EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can obtain access to this information. Please review it carefully.
Our Promise To You, Our Patients
Your information is important and confidential. Our ethics and policies require that your information be held in strict confidence.
We maintain protocols to ensure the security and confidentiality of your personal information. We have physical security in our building, passwords to protect databases, compliance audits, and virus/intrusion detection software. Within our facility, access to your information is limited to those who need it to perform their jobs.
At the offices of Glacial Ridge Health System, we are committed to treating and using protected health information about you responsibly. This Notice of Privacy Practices describes the personal information we collect, and how and when we use or disclose that information. It also describes your rights as they relate to your protected health information.
This Notice is effective September 23, 2013, and applies to all protected health information as defined by federal regulations.
Understanding Your Health Record
Each time you visit Glacial Ridge Health System, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnosis, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your medical record, serves as a:
- Basis for planning your care and treatment,
- Means of communication among the many 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 actually provided,
- Tool in educating health professionals,
- Source of data for medical research,
- Source of information for public health officials charged to improve the health of the state and nation,
- Tool by which we can assess and continually work to improve the care we render and outcomes we achieve.
Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to: 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 Information Rights
Although your medical record is the physical property of Glacial Ridge Health System, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:
- Obtain a paper copy of this notice of privacy policies upon request,
- Inspect and obtain a copy of this notice of privacy policies provided by 45 CFR 164.524 (reasonable copy fees apply in accordance with state law),
- Amend your health record as provided by 45 CFR 164.526,
- Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information as provided by 45 CFR 164.528,
- Request confidential communications of your health information as provided by 45 CFR 164.522(b),
- Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information as provided by 45 CFR 164.522(a) (however, we are not required by law to agree to a requested restriction except in case of a disclosure restricted pursuant to 45 CFR 164.522(a)(1)(vi), and,
- Restrict disclosures of your protected health information to a health plan with respect to health care for which you have paid out of pocket in full as provided by 45 CFR 164.522(a)(1)(vi).
Our practice is required to:
- Maintain the privacy of your 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, and
- Accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate your health information, and
- Notify affected individuals of a breach of unsecured protected health information.
We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. We will keep a posted copy of the most current notice in our facility. In addition, each time you visit our facility for treatment, you may obtain a copy of the current notice in effect upon request.
For More Information or to Report a Problem
If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact our facility’s Privacy Officer at 320.634.4521.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can either file a complaint with the Privacy Officer, or with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OCR). There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint with either our facility or the OCR.
The address for the OCR regional office for Minnesota is as follows:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
233 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 240
Chicago, IL 60601
Examples of Disclosures for Treatment, Payment, and Health Operations
We will use your health information for treatment.
We may provide medical information about you to health care providers, our facility personnel, or third parties who are involved in the provision, management, or coordination of your care.
Information obtained by a nurse, physician or other member of your health care team will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your medical information will be shared among health care professionals involved in your care.
We will also provide your other physician(s) or subsequent health care provider(s) (when applicable) with copies of various reports that should assist them in treating you.
We will use your health information for payment.
We may disclose your information so that we can collect or make payment for the health care services you receive.
If you participate in a health insurance plan, we will disclose necessary information to that plan to obtain payment for your care.
We will use your health information for regular health operations.
We may disclose your health information for our routine operations. These are necessary for certain administrative, financial, legal, and quality improvement activities that are necessary to run our practice and support the core functions.
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 health care and service we provide and to reduce health care costs.
Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to a coroner, medical examiner, or funeral director.
We may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
We may disclose information to researchers when their research has been approved and the researcher has obtained a required waiver from the Institutional Review Board/Privacy Board, who has reviewed the research proposal.
Organ Procurement Organizations
Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of donation and transplant.
As Required by Law
We may disclose health information as required by law. This may include reporting a crime; responding to a court order, grand jury subpoena, warrant, discovery request, or other legal process; or complying with health oversight activities, such as audits, investigations, and inspections necessary to ensure compliance with government regulations and civil rights laws.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
We 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 replacements.
Specialized Government Functions
We may disclose health information for military and veterans affairs or national security and intelligence activities.
There are some services provided in our organization through contacts with business associates. Some examples are billing or transcription services we may use. Due to the nature of business associates’ services, they must receive your health information in order to perform the jobs we’ve asked them to do. To protect your health information, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
We may contact you to provide information about treatment alternative or other health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you (for example, to notify you of any new tests or services we may be offering).
We may use or disclose information to your personal representative (person legally responsible for your care and authorized to act on your behalf in making decisions related to your health care).
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health/Safety
We may disclose your information when we believe in good faith that this is necessary to prevent a serious threat to your safety or that of another person. This may include cases of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
Communication with Family
Unless you object, health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member or close personal friend health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care. We may notify these individuals of your location and general condition.
Unless you object, we may disclose health information about you to an organization assisting in a disaster relief effort.
For all non-routine operations, including for marketing purposes, we will obtain your written authorization before disclosing your protected health information. In addition, we take great care to safeguard your information in every way that we can to minimize any incidental disclosures.
The sale of protected health information without your express written authorization is strictly prohibited.