Myers  Counseling  Group

HIPPA NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

 

I.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.  IT IS OUR LEGAL DUTY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI).

We are required by applicable federal and state law to insure that your PHI is kept private.  The PHI constitutes information created or noted by us that can be used to identify you.  It contains data about your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of health care services to you, or the payment for such health care.  We are required to provide you with this Notice about our privacy procedures. This Notice must explain when, why, and how we would use and/or disclose your PHI. Use of PHI means when we share, apply, utilize, examine, or analyze information within the practice; PHI is disclosed when we release, transfer, give, or otherwise reveal it to a third party outside our practice.  With some exceptions we may not use or disclose more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the use or disclosure is made; however, we are always legally required to follow the privacy practices described in this Notice. **This notice takes effect April 14, 2003, update on July 7. 2015 and will remain in effect until we replace it.

Please note that we reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice and our privacy policies at any time.  Any change will apply to PHI already on file with us.  Before we make any important changes to our policies, we will immediately change this Notice and post a new copy of it in my office and on my website.  You may also request of a copy of this Notice from us, you can view a copy of it in our office or on our website, which is located at www.myerscounseling.com.

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

For Treatment.  Your PHI may be used and disclosed by those who are involved in your care for the purpose of providing, coordinating, or managing your health care treatment and related services. This includes consultation with clinical supervisors or other treatment team members.  We may disclose PHI to any other consultant only with your authorization.

For Payment.  We may use and disclose PHI so that we can receive payment for the treatment services provided to you.  This will only be done with your authorization. Examples of payment-related activities are: making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, processing claims with your insurance company, reviewing services provided to you to determine medical necessity, or undertaking utilization review activities.  If it becomes necessary to use collection processes due to lack of payment for services, we will only disclose the minimum amount of PHI necessary for purposes of collection.

For Health Care OperationsWe may use or disclose, as needed, your PHI in order to support our business activities including, but not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. For example, we may share your PHI with third parties that perform various business activities (e.g., billing or typing services) provided we have a written contract with the business that requires it to safeguard the privacy of your PHI.   For training or teaching purposes PHI will be disclosed only with your authorization.

Required by LawUnder the law, we must disclose your PHI to you upon your request.  In addition, we must make disclosures to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of investigating or determining our compliance with the requirements of the Privacy Rule.

Without Authorization.  Following is a list of the categories of uses and disclosures permitted by HIPAA without an authorization.  Applicable law and ethical standards permit us to disclose information about you without your authorization only in a limited number of situations.

Medical EmergenciesWe may use or disclose your PHI in a medical emergency situation to medical personnel only in order to prevent serious harm. Our staff will try to provide you a copy of this notice as soon as reasonably practicable after the resolution of the emergency.

Family Involvement in Care. We may disclose information to close family members or friends directly involved in your treatment based on your consent or as necessary to prevent serious harm.

Health OversightIf required, we may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies and organizations that provide financial assistance to the program (such as third-party payors based on your prior consent) and peer review organizations performing utilization and quality control.

  1. Certain Disclosures Do Not Require Your Consent. We may use and /or disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:
  2. When disclosure is required by federal, state, or local law; judicial, board, or administrative proceedings; or, law enforcement.
  3. If disclosure is compelled by a party to a proceeding before a court of an administrative agency pursuant to its lawful authority.
  4. If disclosure is required by a search warrant lawfully issued to a governmental law enforcement agency.
  5. If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you are in such a mental or emotional condition as to be dangerous to yourself or the person or property of others, and if we determine that disclosure is necessary to prevent the threatened danger.
  6. If disclosure is mandated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services law.
  7. If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you tell us of a serious/imminent threat of physical violence by you against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims.
  8. For public health activities. If required, we may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies and organizations that provide financial assistance to the program (such as third-party payors based on your prior consent) and peer review organizations performing utilization and quality control.
  9. For health oversight activities. Examples: we may be required to provide information to assist the government in the course of an investigation or inspection of a health care organization or provider.
  10. For specific government functions. Examples: we may disclose PHI of military personnel and veterans under certain circumstances. Also, we may disclose PHI in the interests of national security, such as protecting the President of the United States or assisting with intelligence operations.
  11. For Workers’ Compensation purposes. We may provide PHI in order to comply with Workers’ Compensation laws.
  12. Appointment reminders and health related benefits or services. Examples: we may use PHI to provide appointment reminders. We may use PHI to give you information about alternative treatment options, or other health care services or benefits we offer.
  13. If an arbitrator or arbitration panel compels disclosure, when arbitration is lawfully requested by either party, pursuant to subpoena duces tectum (e.g., a subpoena for mental health records) or any other provision authorizing disclosure in a proceeding before an arbitrator or arbitration panel.
  14. If disclosure is otherwise specifically required by law. We may disclose your PHI if necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. If information is disclosed to prevent or lessen a serious threat it will be disclosed to a person or persons reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat, including the target of the threat.

14 Public Health.  If required, we may use or disclose your PHI for mandatory public health activities to a public health authority authorized by law to collect or receive such information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability, or if directed by a public health authority, to a government agency that is collaborating with that public health authority.

  1. 15. Deceased Patients. We may disclose PHI regarding deceased patients as mandated by state law, or to a family member or friend that was involved in your care or payment for care prior to death, based on your prior consent. A release of information regarding deceased patients may be limited to an executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate or the person identified as next-of-kin. PHI of persons that have been deceased for more than fifty (50) years is not protected under HIPAA.
  2. 16. Verbal Permission. We may also use or disclose your information to family members that are directly involved in your treatment with your verbal permission
  3. Certain Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have the Opportunity to Object.
  4. Disclosures to family, friends, or others. We may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other individual who you indicate is involved in your care or responsible for the payment for your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. Retroactive consent may be obtained in emergency situations.

With Authorization.   Uses and disclosures not specifically permitted by applicable law will be made only with your written authorization, which may be revoked at any time, except to the extent that we have already made a use or disclosure based upon your authorization.  The following uses and disclosures will be made only with your written authorization: (i) most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes which are separated from the rest of your medical record; (ii) most uses and disclosures of PHI for marketing purposes, including subsidized treatment communications; (iii) disclosures that constitute a sale of PHI; and (iv) other uses and disclosures not described in this Notice of Privacy Practices.

  1. Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in Sections IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC above, we will request your written authorization before using or disclosing any of you PHI. Even if you have signed an authorization to disclose your PHI, you may later revoke that authorization, in writing, to stop any future uses and disclosures (assuming that we haven’t taken any action subsequent to the original authorization) of your PHI to us.
  2. Specific authorization is required by you for the following use of PHI, of which has to be included in this Notice due to federal law but of which is not the practice of Myers Counseling Group
  3. Authorization is required for use of / or disclosure of “psychotherapy notes”, if those are maintained by the provider.
  4. Authorization is required if there are plans to use or disclose PHI for fundraising, a statement that the provider may contact them to raise funds and that the individual has the right to opt out of receiving these fundraising communications.
  5. Authorization is required if there are plans to sale PHI information otherwise the sale of PHI information is prohibited.

 

  1. I WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PHI

These are your rights with respect to your PHI:

A.The Right to See and Get Copies of Your PHI. If you ask for copies of your PHI, we will charge you no more than .25 per page.  We may see fit to provide you with a summary of explanation of the PHI, but only if you agree to it, as well as to the cost, in advance. Right of Access to Inspect and Copy.  You have the right, which may be restricted only in exceptional circumstances, to inspect and copy PHI that is maintained in a “designated record set”. A designated record set contains mental health/medical and billing records and any other records that are used to make decisions about your care.  Your right to inspect and copy PHI will be restricted only in those situations where there is compelling evidence that access would cause serious harm to you or if the information is contained in separately maintained psychotherapy notes.  We may charge a reasonable, cost-based fee for copies. If your records are maintained electronically, you may also request an electronic copy of your PHI.  You may also request that a copy of your PHI be provided to another person.

  1. The Right to Request Limits on Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI. You have the right to ask that I limit how we use and disclose your PHI. While we will consider your request, we are not legally bound to agree. If you do agree to your request, we will put those limits in writing and abide by them except in emergency situations. You do not have the right to limit the uses and disclosures that we are legally required or permitted to make.
  2. The Right to Choose How We Send Your PHI to You. It is your right to ask that your PHI to you at an alternate address (for example, sending information to your work address rather than your home address) or by alternate method (for example, via email instead of regular mail). We are obliged to agree to your request providing that we can give you the PHI, in the format you requested, without undue inconvenience.
  3. The Right to Get a List of the Disclosures We Have Made. Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an accounting of certain of the disclosures that we make of your PHI. We may charge you a reasonable fee if you request more than one accounting in any 12-month period. We will respond to your request for an accounting of disclosures within 60 days of receiving your request.  The list we give you will include disclosures made in the previous six year (the first six year period beginning 2003-2009) unless you indicate a shorter period.  The list will include the date of the disclosure, to whom the PHI was disclosed (including their address, if known), a description of the information disclosed, and the reason for the disclosure.  We will provide the list to you at no cost, unless you make more than one request in the same year, in which we will charge you a reasonable sum based on the set fee for each additional request.

 

  1. The Right to Amend Your PHI. If you believe that there is some error in your PHI or that important information has been omitted, it is your right to request that we correct the existing information or add the missing information. Your request and the reason for the request must be made in writing. You will receive a response within 60 days of my receipt of your request.  We may deny your request, in writing, if we find that: the PHI is (a) correct and complete, (b) forbidden to be disclosed, (c) not part of our records, or (d) written by someone other than us.  Our denial must be in writing and must state the reasons for the denial.  It must also explain your right to file a written statement objecting to the denial.  If you do not file a written objection, your still have the right to ask that your request and our denial be attached to any future disclosures of your PHI.  If we approve your request, we will make the change(s) to your PHI.  Additionally, we will tell you that the changes have been made, and will advise all others who need to know about the change(s) to your PHI.
  2. The Right to Get This Notice by Email. You have the right to get this notice by email. You have the right to request a paper copy of it, as well.

G.The Right to Receive Notification of Breach Confidentiality.  We have a duty to you to notify you if there is a breach of unsecured PHI.

Right to Request Confidential Communication.  You have the right to request that we communicate with you about health matters in a certain way or at a certain location.  We will accommodate reasonable requests.  We may require information regarding how payment will be handled or specification of an alternative address or other method of contact as a condition for accommodating your request.  We will not ask you for an explanation of why you are making the request.

Right to Request Restrictions.  You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the use or disclosure of your PHI for treatment, payment, or health care operations.  We are not required to agree to your request unless the request is to restrict disclosure of PHI to a health plan for purposes of carrying out payment or health care operations, and the PHI pertains to a health care item or service that you paid for out of pocket. In that case, we are required to honor your request for a restriction.

 

  1. HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PRIVACY PRACTICES

If in your opinion, we may have violated your privacy rights, or if you object to a decision we made about access to your PHI, you are entitled to file a complaint with the person listed in Section VI below.  You may also send a written complaint to the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Ave. S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201.  If you file a complaint about our privacy practices, we will take no retaliatory action against you.

  1. PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PRIVACY PRACTICES

If you have any questions about this notice or any complaints about our privacy practices, or would like to know how to file a complaint with the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services, please contact

Mark Myers, Myers Counseling Group, 300 Memorial Drive Ste. 200 Crystal Lake, IL 60014 815-308-3368 ext. 100 mark@myerscounseling.com

VII. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE

This notice went into effect April 2003 with updates in July of 2015