Notice of Privacy Practices
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.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Privacy Officer by dialing (304) 766-3600 or toll free 1-877-872-8254.
Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other health care provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains a description of your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, a plan for future care or treatment, and billing-related information. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by the hospital, whether made by hospital personnel, agents of the hospital, 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.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and provide you with a description of our privacy practices. We will abide by the terms of this notice.
Uses and Disclosures
How we may use and disclose Medical Information about you.
The following categories describe examples of the way we use and disclose medical information:
For Treatment: We may use medical information about you to provide you with 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 area 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. Different departments of the hospital also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you may need, such as prescriptions, lab work, meals, and x-rays.
We may also provide your physician or subsequent health care provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you once you're discharged from the hospital.
For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about your treatment and services to bill and collect payment from you, your insurance company or a third-party payor. For example, we may need to give your insurance company information about your surgery so they will pay us or reimburse you for the treatment.
We may also tell your health plan about treatment you are going to receive to determine whether your plan will cover it.
For Health Care Operations: Members of the medical staff and/or quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. The results will then be used to continually improve the quality of care for all patients we serve. For example, we may combine medical information about many patients to evaluate the need for new services or treatment. We may disclose information to doctors, nurses, and other students for education purposes. And we may combine medical information we have with that of other hospitals to see where we can make improvements. We may remove information that identities you from this set of medical information to protect your privacy.
We may also use and disclose medical information:
- To business associates we have contract with to perform and agreed-upon service and billing for it;
- To remind you that you have an appointment for medical care;
- To assess your satisfaction with our services;
- To tell you about possible treatment alternatives;
- To tell you about health-related benefits or services;
- To inform Funeral Directors consistent with applicable law;
- For population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing health care costs;
- For conducting training programs or reviewing competence of health care professionals.
Business Associates: There are some services provided in our organization through contracts with business associates. Examples include certain laboratory tests and a copy service we use when making copies of your health record. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we've asked them to do and bill you or your third-party payor for the services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
Directory: We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at the hospital. The information may include your name, general condition and location in the hospital. This information may be provided to members of the clergy and to other people who ask for you by name unless you request not to be included in the directory. You will be given the opportunity to "opt out" of being included in the hospital directory. Phone calls and visitors will not be directed to patients who elect not to be included in the directory. Mail and flowers will not be delivered and will be returned to the sender or florist. Behavioral Health patients will not be included in the Facility Directory.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for your Care: We may release medical information about you to a friend, designated representative or family member who is involved in your medical care or who helps pay for your care. 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: We may disclose information to researchers when an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information has approved their research.
Future Communications: We may communicate to you via newsletters, mail-pits or other means regarding treatment options, health-related information, disease-management programs, wellness programs, or other community-based initiatives or activities our facility is participating in.
Future Communications: We may communicate to you via newsletters, mail-outs or other means regarding treatment options, health-related information, disease-management programs, wellness programs, or other community-based initiatives or activities our facility is participating in.
Organized Health Care Arrangements: This facility and its medical staff members have organized and are presenting you this document as a joint notice. Information will be shared as necessary to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations. Physicians and caregivers may have access to protected health information in their offices to assist in reviewing past treatment as it may affect treatment at the time.
As required by law, we may also use and disclose health information for the following types of entities, including but not limited to:
Law Enforcement/Legal Proceedings: We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to valid subpoena.
- Food and Drug Administration
- Public Health or Legal Authorities charged with preventing of controlling disease, injury or disability
- Correctional Institutions
- Worker's Compensation Agents
- Organ and Tissue Donation Organizations
- Military Command Authorities
- Health Oversight Agencies
- Funeral Directors, Coroners and Medical Directors
- National Security and Intelligence Agencies
- Protective Services for the President and others
Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of the health care practitioner or facility that compiled it, you have the 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. We may deny your request to inspect and copy 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 the review.
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. We may deny your request for an amendment and if this occurs, you will be notified of the reason for the denial.
An Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an accounting of disclosures. This is a list of certain disclosures we make of your medical information for purposes other than treatment, payment or health care operations.
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 of your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery you had.
We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
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 may ask that we contact you at work or by U.S. Mail. The facility will grant requests for confidential communications at alternative locations and/or via alternative means only if the request is submitted in writing and the written request includes a mailing address where the individual will receive bills for services rendered by the facility and related correspondence regarding payment for services. Please realize that we reserve the right to contact you by other means and at other locations if you fail to respond to any communication from us that requires a response. We will notify you in accordance with your original request prior to attempting to contact you by other means or at another location.
A Paper Copy of this Notice: You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. Even if you have access to this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy.
To exercise any of your rights, please submit your request in writing to:
Thomas Memorial Hospital
Medical Records Department
4605 MacCorkle Avenue SW
South Charleston, WV 25309
Changes to this Notice: We reserve the right to change this notice and the revised or changed notice will be effective for information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. The current notice will be posted in the hospital and include the effective date. In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to the hospital for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, a copy of the current notice in effect will be made available to you.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the hospital by contacting the Privacy Officer at (304) 766-3600 or 1-877-872-8254. All complaints must then be submitted in writing.
You will not be penalized in any way for filing a complaint.
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 permission. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that 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. Understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we may have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you. Applicable Federal and State guidelines will be followed for patients receiving Behavioral Health Services.