Introduction

 

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 practice, access to your information is limited to those who need it to perform their jobs.

 

At the offices of Texas Allergy Center, we are committed to treating and using protected health information about you responsibly. This Notice of Privacy Policies 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 April 14, 2003, and applies to all protected health information as defined by federal regulations.

 

Understanding Your Health Record

 

Each time you visit Texas Allergy Center 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:

 

 

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

 


Your Health Information Rights

 

Although your health record is the physical property of Texas Allergy Center, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:

 

 

Our Responsibilities

 

Our practice is required to:

 

 

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 containing the effective date in the top, right-hand corner. In addition, each time you visit our facility for treatment, you may obtain a copy of the current notice in effect upon request.

 

We will not use or disclose your health information in a manner other than described in the section regarding Examples of Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Operations, without your written authorization, which may revoke as provided by 45 CFR 164.508 (b)(5), except to the extent that action has already bee taken.

 


For More Information or to Report a Problem

 

If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact our practice’s Privacy Officer, Jane Lee, M.D., at (214) 370-5700

 

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can either file a complaint with Jane Lee, M.D., or with the Office for Civil Rights, US Department of Health and Human Services (OCR). There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint with either our practice or the OCR. The address for the OCR regional office for Texas is as follows:

 

Office for Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

1301 Young Street, Suite 1169

Dallas, TX 75202

 

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 practice personnel or third parties who are involved in the provision, management or coordination of your care.

 

For example:

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 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.


For example:

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 uses are necessary for certain administrative, financial, legal and quality improvement activities necessary to run our practice and support the core functions.

 

For example:

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 and to reduce healthcare costs.

 

Appointment Reminders

We may disclose medical information to provide appointment reminders (e.g. contacting you at the phone number you have provided to us and leaving a message as an appointment reminder)

 

Decedents

Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to a coroner, medical examiner or funeral director.

 

Workers’ Compensation

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.

 

Public Health

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.

 

Research

We may disclose information to researchers when their research has been approved and the researcher has obtained a required waiver from the Institutional Review/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 he 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.

Specialized Government Functions

We may disclose health information for military and veterans affairs or national security and intelligence activities.

 

Business Associates

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 ask them to do. However, to protect your health information, when these services are contracted we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.

 

Practice Marketing

We may contact you to provide information about treatment alternatives 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.)

 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

We may disclose to health information to the FDA 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.

 

Personal Representative

We may use or disclose information to your personal representative (person legally responsible for you 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.

 

Disaster Relief (Unless you object)

We may disclose health information about you to an organization assisting in a disaster relief effort.

 

For all non-routine operations, we will obtain your written authorization before disclosing your personal information. In addition, we take great care to safeguard your information to minimize any incidental disclosures.