Privacy Practices/HIPAA

Family & Nursing Care is committed to protecting your health information. Our Notice of Privacy Practices describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations, and for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. It also describes your rights to access and control your protected health information. Protected health information is information about you that may identify you and that relates to your past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services.

HIPAA and What it Means to You:

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) became a federal law in 1996. HIPAA is complex and has many components. Two major areas addressed by HIPAA include:

  • Privacy. It provides rules regarding how your health information may be used and disclosed.
  • Security. It requires specific security measures to protect health information that is sent or stored electronically.

Below is Our Notice of Privacy Practices:

Family & Nursing Care Notice of Privacy Practices

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED BY FAMILY & NURSING CARE (ALL REFERENCES TO FAMILY & NURSING CARE INCLUDE FAMILY & NURSING CARE, INC., AND ITS TWO SUBSIDIARIES FAMILY & NURSING CARE CLASSIC AND FAMILY & NURSING CARE SELECT) AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW THE NOTICE CAREFULLY.

Your health record contains personal information about you and your health that may identify you and that relates to your past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services. This information is referred to as Protected Health Information (“PHI”).

1. Understanding Your Health Record/Information

Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you ensure its accuracy, better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information, and make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.

Your Health Record/Information may contain information we have obtained about you from home care notes or information you have shared with us or the Caregivers, including your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This health or medical record, serves as a:

  • Basis for planning your care and treatment
  • Means of communication among the health professionals who contribute to your care
  • Legal document describing the care you received
  • Means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were provided
  • Tool to assess and continually work to improve our services
  • Source of data for planning and marketing
  • Source of information for public health officials

2. Our Responsibilities

We are required to:

  • Maintain the privacy of your health information
  • Provide you with a notice as to our 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 PHI by alternative means or at alternative locations

We may change the terms of our notice, at any time. The new notice will be effective for all PHI that we maintain at that time. Upon your request, we will provide you with any revised Notice of Privacy Practices.

3. Your Health Information Rights

Although your health record is the physical property of Family & Nursing Care, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:

  • Inspect and obtain a copy of your health record. 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.
  • Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your PHI. We will consider your request but are not legally required to accept it. If we accept your request, we will put any limits in writing and abide by them except in emergency situations. You may not limit the uses and disclosures that we are legally required or allowed to make.
  • Obtain a paper copy of this Notice upon request and/or request an email copy.
  • Ask us to amend your health record. If we deny your request, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with us, and your medical record will note the disputed information.
  • Request to receive confidential communications from us by alternative means or at an alternative location. We will accommodate reasonable requests and may condition this accommodation by asking you for information as to how payment will be handled or specification of an alternative address or other method of contact.
  • Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your PHI.
  • Revoke your authorization to use or disclose PHI except to the extent that action has already been taken.

4. How We May Use and Disclose Health Information About You

A. Uses and Disclosures That Do Not Require Your Authorization

Payment: We may use or disclose your PHI to receive payment for the services provided to you. Examples include making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, processing claims with your insurance company, or reviewing services to determine medical necessity.

Care and Treatment: We may use or share your PHI with other health care providers involved in your care and treatment for the purpose of providing, coordinating, or managing your care and related services. For example, information obtained by our Caregivers or nurses may be disclosed to hospitals, physicians, nurses, and other health care personnel who provide you with health care services or are involved in your care. We can also use and share client prescriptions and doses if the purpose of the discussion is to ensure appropriate care to the client.

Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose your PHI in order to support our business activities. Examples include quality assessment and improvement, employee review and training, protocol development, case management, and care coordination.

Federal, state or local law, judicial or administrative proceedings, or law enforcement requirements:  For example, we may make disclosures when a law requires that we report information to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of abuse or when ordered in a judicial or administrative proceeding or in response to a valid subpoena.

Public Health: As required by law, we may disclose your PHI to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.

Health Oversight: We may disclose your PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections.

Appointment reminders and health-related benefits or services: We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or in the course of providing you with information about other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.

Fundraising: We may contact you as part of a fundraising effort.

Workers Compensation: We may disclose health information to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.

Medical Emergencies: We may disclose your PHI if we believe, in good faith, that such disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your health or safety or to the health or safety of the public.

Deceased Patients: We may disclose PHI regarding deceased patients as mandated by state law, or to a family member or friend who was involved in your care or payment for care prior to death, based on your prior consent.

B. Uses and Disclosures Where You Have the Opportunity to Object

Communication with family, friends, or others: We may disclose your PHI to a family member, other relative, friend, or any other person you indicated is involved in your care or the payment of your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. We may also share relevant information with family and these other persons if we reasonably infer, based on professional judgment, that you do not object. When you are not present or it is impracticable because of emergency circumstances or your incapacity for us to ask you about discussing your care or payment with a family member or other person, we may share PHI when, in exercising professional judgment, we determine that doing so would be in your best interests.

Notification: We may use or disclose PHI to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or another person responsible for your care, about your location and general condition, unless you object in whole or in part.

5. Incidental Uses and Disclosures

Incidental uses and disclosures of PHI may occur. An incidental use or disclosure is a secondary use or disclosure that cannot reasonably be prevented, is limited in nature, and that occurs as a by-product of an otherwise permitted use or disclosure. Such incidental uses or disclosure are permitted only to the extent that we have applied reasonable safeguards and do not disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the permitted use or disclosure. For example, disclosures about a client made by a home care provider in the client’s home that might be overheard by other family members not involved in the client’s care would be permitted.

6. Effective Date

The Effective Date of this Notice is March 10, 2016.

7. Complaints

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with Family & Nursing Care’s Privacy Officer in writing or by calling 301-588-8200, or with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaintYou may also contact our Privacy Officer for more information about our privacy practices.