Effective: September 1, 2012
We respect our legal obligation to keep health information that might identify you private. We are obligated by law to provide you with notice of our privacy practices. This notice describes how we protect your health information and what rights you have regarding it.
TREATMENT, PAYMENT, AND HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS
The most common reasons we would use or disclose your health information is for treatment, payment, or business operations. We routinely use and disclose your medical information within the office on a daily basis. We do not need specific permission to use or disclose your medical information in the following matters, although you have the right to request that we do not.
Examples of how we might use or disclose health information for treatment purposes might include:
Setting up or changing appointments including leaving messages with those at your home or office who may answer the phone or leaving messages on answering machines, voice mails or emails; calling your name out in a reception room environment; prescribing glasses, contact lenses, or medications as well as relaying this information to suppliers by phone, fax or other electronic means including initial prescriptions and requests from suppliers for refills; notifying you that your ophthalmic goods are ready, including leaving messages with those at your home or office who may answer the phone, or leaving messages on answering machines, voice mails or emails; referring you to another doctor for care not provided by this office; obtaining copies of health information from doctors you have seen before us; discussing your care with you directly or with family or friends you have inferred or agreed may listen to information about your health; sending you postcards or letters or leaving messages with those at your home who may answer the phone or on answering machines, voice mails or emails reminding you it is time for continued care;
Examples of how we might use or disclose health information for payment purposes might include:
Asking you about your vision or medical insurance plans or other sources of payment; preparing and sending bills to your insurance provider or to you; providing any information required by third party payors in order to insure payment for services rendered to you; sending notices of payment due on your account to the person designated as responsible party or head of household on your account: collecting unpaid balances either ourselves or through a collection agency, attorney, or district attorney’s office.
Examples of how we might use or disclose health information for business operations might include:
Financial or billing audits; internal quality assurance programs; participation in managed care plans; defense of legal matters; business planning; certain research functions; informing you of products or services offered by our office; compliance with local, state, or federal government agencies request for information; oversight activities such as licensing of our doctors; Medicare or Medicaid audits; providing information regarding your vision status to the Department of Public Safety, a school nurse, or agency qualifying for disability status.
USES AND DISCLOSURES FOR OTHER REASONS NOT NEEDING PERMISSION
In some other limited situations, the law allows us to use or disclose your medical information without your specific permission. Most of these situations will never apply to you but they could.
Kelly Olumba, Privacy Official