, the Agency is not required to agree to your request. If you wish to make a request for restrictions, please talk with your assigned nurse or contact the Steele County Public Health Director or Privacy Officer Designee
Right to receive confidential communications. You have the right to request that the Agency communicate with you in a certain way. For example, you may ask that the Agency only conduct communications pertaining to your health information with you privately with no other family members present. If you wish to receive confidential communications, please talk with your assigned nurse or contact the Steele County Public Health Director or Privacy Officer Designee at (507) 444-7650. The Agency will not request that you provide any reasons for your request and will attempt to honor your reasonable requests for confidential communications.
Right to inspect and copy your health information. You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, including billing records. A request to inspect and copy records containing your health information may be made to the Steele Co. Public Health Director or Privacy Officer Designee at (507) 444-7650. If you request a copy of your health information, the Agency may charge a reasonable fee for copying and assembling costs associated with your request. The responsible authority shall comply immediately, if possible, with any request made pursuant to this section, or within ten days of the date of the request, excluding Saturdays, Sundays or legal holidays, if immediate compliance is not possible. Mn. Statute 13.04 subd.3.
Right to amend health care information. You or your representative have the right to request that the Agency amend your records, if you believe that your health information is incorrect or incomplete. That request may be made as long as the information is maintained by the Agency. A request for an amendment of records must be made in writing to the Steele Co. Public Health Director, 635 Florence Ave., Owatonna, Minnesota 55060. The Agency may deny the request if it is not in writing or does not include a reason for the amendment. The request also may be denied if your health information records were not created by the Agency, if the records you are requesting are not part of the Agency’s records, if the health information you wish to amend is not part of the health information you or your representative are permitted to inspect and copy, or if, in the opinion of the Agency, the records containing your health information are accurate and complete. The determination of the responsible authority may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act relating to contested cases. Mn. Statute 13.04 subd.4(a).
Right to an accounting. You or your representative have the right to request an accounting of disclosures of your health information made by the Agency for certain reasons, including reasons relate to public purposes. The request for an accounting must be made in writing to the Steele Co. Public Health Director, 635 Florence Ave., Owatonna, Minnesota 55060. The request should specify the time period for the accounting starting on or after April 14, 2003. accounting requests may not be made for periods of time in excess of seven (7) years. The Agency would provide the first accounting you request during any 12-month period without charge. Subsequent accounting requests may be subject to a reasonable cost-based fee.
Right to a paper copy of this notice. You or your representative have a right to a separate paper copy of this Notice at any time even if you or your representative have received this Notice previously. To obtain a separate paper copy, please contact your assigned nurse or the Steele County Public Health Director or Privacy Officer Designee (507) 444-7650. The patient or a patient’s representative may also obtain a copy of the current version of the Agency’s Notice of Privacy Practices at its website, www.co.steele.mn.us link to HEALTH.
DUTIES OF THE AGENCY-
The Agency is required by Federal and State law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide to you and your representative this Notice of its duties and privacy practices. The Agency is required to abide by the terms of this Notice as may be amended from time to time. The Agency reserves the right to change the terms of its Notice and to make the new Notice provisions effective for all health information that it maintains. If the Agency changes its Notice, the agency will provide a copy of the revised Notice to current clients or their appointed representative. You or your personal representative has the right to express complaints to the Agency and to the Office of Civil Rights, (866-627-7748) if you or your representative believe that your privacy rights have been violated. Any complaints to the Agency should be made in writing to the Steele Co. Public Health Director, 635 Florence Ave., Owatonna, MN. 55060. The Agency encourages you to express any concerns you may have regarding the privacy of your information. You will not be retaliated against in any way for filing a complaint.
The Agency has designated the Steele County Public Health Director or designee as its contact person for all issues regarding patient privacy and your rights under the Federal privacy standards. You may contact this person at Steele Co. Public Health, 635 Florence Ave., Owatonna, Minnesota 55060 and telephone number (507) 444-7650.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS NOTICE, PLEASE CONTACT THE STEELE CO. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR OR DESIGNEE.
EFFECTIVE DATE: April 14, 2003