This notice is not meant to alarm you. Quite the opposite! It is our desire to communicate to you that we are taking seriously HIPAA-Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, federal law enacted to protect the
confidentiality of your health information. We do not ever want you to delay treatment because you are afraid your personal health history might be
unnecessarily made available to others outside our office.
The federal government legally enforces the importance of the privacy of health information largely in response to the rapid evolution of computer
technology and its use in healthcare. The government has appropriately
sought to standardize and protect the privacy of the electronic exchange of your health information. This has challenged us to review not only how your health information is used within our computers but also with the Internet, phone, faxes, copy machines and charts. We believe this has been an important exercise for us because it has disciplined us to put in writing the policies and procedures we follow to protect your health
information when we use it.
We developed policies and procedures to make sure your health information will not be shared with anyone who does not require it. Our
office is subject to state and federal law regarding the confidentiality of your health information and in keeping with these laws, we want you to understand our procedures and your rights as our valuable patient.
We will use and communicate your health information only for the purposes of providing your treatment, obtaining payment, conducting health care operations, and as otherwise described in this notice.
To Provide Treatment
We will use your health information within our office to provide you with dental care. This may include administrative and clinical office procedures designed to optimize scheduling and coordination of care between hygienist, dental assistant, dentist, and business office staff. In addition, we may share your health information with physicians, referring dentists, clinical and dental laboratories, pharmacies or other health care personnel providing you treatment.
To Obtain Payment
We may include your health information with an invoice used to collect payment for treatment you receive in our office. We may do this with insurance forms filed for you in the mail or sent electronically. We will be sure to only work with companies with a similar commitment to security.
To Conduct Health Care Operations
Your health information may be used during performance evaluations of our staff. Some of our best teaching opportunities use clinical situations experienced by patients receiving care at our office. As a result, health information may be included in training programs for students, interns, associates, and business and clinical employees. It is also possible that health information will be disclosed during audits by insurance companies or government appointed agencies as part of their quality assurance and compliance reviews. Your health information may be reviewed during the routine processes of certification, licensing or credentialing activities.
In Patient Reminders
Because we believe regular care is very important to your oral and general health, we will remind you of a scheduled appointment or that it is time for you to contact us and make an appointment. Additionally, we may contact you to follow up on your care and inform you of treatment options or services that may be of interest to you or your family. These communications are an important part of our philosophy of partnering with our patients to be sure they receive the best preventive and restorative care modern dentistry can provide. They may include postcards, folding postcards, letters, telephone reminders or electronic reminders such as email (unless you tell us that you do not want to receive these reminders).
To Business Associates
We have contracted with one or more third parties (referred to as a business associate) to use and disclose your health information to perform services for us, such as billing. We will obtain each business associate's written agreement to safeguard your health information.
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Federal law generally permits us to make certain uses or disclosures of health information without your permission. Federal law also requires us to list in the Notice each of these categories of uses or disclosures:
As Required By Law
We may use or disclose your health in formation as required by any statute, regulation, court order or other mandate enforceable in a court of law.
Abuse or Neglect
We may disclose your health information to the responsible government agency if (a) the Privacy Official reasonably believes that you are a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, and (b) we are required or permitted by law to make the disclosure. We will promptly inform you that such a disclosure has been made unless the Privacy Official determines that informing you would not be in your best interests.
Public Health and National Security
We may be required to disclose to federal officials or military authorities health information necessary to complete an investigation related to public health or national security. Health information could be important when the government believes that the public safety could benefit when the information could lead to the control or prevention of an epidemic or the understanding of new side effects of a drug treatment or medical device.
For Law Enforcement
As permitted or required by state or federal law, we may disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for certain law enforcement purposes, including, under certain limited circumstances, if you are a victim of a crime or in order to report a crime.
Family, Friends and Caregivers
We may share your health information with those you tell us will be helping you with home hygiene, treatment, medications, or payment. We will ask your permission first. In an emergency, where you are unable to tell us what you want, we will use our best judgment and share health information only when it will be important to those participating in providing your care.