The HSC Pediatric Center knows how important it is to keep your health information private. We want to assure you that we will make sure that your personal health information is used exactly how we say it will be used, according to the law and as we state in this notice.
For clarity in reading this, please understand that “health information” means information about you or your child’s health care. The term “personal health information” or “PHI” means health information and any other information that we have received while providing benefits to you or your child, such as your address and Social Security number.
This notice applies to the information and records we have about your health, health status, and the health care and service you receive at this facility. We are required by law to give you this notice. It will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose health information about you and describes your rights and our obligations regarding the use and disclosure of that information.
We have the right to change this notice at any time.
Patients Health Information
In providing health services, we may get health information from you, or other health care providers regarding your health care services and coverage, including health care claims and encounters.
We also may get medical history that includes the results of tests and notes written by doctors and nurses, as well as your name, address and telephone number. Each time you receive care from The HSC Pediatric Center, a record of your visit is made. This record has information such as notes about your child’s examination; symptoms, test results, diagnoses, and treatment(s).
How we protect the confidentiality of personal health information
We protect PHI by disclosing information about the patient only to those employees who need to know that information to provide products or services. We keep all PHI safe and secure. We do need to send information to some people (like doctors or hospitals or other billing departments) without asking permission each time. We do that only when the law allows. By law, the information given about you or your child cannot be shared with others, unless it is for the patient’s treatment, payment for services rendered or a part of HSC’s internal operations.
How we may use and disclose health information
The law says that we can use health information for “treatment,” “payment,” and “health care operations.” Here are some examples, (the list does not include every reason that information can be given):
- For Treatment. We may give information to doctors, nurses, technicians, office staff or other personnel who provide services.
- For Payment. We may use and give others personal health information about the patient when we need to decide on eligibility for coverage, coordinate care, review medical necessity, pay claims or review and respond to complaints. For example, while we work on claims, we get personal information about the patient to find out what services he/she actually received.
- For Health Care Operations. We may use and give others the patient’s personal health information for our health care operations. That may include quality improvement activities, accreditation, responses to inquiries, appeals or review programs. It may also be used for health promotion, case management and care coordination and general administrative activities. Sometimes it may be used for auditing, administering pharmaceutical programs and payments or in the facilitation of a sale, transfer or merger of all or a part of our organization with another organization. Our authorization form, which you or the patient is asked to sign, usually includes these activities.
Other permitted or required uses or disclosures. We may use or disclose health information about the patient without permission for the following reasons, allowed by law:
- To comply with responsibilities to federal or state oversight agencies who oversee health care. For example, sharing information with District of Columbia Department of Health inspectors.
- To researchers where all procedures required by law have been taken to protect the confidentiality of the data.
- To comply with a court order or other lawful process.
- To persons providing services to us. They have to make sure that they will keep all information safe and secure.
- To let the patient and authorized caregiver know about treatment alternatives or health-related benefits or services.
- Sometimes, we are allowed by federal and state law to give an agency health information about the patient without authorization. An example would be information to protect victims of abuse or neglect, to avoid a serious threat to health or safety, to track diseases or medical devices. We may also inform military or veteran authorities if the patient is an armed forces member. We may give information to coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors or for worker’s compensation, national security and anyone the law says we must give it to.
- We will give personal health information to organizations that handle organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank. We will do that to make it easier for organ transplants and organ donation.
- We are allowed to use personal health information about the patient in a way that does not personally identify the patient.
- We may give personal health information about you to your family members or friends if you agree to it in writing.
If you make a request, we will tell you what information was disclosed. We will also tell you who got it and why.
Other uses and disclosures of health information
We will not use or tell anyone about personal health information for any reason other than those mentioned above, unless we have your written Authorization. We must obtain Authorization separate from any Consent we have received from you in the past. If we are given Authorization to use or disclose health information, the authorization may be revoked or stopped in writing, at any time. If the Authorization is stopped, we will no longer use or give anyone else information about the patient for the reasons covered by the written Authorization. We cannot take back any uses or disclosures already made with the patient or authorized caregiver permission.
If we have HIV or substance abuse information about the patient, we cannot release that information without a special signed, written authorization (different than the Authorization and Consent we talked about above). We will have to have both a signed Consent and a special written Authorization, according to law. There are special laws for HIV or substance abuse records.
All consents/authorizations must be obtained from the patient or authorized caregiver.
Rights regarding health information
Patients or authorized caregivers have the following rights regarding health information:
- Right to look at and copy health information
Patients or authorized caregivers have the right to look at and copy your (or your child’s) health information, such as medical and billing records, that we use to make decisions about care, except for psychotherapy notes or other limited circumstances. We need a written request from you before you may look at and/or receive a copy of the patient’s health information. A fee may be charged for the costs of copying, mailing or other associated supplies.
- Right to Amend the Record
If patient and/or authorized caregiver believes the health information we have is not right, the patient or authorized caregiver may ask us to change the information. If we do not let you change the information, we will tell you why in writing.
- Right to an Accounting of Disclosures
Patients and/or authorized caregivers have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures." This is a list of who we have given medical information about the patient for purposes other than treatment, payment and health care operations. To get this list, the patient and/or authorized caregiver must submit a request in writing and state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003 . We will provide the patient/caregiver with the list free of charge unless we have already provided the patient/caregiver with a list within the same 12 month period. We will temporarily suspend a patient/caregiver’s right to receive an accounting of disclosures in certain circumstances, as defined by law.
- Right to Request Restrictions (Limits)
The patient/caregiver has the right to request a restriction or limitation on the health information we use or give someone else about the patient for treatment, payment or health care operations. The patient/caregiver also has the right to request a limit on the health information we give about the patient to someone who is involved in the patient’s care or the payment for it. Under the law, we do not have to agree to a requested restriction.
- Right to Confidential Communications
Sometimes, the patient/caregiver has the right to request that health information be talked about in a particular place or in a certain way. We will agree to all reasonable requests.
- Right to Revoke Consent
The patient has the right to revoke Consent at any time by giving us written notice. Your revocation will be effective when we receive it, but it will not apply to any uses and disclosures, which occurred before that time. If you do revoke your Consent, we will not be permitted to use or disclose information for purposes of treatment, payment or health care operations, and we may therefore choose to discontinue providing you with health care treatment and services.
- Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice
The patient/ caregiver has the right to a paper copy of this notice and may ask for it at any time.
Changes to this notice
We can change this notice, and make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about the member. Or we can change it for any information we received in the future. We will post a summary of the current notice with its effective date in the top right hand corner. The patient/caregiver can always get a copy of the notice currently in effect.
For more information or to report a complaint
If you believe that privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the Secretary, write to: 200 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20201, or call 1-877-696-6775. To file a complaint with our office: contact the HSC Privacy Officer at 202-454-1223 or The HSC Foundation, 2013 H Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20006.