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NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
EFFECTIVE DATE- April 14, 2003
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed
and how you can get access to this information.
PLEASE REVIEW THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY.
This notice applies to Southern Tennessee Medical Center/Emerald Hodgson Hospital, the doctors and other healthcare providers practicing at this facility. This notice also applies to The Rehab Center, The Women’s Center, The Sleep Center, The Wound Care Center, The Cardiac Rehab Center, The Senior Advantage Unit, Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit, Southern Tennessee Skilled Facility and Emerald Hodgson Healthcare Center.
It is our legal duty and we are required by law to protect the privacy of your information and to notify you of certain breaches of your information. We are providing this notice so that we can explain our privacy practices. We will follow the practices described in this notice or the current notice in effect. We reserve the right to change our policies and notice of privacy practices at any time. If we should make a significant change in our policies, we will change this notice and post the new notice. You can also request a copy of our notice at any time. For more information about our privacy practices or to place a complaint or report a concern or conflict, call the number listed below:
Southern Tennessee Regional Health System
Janice Dodson, Privacy Officer
Or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, you may call the toll-free number listed next and an attendant will handle your concern anonymously. 1-877-508- LIFE (5433).
You may also send a written complaint to the United States Department of Health and Human Services if you feel we have not properly handled your complaint. You can use the contact listed above to provide you with the appropriate address or visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/. Under no circumstance will you be retaliated against for filing a complaint.
We may use health information about you for your treatment purposes, to obtain payment, or for healthcare operations and other administrative purposes. For example, we may use your information in treatment situations if we need to send your medical record information to a specialist or physician as part of a referral for continuing care. We will send your health information and other identifying information to Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurance plans for our billing purposes. Your information will be used when processing your medical records for completeness and to compare patient data as part of our efforts to continually improve our treatment methods. We may disclose your information to our business associates we contract with to provide service on our behalf that requires the use of our health information. We may contact you or disclose certain parts of your health information to our associate or related foundations, for fundraising purposes. You have the right to opt out of receiving such fundraising communications. We may share certain information with a person(s) you identify as a family member, relative, friend, or other person that is directly involved in your care or payment for your care, or if it becomes necessary to notify these individuals about your location, general condition, or death. In addition we may need to disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief efforts so that your family can be notified about your condition, status, and location.
Under certain circumstances we may be required to disclose your health information without your specific authorization. Examples of these disclosures are: requirements by state and Federal laws to report cases of abuse, neglect, or other reasons requiring law enforcement; for public health activities; to health oversight agencies; for judicial and administrative proceedings; for death and funeral arrangements; for organ donation; for special government functions including military and veteran requests, and to prevent serious threat to health or public safety. We may also contact you after your current visit for future appointment reminders or to provide you with information regarding treatment alternatives or other health related services that may be of benefit to you. Most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes, those for marketing purposes, and those that constitute a sale of medical information will only be made with your written authorization. We will obtain your written authorization for any other disclosures beyond the reasons listed above. Do remember, if you do authorize us to release your information, you always have the right to revoke that authorization later. We will be happy to honor that request except to the extent that we may have already acted.
As a patient, you have rights regarding how your information can be used and disclosed. These rights include access to your health information. In most cases, you have the right to look at or receive a copy of your health information. This may take up to 30 days to prepare and there may be a preparation fee associated with making any copies. You can ask for an accounting of disclosures. This is a list of instances in which we have disclosed your information for reasons other than treatment, payment and operations that you have not specifically authorized but that we are required to do by law (see section on how your information may be used and disclosed). We can provide you one list per year without charge; all additional requests in the same year will be subject to a nominal charge. If you believe that the information we have about you is incorrect or if important information is missing, you have the right to request that we amend or correct the existing information. There may be some reasons that we cannot honor your request for which you submit a statement of disagreement. You can also request that your health information be communicated to you at an alternate location or address that is different from the one we received when you were registered. If you pay for your service in full up front, you can ask that we not disclose information about your treatment to your health plan. Finally, you can request in writing that we not use or disclose your information for any reasons described in this notice except to persons involved in your care or when required by law, or in emergency circumstances. We are not legally required to accept such a request but we will try to honor any reasonable requests.