This notice describes how protected medical and drug and alcohol-related information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully. General Information
Information regarding your health care, including payment for health care and treatment, is primarily protected by three federal laws: (i) the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), 42 U.S.C. § 1320d et seq., 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 & 164; (ii) the additional privacy and security requirements enacted pursuant to Subtitle D of the Health Information. Technology for Clinical Health Act (HITECH), including 45 C.F.R. Sections 164.308, 164.310, 164.312, and 164.316; and (iii) the Confidentiality Law, 42 U.S.C. § 290dd-2, 42 C.F.R. Part 2. Under these laws, Georgia Recovery Campus (“GAC”) may not say to a person outside GAC that you attend the program, nor may GAC disclose any information identifying you as someone with a substance use disorder, or disclose any other protected information about you, except as permitted by federal law. How GAC May Use and Disclose Medical Information about You.
The following list describes the ways GAC may use and disclose your medical information. The examples provided serve only as guidance and do not include every possible use or disclosure.
For Treatment. We may use and disclose your Protected Health Information to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and any related service.
For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive may be billed and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company, or a third party. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment or procedure you are going to receive in order to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the services.
For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for our operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to operate GAC in an efficient manner and to ensure that all individuals receive quality care.
Treatment Reminders. We may use and disclose medical information in order to remind you of a scheduled treatment appointment or procedure.
Business Associates. AC disclose information about you without your authorization to obtain claims processing, utilization review, quality assurance, legal, accounting financial, management, administrative and other services, if GAC has a Business Associate Agreement in place with the applicable third party.
Required by Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal or state laws. To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose medical information about you to medical or law enforcement personnel when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person.
Sale of GAC. We may use and disclose medical information about you to another healthcare entity in the sale, transfer, merger, or consolidation of GAC, unless your medical information includes information about substance use disorder treatment services provided to you. Such information will only be transferred to the new entity pursuant to your written authorization as further described below.
Electronic Disclosure. We may disclose your medical information orally, in paper format or using any electronic means.
Organ and Tissue Donation. If you have formally indicated your desire to be an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle procurement of organ, eye, or tissue transplantations.
Military and Veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities.
Workers’ Compensation. We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Qualified Personnel. We may disclose medical information for research or for management audit, financial audit, or program evaluation, but GAC personnel may not directly or indirectly identify you in any report of the research, audit, or evaluation, or otherwise disclose your identity in any manner.
Public Health Risks. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:
- To prevent or control disease, injury, or disability.
- To report births and deaths.
- To report child abuse or neglect.
- To report reactions to medications or problems with products.
- To notify people of recalls of products they may be using.
- 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.
- To notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
All such disclosures will be made in accordance with the requirements of federal and state laws and regulations.
Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Health oversight agencies include public and private agencies authorized by law to oversee health care providers and the health care industry in general.
Law Enforcement. We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official: (1) in response to a court order or subpoena; or (2) if GAC determines there is a probability of imminent physical injury to you or another person, or immediate mental or emotional injury to you.
Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner when authorized by law (e.g., identify a deceased person or determine cause of death) or to funeral directors.
Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional facility or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release health and treatment information about you to the correctional facility or law enforcement official. Such a release would be necessary for: (1) the facility to provide you with proper care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; and (3) to ensure the safety and security of the correctional facility.
Other Uses and Disclosures
GAC will not use or disclose your medical information for any other purposes (including, without limitation, marketing), unless you give GAC your written authorization to do so. If you give GAC such written authorization for a purpose not described in this Notice, then you may, in most cases, revoke such authorization in writing at any time. Your revocation will be effective for all your medical information GAC maintains, unless GAC has already acted in reliance on your prior authorization.
Substance Use Disorder Treatment. To the extent your treatment at GAC consists of substance use disorder treatment, your medical information related to such services is protected by federal law and regulation (see 42 CFR Part 2) and will only be used or disclosed by GAC pursuant to: (1) your written authorization; (2) a court order or other legal requirement; (3) medical needs in an emergency to qualified medical personnel; or (4) research, audit, or program evaluation purposes to qualified personnel. This includes use or disclosure of such information in the event of a sale, transfer, merger, or consolidation of GAC. If you do not provide written authorization in such an event, your information will not be transferred, and the non-transfer could impact the ability of MSWC to provide or continue your treatment. Please note that federal law or regulations protecting alcohol or drug treatment records do not protect any information about a crime committed by a patient of GAC or a member of GAC’s workforce, or any information about suspected child abuse or neglect that is otherwise reportable under state law to appropriate state or local authorities. A violation of the federal law and regulations that protect the confidentiality of substance use disorder treatment patient records is a crime. Suspected violations may be reported to appropriate authorities in accordance with 42 CFR Part 2. Your Health Information Rights
Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and obtain a paper or electronic copy of medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care, except for psychotherapy notes, counseling notes, or information compiled for use in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding or in other limited circumstances.
To inspect and copy your medical information, you must submit your request in writing to the GAC Privacy Officer. If you request a copy of the information, GAC may charge a fee as established by its licensing authority, if applicable, for the costs of copying, mailing, or summarizing your medical records.
GAC may deny your request to inspect and copy your medical information in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, including psychotherapy notes or counseling notes, you may request that the denial be reviewed. A third-party licensed health care professional chosen by GAC will review your request and denial. This professional will not be the same person who denied your request. GAC will comply with the outcome of the review.
Right to Amend. If you feel that medical information maintained about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask GAC to correct or amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment if the information is kept by GAC. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the GAC Privacy Officer. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. GAC may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures.” This is a list of the disclosures made of your medical information for purposes other than treatment, payment, or health care operations. To request this list, you must submit your request in writing to the GAC Privacy Officer. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six (6) years. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper or electronically). The first list you request within a 12-month period will be provided to you by GAC for free. For additional lists within the 12-month period, you may be charged for the cost of providing the list. GAC will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred. Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information GAC uses or discloses about you for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information GAC uses or discloses about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care. GAC is not required to agree to such a request. Should GAC agree to your request, GAC will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment. If you pay for a service or health care item out-of-pocket in full, you can ask us not to share that information with your health insurer for the purpose of payment or our operations. We will honor such a request unless the law requires us to share that information. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the GAC Privacy Officer. In your request you may indicate: (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit GAC’s use and/or disclosure; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply. For example, you may not want disclosures to be made to your spouse.
Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that GAC communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. To request that GAC communicate in a certain manner, you must make your request in writing to the GAC Privacy Officer. You do not have to state a reason for your request. GAC will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted. Changes to This Notice GAC reserves the right to change its privacy and security practices and to make the new provisions effective for all Protected Health Information that GAC holds or maintains. Should our privacy practices change, we will post the amended Notice of Privacy Practices in our offices at each facility’s address and on our website. Complaints
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the GAC Privacy Officer or with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20201.
10 Patient Rights
The Right to Be Treated with Respect
All patients, regardless of their means or health challenges, should expect to be treated respectfully and without discrimination by their providers, practitioners, and payers.
The Right to Obtain Your Medical Records
The HIPAA Act of 1996 provides patients in the United States a right to obtain their medical records, including doctors' notes, medical test results and other documentation related to their care.1
The Right to Privacy of Your Medical Records
The HIPAA Act also outlines who else, besides you (the patient), may obtain your records, and for what purposes. Patients are often surprised about who has these rights. Access may be denied to people you might think would have access. Improper access has consequences.
The Right to Make a Treatment Choice
As long as a patient is considered to be of sound mind, it is both his right and responsibility to know about the options available for treatment of his medical condition and then make the choice he feels is right for him. This right is closely associated with the Right to Informed Consent.
The Right to Informed Consent
No reputable practitioner or facility that performs tests, procedures or treatments will do so without asking the patient or his guardian to sign a form giving consent. This document is called "informed consent" because the practitioner is expected to provide clear explanations of the risks and benefits prior to the patient's participation, although that does not always happen as thoroughly as it should.
The Right to Refuse Treatment
In most cases, a patient may refuse treatment as long as he is considered to be capable of making sound decisions, or he made that choice when he was of sound mind through written expression (as is often the case when it comes to end-of-life care). yhere are some exceptions, meaning that some patients may not refuse treatment. Those exceptions tend to occur when others are subsidizing the patient's income during the period of injury, sickness, and inability to work.
The Right to Make Decisions About End-of-Life Care
Each state in the United States governs how patients may make and legally record the decisions they make about how their lives will end, including life-preserving measures such as the use of feeding tubes or ventilators. Corresponding to these patients' rights are a number of patients' responsibilities. There are also some rights Americans think they have as patients, that are missing. It's important that you are aware of all of these so that you can be sure to take steps to ensure the care you need, want and deserve.
If you believe your patients' rights have been violated, you can discuss it with a hospital patient advocate or your state's department of health. Stand up and exercise your patient rights.