NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
Introduction and CIS Pledge Regarding Medical Information
At Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS), we understand that medical information about you and your health in personal. CIS is committed to treating and using this protected health information about you responsibly. This Notice of Privacy Practices describes the personal health information we collect, and how and when we use or disclose that information. It describes CIS use and disclosure of your information in order 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 as they relate to your protected health information. This Notice was originally effective April 14, 2003 and was reviewed/revised in July 2013 and June 2016, and applies to all protected health information as defined by federal regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Understanding Your Health Record/Information
Each time you visit CIS, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as:
- A basis for planning your care and treatment
- A means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care
- A legal document describing the care you received
- A means by which you or a third-party payer can verify that services billed were actually provided
- A tool in educating health professionals
- A source of data for medical research
- A source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of this state and the nation
- A source of data for our planning and marketing
- A tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and the outcomes we achieve
Understanding what is in your record and how your protected health information is used helps you to: ensure its accuracy, better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your protected health information, and make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.
Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of CIS, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:
- Obtain a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices upon request. CIS will provide a copy of this notice to you upon your request.
- Inspect and copy your health record as provided for in 45 CFR 164.524. This means you may inspect and obtain a copy of the protected health information that is contained in your designated medical record for as long as CIS maintains the protected health information. Your designated medical record contains your medical records and any other records that your physician and the practice use for making decisions about you.
- Amend your health record as provided in 45 CFR 164.528. This means you may request an amendment of protected health information about you in your designated medical record for as long as CIS maintains this information. In certain cases, CIS may deny your request for an amendment. If we deny your request for amendment, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with CIS. CIS may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy of any such rebuttal. You may request an amendment through discussions with the CIS physician or practitioner or by sending written notification to the CIS Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 3692, Houma, LA 70361.
- Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information as provided in 45 CFR 164.528. This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment, or healthcare operations as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices. It excludes disclosures CIS may have made to you, family members or friends involved in your care, or for notification purposes. You have the right to receive specific information regarding these disclosures that occurred after April 14, 2003. The right to receive this information is subject to certain exceptions, restrictions, and limitations. You may request an accounting of disclosures by sending written notification to the CIS Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 3692, Houma, LA 70361.
- Request communications of your health information by alternative means or at alternative locations. CIS will accommodate any reasonable request. CIS officials may also 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. Please make this request in writing to the CIS Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 3692, Houma, LA 70361.
- Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information as provided by 45 CFR 164.522. This means you may ask us not to use or disclose any part of your protected health information for the purposes of treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. You may also request that any part of your protected health information not be disclosed to family members or friends who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as described in the Notice of Privacy Practices. Your request must state the specific restriction requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply. You may request a restriction by sending written notification to the CIS Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 3692, Houma, LA 70361. However, CIS physicians are not required to agree to a restriction that you may request. If the CIS physician believes it is in your best interest to permit use and disclosure of your protected health information, your protected health information will not be restricted. If the CIS physician does agree to the requested restriction, CIS may not use or disclose your protected health information in violation of that restriction unless it is needed to provide emergency treatment.
- Revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken. You may revoke your authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician's practice has on the disclosed or released information based on the original authorization.
CIS is required to:
- Maintain the privacy of your protected health information
- Provide you with this 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 health information by alternative means or at alternative locations
CIS reserves the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. CIS will post revised Notice of Privacy Practices on our web site at www.cardio.com. You may also call one of the CIS offices and request that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail. Privacy Notices are available in all of our offices and you can ask for a copy at the time of your next appointment.
HOW CIS MAY USE & DISCLOSE PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION
Treatment: CIS will use your protected health information for treatment. CIS may disclose medical information about you to physicians, nurses, technicians, medical or nursing students, or other office and hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you. CIS will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party that has already obtained your permission to have access to your protected health information. For example, CIS would disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you. CIS will also disclose protected health information to other physicians who may be treating you. For example, your protected health information may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.
In addition, CIS may disclose your protected health information from time-to-time to another physician or health care provider (e.g., a specialist or laboratory) who, at the request of your physician, becomes involved in your care by providing assistance with your health care diagnosis or treatment.
Payment: CIS will use your protected health information for payment. Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services. The information on or accompanying the bill my include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used. This may include certain activities that your health insurance plan may undertake before it approves or pays for the health care services such as; making a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits, reviewing services provided to you for medical necessity, and undertaking utilization review activities. For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.
Health Care Operations: CIS will use your protected health information for regular health operations. Members of the medical staff, the risk or quality improvement manager, or members of the quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in an effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and service we provide.
CIS may use or disclose, as-needed, your protected health information in order to support the business activities of your physician's practice. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of students, licensing, marketing and fundraising activities, and conducting or arranging or other business activities.
For example, we may disclose your protected health information to medical or nursing school students that see patients at our office. In addition, CIS may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk and may ask you to sign your name and indicate your physician. We may also call you by name in the waiting room when your physician is ready to see you. We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to contact you to remind you of your appointment.
CIS will share your protected health information with third party "business associates" that perform various activities (e.g., billing, transcription services) for the practice. Whenever an arrangement between CIS and a business associate involves the use or disclosure of your protected health information, CIS will have a written contract that contains terms that will protect the privacy of your protected health information.
CIS may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to provide you with information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. CIS may also use and disclose your protected health information for other marketing activities. For example, your name and address may be used to send you a newsletter about our practice and the services we offer. CIS may also send you information about products or services that we believe may be beneficial to you. You may contact our Privacy Contact to request that these materials not be sent to you.
CIS may use or disclose your demographic information and the dates that you received treatment from your physician, as necessary, in order to contact you for fundraising activities supported by our office. If you do not want to receive these materials, please contact our Privacy Contact and request that these fundraising materials not be sent to you.
Emergencies: CIS may use or disclose your protected health information in an emergency treatment situation. If this happens, CIS shall try to obtain your consent as soon as reasonably practicable after the delivery of treatment. If your physician or another physician in the practice is required by law to treat you and the physician has attempted to obtain your consent but is unable to obtain your consent, CIS may still use or disclose your protected health information to treat you.
Appointment Reminders: To assist CIS in the coordination of your care, CIS may use and disclose protected health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the office. CIS may arrange a recorded call to your phone to remind you of a scheduled appointment. At times, it may be necessary for CIS to leave a message with someone at your home or on your answering machine regarding your appointment.
Business Associates: There are some services provided in our organization through contracts with business associates. Some examples may include billing services, laboratories, radiology services, appointment reminder services, and copy services that
CIS may use when making copies of your health record. When these services are contracted, CIS may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we have asked them to do and bill you or your third-party payer for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, CIS requires the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
Notification: CIS may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or another person responsible for your care, your location, general condition, or death.
Communication with Family: CIS may disclose to a family member, other relative, or close personal friend protected health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care. You have the right to object and may request additional restriction of this information by completing a CIS Request for Additional Privacy Protection form and/or submitting your restriction request in writing. However, if CIS determines that the request is unreasonable under the circumstances, CIS may refuse the request. In certain cases, CIS may advise you that in order to treat you they cannot agree to the restriction.
Communication Barriers: CIS may use and disclose your protected health information if a healthcare professional in the practice attempts to obtain consent from you but is unable to do so due to substantial communication barriers and the healthcare professional determines, using professional judgement, that you intend to consent to use or disclose under the circumstances.
Research: CIS and its practitioners may be involved as a study site and serve as researchers in connection with certain clinical trials. CIS participation in the advancement of science and medicine may be of benefit to you as our clinicians may be aware of certain investigational treatments that may be available. However, in order to provide you with useful information concerning the availability of these treatments, CIS may review your medical record from time to time to determine whether you may be eligible to participate in certain studies in which you would potentially have access to certain investigational treatments. In certain instances, CIS may believe it is consistent with our treatment of you to consider these kinds of options in connection with your care. Only CIS clinicians, employees or other members of the CIS workforce will review your medical record during these reviews and none of your protected health information will be disclosed to third parties without your specific authorization. If it is preliminarily determined that you may be eligible for such treatment and that such treatment may be beneficial to you, your physician or a member of our staff will contact you with further information. CIS may disclose information to researchers when an institutional review board has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information.
Marketing: CIS may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. You may contact our Privacy Contact to request these materials not be sent to you.
Fund-Raising: CIS may contact you as part of a fund-raising effort. If you do not want to receive these materials, please contact our Privacy Contact and request that these fundraising materials not be sent to you.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): CIS may disclose to the FDA health information relative to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, product and product defects, or post marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacement.
Workers Compensation: CIS may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
Public Health: As required by law, CIS may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
Abuse or Neglect: CIS may disclose your protected health information to a public health authority that is authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. In addition, CIS may disclose your protected health information if we believe that you have been a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence to the governmental entity or agency authorized to receive such information. In this case, the disclosure will be made consistent with the requirements of applicable federal and state laws.
Correctional Institution: Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, CIS may disclose to the institution or agents thereof health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.
Law Enforcement: CIS may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena.
Health Oversight: Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that CIS has engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public. Oversight agencies seeking this information include government agencies that oversee the health care system, government benefit programs, other government regulatory programs, and civil rights laws.
Legal Proceedings: CIS may disclose protected health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal (to the extent such disclosure is expressly authorized), in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process.
Military Activity and National Security: When the appropriate conditions apply, CIS may use or disclose protected health information of individuals who are Armed Forces personnel (1) for activities deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities, (2) for the purpose of a determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs of your eligibility for benefits, or (3) to foreign military authority if you are a member of that foreign military services. We may also disclose your protected health information to authorized federal officials for conducting national security and intelligence activities, including for the provision of protective services to the President or others legally authorized.
Disaster Relief Efforts: CIS may disclose information regarding your general condition or last known address in the attempt to aid disaster relief efforts, when permitted by law.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors: CIS may disclose health information to coroners, medical examiners, or funeral directors consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.
Organ Procurement Organizations: Consistent with applicable law, CIS may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
Educational Purposes: CIS is involved in educational activities, such as providing training, conferences, and submission of medical articles. CIS may utilize your medical information and/or your medical images from your diagnostic studies for these types of educational activities and/or medical articles. However, if your medical information or medical images are used for educational purposes, your identity to that medical information will be removed or the information will be "de-identified”.
Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information Based upon Your Written Authorization
Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described above. You may revoke this authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician’s practice has taken an action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.
For More Information or to Report a Problem
If have questions about this Notice and/or would like additional information, you may contact the CIS Privacy Officer or Compliance Officer by mail at P.O. Box 3692, Houma, LA 70361, or call (985) 876-0300 or 1-800-445-9676.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the CIS Privacy Officer or Compliance Officer, or with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint with either the CIS Privacy Officer or the Office for Civil Rights.
The address for the OCR is listed below:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201