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.
THIS NOTICE APPLIES TO ALL OF THE RECORDS OF YOUR CARE GENERATED BY Worcester Eye Consultants, WHETHER MADE BY Worcester Eye Consultants OR AN ASSOCIATED ENTITY. Contact Peter Zacharia, MD at 508-791-8484.
Our staff understands that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a medical record that details the care and services you receive. We refer to this as protected health information (PHI). We need that record in order to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to any medical records generated by our office. While we may sometimes care for you during a hospital stay the hospital may have different policies and/or procedures and a separate notice about your medical information.
TREATMENT, PAYMENT, AND HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS
The most common reason why we use or disclose your health information is for treatment, payment or health care operations. Examples of how we use or disclose information for treatment purposes are: setting up an appointment for you; performing a physical examination; performing therapeutic or diagnostic tests; referring you to another doctor or clinic for additional or specialist services; or getting copies of your health information from another professional that you may have seen before us. Examples of how we use or disclose your health information for payment purposes are: asking you about your health insurance coverage or other sources of payment; preparing and sending bills or claims; and collecting unpaid amounts (either ourselves or through a collection agency or attorney). "Health care operations" mean those administrative and managerial functions that we have to do in order to run the Practice more efficiently and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. Examples of how we use or disclose your health information for health care operations are: financial or billing audits; internal quality assurance; reviewing our treatment and services to evaluate the performance of our staff; participation in managed care plans; defense of legal matters; business planning; and outside storage of our records.
In order to maintain the communications that allow for quick, effective, and high quality health care, we may release medical information about you to a family member or friend who accompanies you to your appointment unless you tell us not to.
Under most circumstances, we are not required to obtain a signed consent for Treatment, Payment, or Operations. However, we will ask you to sign an authorization for certain purposes such as release of PHI to a referring provider or for claims payment in order to comply with regulations.
We routinely use your health information inside the Practice for these purposes without any special permission. We will ask for special written permission in the following situations: research, legal requests, and marketing. We will also ask for your written authorization before we disclose PHI that pertains to HIV, AIDS, mental health treatment or substance abuse.
USES AND DISCLOSURES FOR OTHER REASONS WITHOUT PERMISSION
In some limited situations, the law allows or requires us to use or disclose your health information without your permission. Not all of these situations will apply to us; some may never come up at our office at all. Such uses or disclosures are:
We may call, write, or email to remind you of scheduled appointment that it is time to make a routine appointment or to follow up after a procedure. We may also call or write to notify you of other treatments or services available at our office that might help you. Unless you object, this contact may be on an answering machine or other method, which could (potentially) be received or intercepted by others. This call or message may be to a home or work number. In writing, you can ask us to use other methods and we will consider your request and determine our ability to comply.
OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES
We will not make any other uses or disclosures of your health information unless you sign a written "authorization form." Federal law determines the content of an "authorization form". Sometimes, we may initiate the authorization process if the use or disclosure is our idea. Sometimes, you may initiate the process if it is your idea for us to send your information to someone else. Typically, in this situation you will give us a properly completed authorization form or you can use one of ours.
If we initiate the process and ask you to sign an authorization form, you do not have to sign it. If you do not sign the authorization, we cannot make the use or disclosure. If you do sign the authorization, you may revoke it at any time unless we have already acted in reliance upon it. Revocations must be in writing. Send them to the contact person named at the beginning of this Notice.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION The law gives you many rights regarding your health information.
OUR NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
By law, we must abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices. We reserve the right to change this notice at any time as allowed by law. If we change this Notice, the new privacy practices will apply to your health information that we already have as well as to such information that we may generate in the future. If we change our Notice of Privacy Practices, we will post the new notice in our office, have copies available in our office, and post it on our Web site.
If you think that we have not properly respected the privacy of your health information, you are free to complain to us or to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. We will not retaliate against you if you make a complaint. If you want to complain to us, send a written complaint to the contact person at the address shown at the beginning of this Notice. If you prefer, you can discuss your complaint in person or by phone.
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