Notice of Privacy Practices
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE: This notice describes our privacy practices and that of:
- The physician members of the hospital’s medical staff and credentialed, non-physician health care professionals who may provide care in the hospital
- All departments and units of the hospital
- Any volunteers who perform volunteer work in the hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, or other health care entity
- All employees, staff and other personnel at the hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, or other health care entities
- HH System
- HH Health System
- Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children
- Madison Hospital
All these entities, sites and locations follow the terms of this notice. In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or health care operations purposes described in this notice.
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive at this health care entity to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by this entity, whether made by entity personnel or your personal doctor. Unless your personal doctor is a member of a physician group listed at the beginning of this Notice, 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 own office or clinic.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to keep private medical information that identifies you; give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and follow the terms of the Notice of Privacy Rights currently in effect.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION:
The following describes the ways we may use and disclose health information that identifies you. For better understanding, we have provided some examples in each category. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
For Treatment. We may use your medical information to provide medical treatment or services to you. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, medical, nursing or other health care students, or other personnel taking care of you inside and outside of our Health System. We may use and disclose your medical information to coordinate or manage your care. As examples, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process, or the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so you can have appropriate meals. Departments within the Health System may share your medical information to schedule the tests and procedures you need, such as prescriptions, laboratory tests and x-rays. We also may disclose your medical information to health care facilities if you need to be transferred from a Health System facility to another hospital, a nursing home, a home health provider, rehabilitation center, etc. We also may disclose your medical information to people outside the Health System who are involved in your care while you are here or after you leave the Health System, such as other health care providers, family members or pharmacists.
For Payment. We may use and disclose your medical information so that the treatment and services you receive can be billed and collected from you, an insurance company or another company or person. As examples, we may give your insurance company (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, CHAMPUS/TRICARE, or a private insurance company) information about surgery you received so your insurance company will pay us for the surgery. We also may tell your insurance company about a treatment you are going to receive in order to determine whether you are eligible for coverage or to obtain prior approval from the company to cover payment for the treatment. We could disclose your information to a collection agency to obtain overdue payment. We might also be asked to disclose information to a regulatory agency or other entity to determine whether the services we provided were medical necessary or appropriately billed.
For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose your medical information for any operational function necessary to run the Health System and its facilities as a business and as a licensed/certified/accredited facility, including uses/disclosures of your information such as in the following examples: (1) Conducting quality or patient safety activities, population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing health care costs, case management and care coordination, and contacting of health care providers and you with information about treatment alternatives; (2) Reviewing health care professionals’ backgrounds and grading their performance, conducting training programs for staff, students, trainees, or practitioners and non-health care professionals; performing accreditation, licensing, or credentialing activities; (3) Engaging in activities related to health insurance benefits, (4) Conducting or arranging for medical review, legal services, and auditing functions; (5) Business planning, development, and management activities, including things like customer service, resolving complaints; sale, transfer or combine of all or part of the Health System entities and the background research related to such activities; and (6) Creating and using de-identified health information or a limited data set or having a business associate perform combine data or do other tasks for various operational purposes.
As additional examples, we may disclose your medical information to physicians on our Medical Staff who review the care that was provided to patients by their colleagues. We may disclose information to doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, medical, nursing or other health care students, and Health System personnel for teaching purposes. We may combine medical information about many patients to decide what services the Health System should offer, and whether new services are cost-effective and how we compare from a quality perspective with other hospitals/health systems. Sometimes, we may remove your identifying information from your medical information so others may use it to study health care services, products and delivery without learning who you are. We may disclose information to other health care providers involved in your treatment to permit them to carry out the work of their facility or to get paid. We may provide information about your treatment to an ambulance company that brought you to the Health System so that the ambulance company can get paid for their services.
Activities of Our Affiliates. We may disclose your medical information to our affiliates in connection with your treatment or other Health System activities.
Activities of Organized Health Care Arrangements in Which We Participate. For certain activities, the Hospital, members of its Medical Staff and other independent professionals are called an Organized Health Care Arrangement. We may disclose information about you to health care providers participating in our Organized Health Care Arrangement, such as a managed care or physician-Health System organization. Such disclosures would be made in connection with our services, your treatment under a health plan arrangement, and other activities of the Organized Health Care Arrangement. We operate under this Joint Notice for activities involving the Health System.
Important: The Health System may share your medical information with members of the Health System Medical Staff and other independent medical professionals in order to provide treatment, payment and healthcare operations and perform other activities for the Health System. While those professionals have agreed to follow this Notice and otherwise participate in the privacy program of the Health System, they are independent professionals and the Health System expressly disclaims any responsibility or liability for their acts or omissions relating to your care or privacy/security rights.
Health Services, Products, Treatment Alternatives and Health-Related Benefits. We may use and disclose your medical information in providing face-to-face communications; promotional gifts; refill reminders or communications about a drug or biologic; case management or care coordination, or to direct or recommend alternative treatments, therapies, providers, or settings of care; or to describe a health-related product/service (or payment for such product/service) that is provided through a benefit plan; or to offer information on other providers participating in a healthcare network that we participate in, or to offer other health-related products, benefits or services that may be of interest to you. We may use and disclose your medical information to contact and remind you of an appointment for treatment or medical care.
Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
Fund Raising Activities. We may use and disclose your medical information to raise money for the Health System. Huntsville Hospital Foundation is the Health System’s only fundraising entity. The Health System is allowed to disclose certain parts of your medical information to the Foundation, unless you tell us you do not want such information used and disclosed. For example, the Health System may disclose to Huntsville Hospital Foundation demographic information, like your name, address, other contact information, telephone number, gender, age, date of birth, the dates you received treatment by the Health System, the department that provided you service, your treating physician, outcome information, and health insurance status. You have a right to opt-out of receiving fundraising requests. If you do not want the Health System to contact you for fundraising, you can opt out by returning the pre-paid envelope or by calling 1-877-425-1850.