PHI Uses and Disclosure
We may use or disclose your PHI for treatment, payment and operations, and for purposes described below:
e.g. we will use and exchange information obtained by a dentist, physician, dental hygienist, nurse or other medical professionals, staff, trainees and volunteers in our office to determine your best course of treatment. The information obtained from you or from other providers will become part of your medical records. We may also disclose your PHI to other outside treating medical professionals and staff as deemed necessary for your care. For example, we may disclose your PHI to an outside doctor for referral. We will also provide your health care providers with copies of various reports to assist them in your treatment. If you are a student-athlete, we may disclose PHI to athletic trainers and coaches pertaining to medical conditions that may restrict your ability to compete.
e.g. we may send a bill to you or to your insurance carrier. Also, the disbursement office may receive PHI as necessary to pay a claim. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as that portion of your PHI necessary to obtain payment.
Health Care Operations
e.g. members of the dental staff, trainees, dental students, a Risk or Quality Improvement team, or similar internal personnel may use your information to assess the care and outcomes of your care in an effort to improve the quality of the healthcare and service we provide or for educational purposes. For example, an internal review team may review your medical records to determine the appropriateness of care. There may also be times in which our accountants, auditors, health information specialists or attorneys may review your PHI to meet their responsibilities.
Other Uses and Disclosures Not Requiring Authorization
There are some services provided to our organization through contracts with business associates, such as laboratory and radiology services. We may disclose your health information to our business associates so that they can perform these services. We require the business associates to safeguard your information to our standards.
We may disclose limited health information to friends or family members identified by you as being involved in your care or assisting you in payment. We may also notify a family member, or another person responsible for your care, about your location and general condition.
Legally Required Disclosures & Public Health
We may disclose PHI as required by law, or in a variety of circumstances authorized by federal or state law. For example, we may disclose PHI to government officials to avert a serious threat to health or safety or for public health purposes, such as to prevent or control communicable disease (which may include notifying individuals that may have been exposed to the disease, although in such circumstance you will not be personally identified), federal or state health oversight agencies, child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, to an employer to evaluate work related injuries, and to public officials for births and deaths.
Law Enforcement & Subpoenas
We may disclose PHI to law enforcement such as limited information for identification and location purposes, or information regarding suspected victims of crime, including crimes committed on our premises. We may also disclose PHI to others as required by court or administrative order, or in response to a valid summons or subpoena.
Information Regarding Decedents
We may disclose health information regarding a deceased person to: 1) coroners and medical examiners to identify cause of death or other duties, 2) funeral directors for their required duties and 3) to procurement organizations for purposes of organ and tissue donation.
We may also disclose PHI where the disclosure is solely for the purpose of designing a study, or where the disclosure concerns decedents, or an institutional review board or privacy board has determined that obtaining authorization is not feasible and protocols are in place to ensure the privacy of your health information. In all other situations, we may only disclose PHI for research purposes with your authorization.
Marketing & Fund Raising
We may contact you with information about treatment alternatives or other health related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may also contact you as part of a fund raising effort.
We may disclose limited information regarding your name and location for directory purposes to those persons who ask for you by name or to members of the clergy. You may request that we not include your name in the directory.
Disclosures Requiring Authorization
All other disclosures of protected health information will only be made pursuant to your written authorization, which you have the right to revoke at any time, except to the extent we have already relied upon the authorization.