|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.
These Privacy Practices apply to the Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg & Calhoun Counties (RMC) including, without limitation, the following facilities: Express Healthcare–Santee (Urgent Care of RMC), H. Filmore Mabry Center for Cancer Care, Home Care of the Regional Medical Center, HEALTHPLEX at the Regional Medical Center, HEALTHPLEX-Santee, HEALTHPLEX-Branchville, HEALTHPLEX-Holly Hill, Holly Hill Diagnostic Center, Orangeburg Surgical Associates, RMC Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, South Carolina Orthopaedic Institute, Edisto Regional Health Services to include: Holly Hill Family Practice Associates, Dr. James Brunson, Dr. William Glenn (Bamberg and Denmark), North Family Practice, Dr. John Hayden, Dr. William O’Quinn, Dr. Robert Smoak, and St. Matthews Family Practice all of which are referred to as RMC in this notice. These Privacy Practices also apply to physicians, such as radiologists, pathologists, and anesthesiologists, while they are treating you at RMC. These physicians may not be employed by RMC but participate in an organized healthcare arrangement with RMC, and RMC and the physicians are permitted to use and disclose your health information among each other for their joint treatment, payment and healthcare operations.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR HEALTH RECORD AND HEALTH INFORMATION:
Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a
Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to ensure its accuracy, better understand who, what, when, where and why others may access your health information make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.
- basis for planning your care and treatment
- means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care
- legal document describing the care you received
- means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided
- tool in educating health professionals
- source of data for medical research
- source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of the nation
- source of data for facility planning and marketing tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve.
YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION RIGHTS:
Although your health record is the physical property of the healthcare provider or facility that compiled it, the information belongs to you. You have the right to request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information. This includes the right to obtain a paper copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices and upon request, inspect, and obtain a copy of your health record.
You have the right to request that RMC communicate with you in a certain way. For example, you may ask that RMC only conduct communications about your health information with you privately with no other family members present. If you wish to receive
confidential communications, please inform your admission personnel or your nurse. RMC will not request that you provide any reasons for your request and will attempt to honor your reasonable requests for confidential communications. You have the right to obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information, and the right to revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken.
If you believe that your health information records are incorrect or incomplete, you may request that RMC amend those records. That request must be made in writing to RMC’s Privacy Officer. The request to amend your health record may be denied if:
- the information you wish to amend is not maintained by RMC
- the request is not in writing or does not include a reason for the amendment
- your health information records were not created by RMC
- the records you are requesting are not part of RMC’s records
- the health information you wish to amend is not part of the health information you or your legal representative are permitted to inspect and copy
- in the opinion of RMC, the records containing your health information are accurate and complete.
This organization is required to maintain the privacy of your health information, provide you with a notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you, abide by the terms of this notice, notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction, accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations. We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our information practices change, we will provide a copy of the revised notice to you or your representative. We will not use or disclose your health information without your written authorization, except as described in this notice.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REPORT A PROBLEM:
If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact RMC’s Privacy Officer at (803)268-2100. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the Privacy Officer or with the secretary of Health and Human Services. You may also file an anonymous complaint with the National Hotline Service at 888-398-2633. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
EXAMPLES OF DISCLOSURES FOR TREATMENT, PAYMENT, AND HEALTHCARE OPERATIONS
- We will use your health information for treatment. For example: Information obtained by a nurse, physician, or other member of your healthcare team will be recorded in your record and used to determine your course of treatment. Your physician will document in your record his or her expectations of the members of your healthcare team. Members of your healthcare team will then record the actions they took and their observations. In that way, the physician will know how you are responding to treatment. We will also provide your physician or a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you once you’re discharged from this hospital.
- We will use your health information for payment. For example: A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used.
- We will use your health information for regular healthcare operations. For example: Members of the medical staff, the risk or quality improvement manager or members of the quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in an effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and service we provide.
- Business associates. There are some services provided in our organization through contacts with business associates. Examples include some physician and radiologist services, certain laboratory tests, certain pharmacy companies, medical transcriptionists 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 payer for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
- Directory: Unless you notify us that you object, we will use your name, location in the facility, general condition, and religious affiliation. This information may be provided to members of clergy and, except for religious affiliation, to other people who ask for you by name.
- Notification: We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or other person responsible for your care, of your location, and general condition.
- Communication with family: If you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to give your permission in advance, or if there is an emergency, Healthcare Professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend or any other person you identify, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
- 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.
- Funeral directors: We may disclose health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.
- Organ procurement organizations: Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
- Marketing: We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
- Fund raising: Unless you object, we may contact you as part of a fundraising effort.
- Workers compensation: We may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
- Public health: As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, disability, abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
- Health oversight activities: RMC may disclose your health information to government or other health agencies for activities including audits, civil administrative or criminal investigations, inspections, licensure or disciplinary action. We may not, however, disclose your health information if you are the subject of an investigation and your health information is not directly related to your receipt of healthcare or public benefits.
- Correctional institution: Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, we may disclose to the institution or agents thereof health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.
- Law enforcement: We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena. Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers, or the public.
EFFECTIVE DATE: April 14, 2003