This Notice describes how “protected health information” about you may be used and disclosed, and how you can gain access to this information. Please review it carefully.
“Protected health information” is your health information or other individually identifiable information, such as demographic data, that may identify you. Protected health information relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition related to healthcare services.
This Notice of Privacy Practices describes how General Health may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, for payment, for healthcare operations and for other purposes permitted or required by law. This Notice also describes certain rights that you may have to access your protected health information. General Health is required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices.
The terms of this Notice may change at any time. The new Notice will apply to all protected health information acquired after it goes into effect. Upon your request, we will provide you with any historical Notice of Privacy Practices or you may obtain the most current copy by visiting the General Health website.Back to Top
Your protected health information may be used and disclosed by General Health, our staff and others outside of our offices who are involved in your care and treatment for the purpose of providing healthcare services to you. Your protected health information may also be used and disclosed to pay your healthcare bills and to support the operations of General Health. The following list, by way of example rather than limitation, explains certain uses and disclosures of your protected health information that General Health is permitted to make.Back to Top
General Health will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate or manage your healthcare and any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your healthcare with another provider. For example, General Health may disclose your protected health information, as minimally necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you.
General Health will also disclose health information to physicians or other healthcare providers 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, we may disclose your protected health information from time-to-time to another physician or healthcare provider (e.g., specialist or laboratory) who, at the request of your physician becomes involved in your care by providing assistance with your healthcare diagnosis or treatment. As another example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process.
General Health participates in certain Health Information Exchanges or Organizations (HIEs or HIOs).Back to Top
General Health may use and disclose your protected health information as necessary to obtain payment for healthcare services. This may include providing it to your health insurance plan before it approves or pays for recommended healthcare services so that it may make a determination of eligibility or coverage for insurance benefits. It may also include supplying the information to review services provided to you for medical necessity and to undertake utilization-review activities. For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health insurance plan to obtain prior plan approval.Back to Top
General Health may use or disclose your protected health information in order to support our business activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of medical students, licensing, fund raising activities, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. General Health may share your protected health information with “business associates,” or third-party organizations which perform services such as billing or transcription services on behalf of General Health. General Health has written contracts with our business associates to protect the privacy of your protected health information, and business associates are also required by law to comply with the same privacy and security requirements that apply to General Health.
General Health may use and disclose your protected health information to tell you about appointments and other matters related to your care. We may contact you by mail, telephone or e-mail. We may leave voice messages at the telephone number you provide to us, and we may respond to your e-mails.
General Health may use and disclose medical information to tell you about possible treatment options, new services or alternatives that may be relevant to your healthcare.Back to Top
General Health may use necessary protected health information to contact you in an effort to raise money for its operations. We may disclose protected health information to a foundation related to General Health so that it may contact you to raise money to support General Health, unless you tell us in writing not to contact you for this purpose.Back to Top
General Health may include limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient. This information may include your name, location in the hospital and your general condition (e.g., fair or stable). This directory information may be released to people who ask for you by name so that they may generally know how you are doing. If you do not want this information shared, please let us know. Also, your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy even if they do not ask for you by name.Back to Top
Unless you indicate otherwise, General Health may disclose to a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, the portion of your protected health information which directly relates to that person’s involvement in your healthcare. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary for your healthcare, if, based on our professional judgement, we determine that it is in your best interest. We may disclose protected health information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or any other person who is responsible for your care of your location, general condition or death. Finally, we may use or disclose your protected health information to an authorized public or private entity to assist in disaster-relief efforts.Back to Top
General Health performs medical research. General Health may disclose your protected health information to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure, among other things, the privacy of your protected health information. General Health may release information about you to researchers who need to know how many patients have a specific health issue in preparation for proposed research. If a doctor caring for you believes you may be interested in, or may benefit from, a research study, your physician and the research review committee will designate someone to contact you. This individual will see if you are interested in the study, provide you with more information and give you the opportunity to participate or to decline further contact.Back to Top
General Health may use and disclose protected health information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety, or the health and safety of another person or the public. However, any disclosure would only be to someone who is able to help prevent the threat.Back to Top
If you are an organ donor, General Health may release protected health information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation, or to an organ-donation bank as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.Back to Top
General Health may release protected health information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.Back to Top
General Health may disclose protected health information about you for public health activities and purposes to a public health authority that is permitted by law to receive the information. For example, disclosures may be made for the purposes of preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability; to report births and deaths; to report reactions to medications or problems with products; and to notify people of recalls of products that they may be using.Back to Top
General Health may disclose or use your protected health information to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; and to comply with state mandatory-disease reporting, such as cancer registries.Back to Top
General Health may disclose your protected health information to a public health authority authorized by law to receive reports of child abuse or neglect, and to notify the appropriate government authority if General Health believes a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure when required or authorized by law.Back to Top
General Health may disclose protected health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, inspections and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the healthcare system, government benefit programs and compliance with civil-rights laws.Back to Top
General Health may disclose your protected health information to a person or company required by the Food and Drug Administration for the purpose of quality, safety or effectiveness of FDA-regulated products or activities, which include: to report adverse events, product defects or problems, biologic product deviations; to track products; to enable product recalls; to make repairs or replacements; or to conduct post-marketing surveillance, as required.Back to Top
General Health 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) or in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process.Back to Top
General Health may disclose protected health information for certain law-enforcement purposes, such as: in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person; about the victim of a crime, if under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement; about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; about criminal conduct at the hospital; and, in emergency circumstances, to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.Back to Top
General Health may release protected health information to a coroner or medical examiner, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release protected health information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.Back to Top
General Health may use or disclose the protected health information of individuals who are Armed Forces personnel for activities deemed necessary by appropriate military-command authorities, for the purpose of a determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs of your eligibility for benefits or to foreign military authority if you are a member of that foreign military service. 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.Back to Top
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, General Health may release protected health information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary for the institution to provide you with healthcare, to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others, or for the safety and security of the correctional institution.Back to Top
As described above, General Health will use your protected health information and disclose it outside of General Health for treatment, payment, healthcare operations and when permitted or required by law. General Health will not disclose your protected health information for other purposes without your prior written authorization. These types of uses and disclosures will be made only with your written authorization. In addition, certain disclosures of your psychotherapy notes, mental health records, and drug and alcohol abuse treatment records may require your prior written authorization.Back to Top
You have the right to inspect and obtain an electronic or paper copy of your protected health information that may be used to make decisions about your care. This includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes. To inspect and obtain a copy of your protected health information, you must submit your request in writing to the General Health Health Information Management department. If you request a copy of the information, General Health may charge a fee for the cost of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.
General Health may deny your request to inspect and copy in some limited circumstances. If you are denied access to protected health information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed healthcare professional chosen by General Health will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.Back to Top
You have a right to request an amendment of the health information that General Health has in our records. Your request for an amendment must be made in writing, including a reason for the request and submitted to the General Health Risk Management department. General Health may deny a request for an amendment if it is not in writing and does not include a reason to support the request or requests for amendment of information that: was not created by General Health; is not part of the protected health information kept by General Health; is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or is accurate and complete.Back to Top
You have the right to request an accounting of disclosures. This is a list of disclosures General Health has made of your protected health information, excluding disclosures for treatment, payment, healthcare operations or disclosures you authorized in writing. To request an accounting of disclosures, submit your request in writing and include the specific time period (which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003) to the General Health Health Information Management department.
The first accounting of disclosure in a 12-month period is free. Additional accounting of disclosures may cost a fee; you will be notified in advance of any cost involved so that you may choose to withdraw or modify your request before incurring a cost.Back to Top
You have the right to request a restriction on the ways your protected health information is used or disclosed. To request a restriction, submit your request in writing to the General Health Risk Management department. The request should include what information you want to limit, whether you want to limit use or disclosure, or both, and to whom you want the limits to apply – for example, disclosures to your spouse. General Health is not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your restriction unless the information is needed to provide emergency medical treatment.
General Health will agree to restrict disclosures of your health information to your health insurance plan for payment and healthcare operations purposes (not for treatment) if the disclosure pertains solely to a healthcare item or service for which you paid in full.Back to Top
You have the right to request that General Health communicate with you about healthcare matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can request that you are only contacted at work or at a specific address. Such requests should be made in writing to the General Health Risk Management department and should specify how or where you wish to be contacted. General Health will accommodate all reasonable requests.Back to Top
You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices, even if you have agreed to receive this Notice electronically. You may also find a copy of this Notice on the General Health website.Back to Top
Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information not covered by this Notice or allowed by law will be made only with your written permission. If you provide permission to use or disclose protected health information, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, General Health will no longer use or disclose protected health information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. General Health is unable to take back any disclosures it may have already made with your permission.Back to Top
General Health reserves the right to change this Notice and to make the revised or changed Notice effective for protected health information we already have about you, as well as any information we receive in the future. The revised Notice of Privacy Practices will be posted on our website; you may also request that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail or obtain one at the time of an appointment at General Health.Back to Top
If you believe General Health has violated your privacy rights, you may file a complaint with General Health or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint. To file a complaint with General Health, please submit a complaint in writing to the General Health Risk Management department.
If you have further questions about this Notice of Privacy Practices, please contact the General Health Hospital Privacy Officer at 317.962.3597; General Health Physician Privacy Officer at 317.278.3500.Back to Top