Kinds Of Information That This Notice Applies To
This notice applies to any information in our possession that would allow someone to identify you and learn something about your protected health information. It does not apply to information that has been de-identified. De-identified information is information that does not contain any unique identifying demographics that would allow you to be identified.
How We May Use or Disclose Your Health Information.
We may use your health information, or disclose it to others, for several reasons. This notice describes these reasons. For each reason, we have written a brief explanation. We also provide some examples. These examples do not include all the specific ways we may use or disclose your information. However, any time we use your information, or disclose it to someone else, it will fit one of the reasons listed below.
- Treatment. We will use your health information to provide you with care and services. This means that our employees, staff, students, volunteers and others, whose work is under our direct control, may read your health information to learn about you and use it to make decisions about your care. For instance, a therapist or case manager may read your chart in order to care for you. We will also disclose your information to others who need it in order to provide you with medical and/or behavioral health treatment or services. For instance, to coordinate care we may send another behavioral health provider who you are seeing an assessment that we performed. If you authorize us to, we may also share and/or access information about you in a Health Information Exchange with other behavioral and medical health providers.
- Payment. We will disclose your health information, as necessary, to obtain payment for the services we provide to you. For instance, we may use your health information to prepare a bill. In addition, we may send that bill, and any health information it contains, to your insurance company. We may also disclose some of your health information to companies with whom we contract for payment-related services. For instance, we may give information about you to a collection company that we contract with to collect bills for us. We will not use or disclose more information for payment purposes than is necessary.
- Health Care Operations. We may use your health information for activities that are necessary to operate this organization. This includes reading your health information, and the information of others, to review the performance of our staff or to plan what services we need to provide, expand, or reduce. We may also provide health information to students who are authorized to receive training We may disclose your health information as necessary to others who we contract with to provide administrative services. This includes our lawyers, auditors, accreditation services, and consultants.
- Legal Requirement to Disclose Information. We will disclose your information when we are required by law to do so. This includes reporting information to government agencies that have the legal responsibility to monitor the health care system. For example, we may be required to disclose your health information if we are audited by an office of the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. We will also disclose your health information when we are required to do so by a court order or other judicial or administrative process.
- Public Health Activities. We will disclose your health information when required to do so for public health This includes reporting certain diseases, births, deaths, and reactions to certain medications. It may also include notifying people who have been exposed to a disease.
- To Report Abuse. We may disclose your health information when the information relates to a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will make this report only in accordance with laws that require or allow such reporting, or with your permission.
- Law Enforcement. We may disclose your health information for law enforcement purposes. This includes providing information to help locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person, or in connection with suspected criminal activity. We must also disclose your health information to a federal agency investigating our compliance with federal privacy regulations.
- Specialized Purposes. We may disclose your health information for several specialized purposes. We will only disclose as much information as is necessary for the purpose. For instance, we may disclose the health information of members of the armed forces as authorized by military command authorities. We may disclose your information to medical examiners and funeral directors; or for reasons of national security. We also may disclose health information about an inmate to a correctional institution or to law enforcement officials, to provide the inmate with behavioral health care, to protect the health and safety of the inmate and/or others. We may also disclose your health information to your employer for purposes of workers’ compensation and work site safety laws (OSHA, for instance).
- To Avert a Serious Threat. We may disclose your health information if we decide that the disclosure is necessary to prevent serious harm to the public or to an individual. The disclosure will only be made to someone who is able to prevent or reduce the threat.
- Family and Friends. We may disclose your health information to a member of your family or to someone else who is involved in your care or payment for care. We may notify family or friends if you are in the hospital and tell them your general condition. In the event of a disaster, we may provide information about you to a disaster relief organization, so they can notify your family of your condition and location. We will not disclose your information to family or friends if you object.
- Research. We may disclose your health information in connection with research projects. Federal rules govern any disclosure of your health information for research purposes without your authorization.
- Marketing. We may use your information to communicate with you about a drug or service that is currently being prescribed. Other communications where payment is received by Valley Behavioral Health is considered marketing and requires us to obtain an authorization from you prior to releasing such communication. If you do not want us to do this, contact the Valley Behavioral Health Privacy Officer whose information is listed at the end of this notice to “opt out” of such communications. Should you choose to “opt out” it will be treated as if it were a revocation of authorization.
- Fund Raising. We may use your information to contact you to ask for donations to Valley Behavioral Health. We may disclose your information to a related foundation for the same purpose. If you do not want us to do this, contact the Valley Behavioral Health Privacy Officer to “opt out” of such communications. Should you choose to “opt out” it will be treated as if it were a revocation of authorization.
- Reminders or information. 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. (if you do not wish to be reminded, notify your scheduler).
Our Right to Change This Notice
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices, as described in this notice, at any time. We reserve the right to apply these changes to any health information we already have, as well as to health information we receive in the future. Before we make any change in the privacy practices described in this notice, we will write a new notice that includes the change. We will post the new notice in the lobby areas of our treatment facilities and include the effective date.
Copies of this notice are also available at the front desk of Carmen B. Pingree treatment facilities. This notice is also available by e-mail. Contact the person named above or send an e-mail to: [email protected].