Notice of Health Care Information Privacy Practices
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed by The Homemakers Health Services and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.
The Homemakers Health Services may use your health information - information that constitutes protected health information as defined in the Privacy Rule of the Administrative Simplification provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 - for the purposes of providing you treatment, obtaining payment for your care and conducting health care operations. Your health information may be used or disclosed only after the Agency has obtained written consent from you. The Agency has established policies to guard against unnecessary disclosure of your health information.
Your medical information may be shared electronically, verbally, in writing, and through other ways of communication with other health care, medical personnel and/or others as deemed necessary to provide you with the utmost quality care.
Understanding Your Health Record/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, diagnosis, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as:
- A basis for planning your care and treatment.
- A means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care.
- A legal document describing the care you received.
- A means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided.
- A tool in educating health professionals.
- A source of data for medical research.
- A source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of the nation.
- A source of data for facility planning and marketing.
- A tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve.
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 informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.
The following is a summary of the circumstances under which, and purposes for which your health information may be used and disclosed after you have provided your written consent:
To provide treatment: The Homemakers may use your health information to coordinate care within the Agency and with others involved in your care, such as your attending physician and other health care professionals who have agreed to assist the Agency in coordinating care. For example, physicians involved in your care will need information about your symptoms in order to prescribe appropriate medications. The Agency may also disclose your health care information to individuals outside of the Agency involved in your care including family members, pharmacists, suppliers of medical equipment or other health care professionals.
To obtain payment : The Homemakers may include your health information on invoices to collect payment from third parties for the care you receive from the Agency. For example, the Agency may be required by your health insurer to provide information regarding your health care status so that the insurer will reimburse you or the Agency. The Homemakers also may need to obtain prior approval from your insurer and may need to explain to the insurer your need for home care and the services that will be provided to you.
To conduct health care operations: The Homemakers may use and disclose health information for its own operations in order to facilitate the function of the Agency and as necessary to provide quality care to all of the Agency’s patients. Health care operations include such activities as:
- Quality assessment and improvement activities.
- Activities designed to improve health or reduce health care costs.
- Protocol development, case management and care coordination.
- Contacting health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives and other related functions that do not include treatment.
- Professional review and performance evaluation.
- Training programs including those in which students, trainees or practitioners in health care learn under supervision.
- Training of non-health care professionals.
- Accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities.
- Review and auditing, including compliance reviews, medical reviews, legal services and compliance programs.
- Business planning and development including cost management and planning related analyses and formulary development.
- Business management and general administrative activities of the Agency.
- Fundraising for the benefit of the Agency and certain marketing activities.
For example, The Homemakers may use your health information to evaluate its staff performance, combine your health information with other Agency patients in evaluating how to more effectively serve all Agency patients, disclose your health information to Agency staff and contracted personnel for training purposes, use your health information to contact you as a reminder regarding a visit to you, or contact you as part of general fundraising and community information mailings (unless you tell us you do not want to be contacted).
For fundraising activities: The Homemakers may use information about you including your name, address, phone number and the dates you received care in order to raise money for the Agency. If you do not wish the Agency to contact you, notify the Privacy Officer at (603) 335-1770 or 1-800-660-1770, and indicate that you do not wish to be contacted.
Photographs - The Homemakers Health Services is authorized to take, utilize and release photographs and information of and about you for the purposes of explaining its services through public media and/or to be displayed in programming areas as well as for wound documentation. This consent may be revoked in writing, except to the extent that the organization has already taken action in reliance thereon.
You have the right to object to the use of your photograph and other personal information, both health and non health related for the above stated purposes and also have the right to request restrictions as to how this information may be used or disclosed. To request an objection or restriction, contact the Privacy Officer, The Homemakers Health Services, 215 Rochester Hill Road , Rochester , NH 03867-1701 , (603) 335-1770 or 1-800-660-1770.
For appointment reminders: The Homemakers may use and disclose your health information to contact you that you have an appointment for a home visit.
For treatment alternatives: The Homemakers may use and disclose your health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
The following is a summary of the circumstances under which, and purposes for which, your health information may be used and disclosed without first receiving your written consent.
When legally required. The Homemakers will disclose your health information when it is required to do so by any Federal, State or local law.
When there are risks to public heath, The Homemakers may disclose your health information for public activities and purposes in order to:
- Prevent or control disease, injury or disability, report disease, injury, vital events such as birth or death and the conduct of public health surveillance, investigations and interventions.
- Report adverse events, product defects, to track products or enable product recalls, repairs and replacements and to conduct post-marketing surveillance and compliance with requirements of the Food and Drug Administration.
- Under New Hampshire law, physicians and others are required to report to the commissioner of health the name, age, address and other identifying information of those suspected of or diagnosed as having a communicable disease. These reports and any other information gathered as part of a public health investigation or examination that identifies the individual investigated or examined may only be released to persons demonstrating a need that is essential to health-related research or to protecting the health of the public. Any release of information pursuant to this provision is conditioned upon the personal identities remaining confidential.
- Notify an employer about an individual who is a member of the workforce as legally required.
- New Hampshire maintains a cancer registry for the compilation and analysis of information relating to the incidence, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. All health facilities are required to provide a report to the cancer registry containing information regarding a cancer diagnosed or being treated. Reports that disclose the identity of an individual, who was reported as having cancer, may only be released to persons demonstrating an essential need for health-related research, except that the release is conditions upon the personal identities remaining confidential.
- The results of an HIV test performed by a laboratory or the department of health may only be disclosed to the physician ordering the test or the person authorized by the physician, and the commissioner of health in certain circumstances. The physician must disclose the test result to the person who was tested and must offer counseling. Generally, the identity of a person tested for HIV may not be disclosed without the tested person’s written authorization. All records and any other information pertaining to a person’s HIV test must be maintained by the department of health, a health care provider or any other entity, public or private, as confidential and protected from inadvertent or unwarranted intrusion. If the person who has a positive test result is under 18 or is mentally incapable of understanding the ramifications of a positive test result, the physician may disclose the test result to a parent or guardian. Furthermore, HIV-related information may be disclosed without the person’s consent to other physicians and health care providers directly involved in the health care of the person when the disclosure is necessary to protect the health of the tested person. This information may also be disclosed to a blood bank provided that the information remains confidential and protected.
To report abuse, neglect or domestic violence. The Homemakers is allowed to notify government authorities if the Agency believes a patient is the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. The Agency will make this disclosure only when specifically required or authorized by law or when the patient agrees to the disclosure.
To conduct health oversight activities: The Homemakers may disclose your health information to a health oversight agency for activities including audits, civil administrative or criminal investigations, inspections, licensure or disciplinary action. The Agency, however, may not disclose your health information if you are the subject of an investigation and your health information is not directly related to your receipt of health care or public benefits.
In connection with judicial and administrative proceedings. The Homemakers may disclose certain health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal as expressly authorized by such order or in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process, but only when the Agency makes reasonable efforts to either notify you about the request, obtain your written authorization to release such information or to obtain an order protecting your health information.
The State of New Hampshire does recognize a number of health care provider-patient privileges under which a patient, in legal proceedings, may refuse to disclose and may prevent others from disclosing confidential communications made with the professional for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. The Homemakers will comply with all State and federal laws in relation to disclosing health information in connection with judicial and administrative proceedings.
For law enforcement purposes : As permitted or required by State law, the Agency may disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for certain law enforcement purposes as follows:
- As required by law for reporting of certain types of wounds or other physical injuries pursuant to the court order, warrant, subpoena or summons or similar process.
- For the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person.
- Under certain limited circumstance, when you are the victim of a crime.
- To a law enforcement official if the Agency has a suspicion that your death was the result of criminal conduct including criminal conduct at the Agency.
- In an emergency in order to report a crime.
To coroner and medical examiners . The Homemakers may disclose your health information to coroners and medical examiners for purposes of determining your cause of death or for other duties, as authorized by law.
To funeral directors . The Homemakers may disclose your health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law and if necessary, to carry out their duties with respect to your funeral arrangements. If necessary to carry out their duties, the Agency may disclose your health information prior to and in reasonable anticipation of your death.
For organ, eye or tissue donation. The Homemakers may use or disclose your health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs, eyes or tissue for the purpose of facilitating the donation and transplantation.
For research purposes. The Homemakers may, under very select circumstances, use your health information for research. Before the Agency discloses any of your health information for such research purposes, the project will be subject to an extensive approval process
The Agency will always request your written authorization before granting access to your individually identifiable health information.
In the event of a serious threat to health or safety. The Homemakers may, consistent with applicable law and ethical standards of conduct, disclose your health information if the Agency, in good faith, believes that such disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your health or safety or to the health and safety of the public.
For specified government functions. In certain circumstances, the Federal regulations authorize The Homemakers to use or disclose your health information to facilitate specified government functions relating to military and veterans, national security and intelligence activities, protective services for the President and others, medical suitability determinations and inmates and law enforcement custody.
For worker’s compensation . The Homemakers may release your health information for worker’s compensation or similar programs.
Authorization to use or disclose health information. Other than stated above, The Homemakers will not disclose your health information other than with your written authorization. If you or your representative authorizes the Agency to use or disclose your health information, you may revoke that authorization in writing at any time.
Your Rights with Respect to Your Health Information.
You have the following rights regarding your health information that The Homemakers Health Services maintains:
- Right to request restrictions. You may request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information. You have the right to request a limit on the Agency’s disclosure of your health information to someone who is involved in your care or the payment of your care. However, the Agency is not required to agree to your request. If you wish to make a request for restrictions, please contact the Privacy Officer, at (603) 335-1770 or 1-800-660-1770.
- Right to receive confidential communications . You have the right to request that The Homemakers communicate with you in a certain way. For example, you may ask that the Agency only conduct communications pertaining to your health information with you privately with no other family members present. If you wish to receive confidential communications, please contact the Privacy Officer, at (603) 335-1770 or 1-800-660-1770. The Agency will not request that you provide any reasons for your request and will attempt to honor your reasonable requests for confidential communications.
- Right to inspect and copy your health information. You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, including billing records. A request to inspect and copy records containing your health information may be made to the Privacy Officer, at (603) 335-1770 or 1-800-660-1770. If you request your health information, the Agency may charge a reasonable fee for copying and assembling costs associated with your request.
- Right to amend health care information. You or your representative have the right to request that The Homemakers amend your records, if you believe that your health information is incorrect or incomplete. That request may be made as long as the information is maintained by the Agency. A request for an amendment of records must be made in writing to the Privacy Officer, The Homemakers Health Services, 215 Rochester Hill Road , Rochester , NH 03867-1701 . The Agency may deny the request if it is not in writing or does not include a reason for the amendment. The request may also be denied if your health information records were not created by the Agency, if the records you are requesting are not a part of the Agency’s records, if the health information you wish to amend is not a part of the health information you or your representative are permitted to inspect and copy, or if, in the opinion of the Agency, the records containing your health information are accurate and complete.
- Right to an accounting. You or your representative have the right to request an accounting of disclosures of your health information made by The Homemakers for any reason other than for treatment, payment or health operations. The request for an accounting must be made to the Privacy Officer, The Homemakers Health Services, 215 Rochester Hill Road , Rochester , NH 03867 -01701. The request should specify the time period for the accounting starting on or after April 14, 2002. Accounting requests may not be made for periods of time in excess of six (6) years. The Agency will provide the first accounting you request during any 12-month period. Accounting requests may be subject to a reasonable cost-based fee.
- Right to a paper copy of this notice. You or your representative has a right to a separate paper copy of this Notice at any time even if you or your representative have received this Notice previously. To obtain a separate paper copy, please contact the Privacy Officer. You or your representative may also obtain a copy of the current version of the Agency’s Notice of Privacy Practices at The Homemakers website, www.thehomemakers.org
Responsibilities of The Homemakers
This organization is required BY LAW to:
Maintain the privacy of your health information
Provide you with a notice as to your 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 alternative locations. (Electronic Transmission-faxing)