NOTICE OF PROVIDER PRIVACY PRACTICES
NORTHWEST PSYCHOLOGICAL CENTER, P.C. must maintain the privacy of your personal health information and give this notice that describes our legal duties and privacy practices concerning your personal health information. In general, when we release your health information, we must release only the information we need to achieve the purpose of the use of disclosure. However, all of your personal health information that you designate will be available for release if you sign an authorization form, if you request the information for yourself, to a provider regarding your treatment, or due to a legal requirement. We must follow the privacy practices described in this notice.
However, we reserve the right to change the privacy practices described in this notice, in accordance with the law. Changes to your privacy practices would apply to all health information we maintain. If we change our privacy practices, you will receive a revised copy.
Without your written authorization, we can use your health information for the following purposes:
1. Treatment: For example, your therapist may use the information in your medical record to determine which treatment option best addresses your health needs. The treatment selected will be documented in your medical record, so that other health care professionals can make informed
decisions about your care.
2. Health Care Operations: We may need your diagnosis, treatment, and outcome information in order to improve the quality or cost of care we deliver. These quality and cost improvement activities may include evaluating the performance of your doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, or examining the effectiveness of the treatment provided to you when compared to patients in similar situations.
In addition, we may want to use your health information for appointment reminders. For example, we may look at your medical record to determine the date and time of your next appointment with us, and then send you a reminder letter to help you remember the appointment. Or, we may contact you in case you failed to keep an appointment, or to reschedule an appointment. We may also contact you if you leave a message to call you.
3. As required or permitted by law: Sometimes we must report some of your health information to legal authorities, such as law enforcement officials, court officials, or government agencies. For example, we may have to report abuse, neglect, domestic violence or certain physical injuries, or to respond to a court order.
4. For health oversight activities: We may disclose your health information to authorities so they can monitor, investigate, inspect, discipline or license those who work in the health care system or for government benefit programs.
5. For activities related to death: We may disclose your health information to coroners or medical examiners so they can carry out their duties related to your death, such as determining cause of death.
6. For research: Under certain circumstances, and only after a special approval process, we may use and disclose your health information to help conduct research. Such research might try to find out whether a certain treatment is effective in treating certain conditions.
7. To avoid a serious threat to health or safety: As required by law and standards of ethical conduct, we may release your health information to the proper authorities if we believe, in good faith, that such release is necessary to prevent or minimize a serious and approaching threat to you or the public’s health or safety, such as in the case of suicide or homicide.
8. For military, national security, or incarceration/law enforcement custody: If you are involved with the military, national security or intelligence activities, or you are in the custody of law enforcement officials or an inmate in a correctional institution, we may release your health information to the proper authorities so they may carry out their duties under the law.
9. For workers’ compensation: We may disclose your health information to the appropriate persons in order to comply with the laws related to workers’ compensation or other similar programs. These programs may provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
10. To those involved with your care or payment of your care: If people such as family members, relatives, or close personal friends are helping care for you or helping you pay your medical bills, we may release important health information about you to those people. You have the right to object to such disclosure, unless you are unable to function or there is an emergency. We may allow you to agree or disagree orally to such release, unless there is an emergency. It is our duty to give you enough information so you can decide whether or not to object to release of your health information to others involved with your care.
NOTE: Except for the situations listed above, we must obtain your specific written authorization for any other release of your health information.
If you sign an authorization form, you may withdraw your authorization at any time, as long as your withdrawal is in writing. If you wish to withdraw your authorization, please submit your written withdrawal to the Office Manager, who is the Privacy Officer.