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Privacy Policy

Huntsville Hospital 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. Huntsville Hospital shares this Notice with others who participate in an Organized Health Care Arrangement (OHCA). This includes the University of Alabama in Birmingham students and medical residents, physicians, allied health practitioners, emergency transportation services, Health Group of Alabama and others in this joint arrangement. This Notice and arrangement establishes a standard for all healthcare professionals in the uses and disclosure of PHI at all Huntsville Hospital facilities.

Huntsville Hospital Has a Legal Duty to Safeguard Your Protected Health Information (PHI)
Protected Health Information or PHI includes information, such as name, address, etc. that can be used to identify you. It is information about your past, present or future health condition or payment for healthcare. Huntsville Hospital (HH) must offer you this notice about our privacy practices that explains how, when and why HH uses and discloses your PHI. With some exceptions, HH will not use or disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the intended purpose. HH is legally required to follow the privacy practices that are described in this Notice.

Understanding Your Health Record and Information
Each time you visit a hospital, physician or other healthcare provider, 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 information 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 healthcare professionals
• A source of data for medical research and/or studies
• A source of information for public health officials charged with improving and monitoring the health of the nation
• A source of data for facility planning and marketing
• A tool with which HH can assess and continually work to improve

Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to:
1. Ensure its accuracy
2. Better understand who, what, when, where and why others
may access your health information
3. Make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosures to others

You Have the Right To:
• Ask that HH limit how it uses and discloses your PHI, but HH is not legally required to agree. You may not limit the uses and disclosures that HH is legally required or allowed to make.
• Choose how HH sends PHI to you. You may request communication by alternative means or at alternative locations.
• View or receive copies of your PHI at HH. You must make the request in writing. HH will respond to you within 30 days after receiving your written request. You will be charged a reasonable fee. HH may provide you with a summary or explanation of the PHI as long as you agree. In certain situations, HH may deny your request to access your medical record. You may have the denial reviewed.
• Receive a list of occurrences in which HH has disclosed your PHI. The list will not include uses or disclosures that you have authorized or those made for treatment, payment or healthcare operations. Also, the list will not include uses and disclosures for emergencies, for national security purposes or before 04/14/03. The list will include all other disclosures made in the last six (6) years unless you request a shorter time frame. HH will provide the first list to you at no charge.
• Correct your PHI if you believe that there is a mistake in your medical record or important information is missing. You must provide the request in writing and HH will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. HH may deny your request. Our written denial will state the reason and explain your right to file a written statement of disagreement.
• Obtain a paper copy of this notice. Contact the Privacy Officer at 256-265-4477 or view the Privacy Policy at www.huntsvillehospital.org.

Huntsville Hospital is Required to:
• Maintain the privacy of your health information
• Provide you with a Notice about HH’s legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your PHI
• Comply with the terms of this notice
• Notify you if HH is unable to agree to a request HH reserves the right to change our privacy practices and to make the new provisions effective for all health information. Should HH’s Notice of Privacy Practices change, HH will offer you a revised copy at your next visit.

How Huntsville Hospital May Disclose Your Protected Health Information (PHI)
The following is a summary of ways that HH may use and disclose health information about you.

• Treatment. HH may disclose your PHI to physicians, nurses, medical students and other healthcare personnel who provide you with healthcare services or are involved in your care. For example, if you are being treated for a knee injury, HH may disclose your PHI to the physical rehabilitation department in order to coordinate your care. HH will also provide your physician or subsequent healthcare providers with copies of various reports that would assist them in treating you once you are discharged from this facility.
• Payment. A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures and supplies used. The information that may be sent could include information relating to psychiatric illness, alcohol or drug abuse, HIV testing, AIDS or infectious diseases.
• Healthcare operations. HH may use or disclose your PHI for healthcare operations. For example, HH may use your PHI to evaluate the quality of healthcare services, for process improvement activities or to evaluate health plan performance. HH may also provide your PHI to our accountants, attorneys, consultants, health improvement agencies and others in order to make sure that HH complies with all laws.
• Business Associates. There are some services provided at HH through business associates that may not be covered entities. For example, HH may contract with billing services, accounting firms and healthcare consultants to assist in certain functions. HH will generally have a formal agreement requiring that patient information be maintained in a manner consistent with HH policies and procedures.
• Directory. Unless you object, HH will use your name, location and general condition in the facility directory. This information will be provided to people who ask for you by name while you are in our facility.
• Notification. HH may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative or another person responsible for your care.
• Communication with family. Healthcare professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose health information relevant to your care or payment to a family member, other relatives, a close personal friend or any other person you identify.
• Research/Studies. HH may disclose information to researchers that have been approved by an institutional review board. Also, HH may disclose PHI for independent studies that have been approved.
• Funeral directors. HH may disclose health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable laws to carry out their duties.
• Organ procurement organizations. Consistent with applicable law, HH 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.
• Appointment Reminders. HH 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.
• Fundraising. HH may contact you as part of a fundraising effort.
• Food & Drug Administration (FDA). HH may disclose to the FDA health information related to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, products and product defects, or post marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs or replacements.
• Workers Compensation. HH 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, HH may disclose your PHI to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing / controlling disease, injury or disability. These activities include but are not limited to reporting births, deaths, disease, injury, child abuse or neglect and domestic violence.
• Correctional Institution. Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, HH may disclose to the institution or agents any health information necessary for your health and/or the health and safety of other individuals.
• Military. HH may disclose Protected Health Information about active or veteran armed forces personnel to commanding officers, as allowed by law.
• Law Enforcement. HH may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena and/or court order. HH may also disclose PHI for indentification and location of persons suspected of crimes, fugitives, witnesses or missing persons.
• Health Plan. HH may disclose PHI to the sponsors of your plan for underwriting, premium rating and other activities related to healthcare claims.
• Oversite Agency. Federal law makes provisions for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorneys, provided that a workforce member or business associate believes in good faith that HH 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.
• Authorization. Other uses and disclosures will be made only with the individual’s written authorization. The individual may revoke the authorization. Reporting Complaints and Privacy Violations If you have questions or would like additional information, you may contact the Privacy Officer at 256-265-4477.
• Reporting Complaints and Privacy Violations. If you have questions or would like additional information, you may contact the Privacy Officer at 256-265-4477. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the HH Privacy Officer or with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.

To file a complaint with the HH Privacy Officer:
Call 256-265-4477.

To file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, contact:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
61 Forsyth St, SW • Suite 3870 • Atlanta, GA 30323

NOTE: The Patient Agreement and Acknowledgement document does not limit release of information to all third party payers, such as the Social Security Administration, Medicaid, Worker’s Compensation Carriers and governmental agencies that may be responsible in whole or in part, for payment in exchange for services rendered by HH or by physicians.

Effective Date 04/14/03
Published Date 04/17/07