NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES (NPP)
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI)
UMC and its medical staff, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, and UMC Physicians and its medical staff, are a clinically integrated healthcare setting and constitute an organized healthcare arrangement under HIPAA. This arrangement involves participation of legally separate entities in the delivery of healthcare services in which no entity will be responsible for the medical judgment or patient care provided by the other entities in the arrangement. Each entity within this arrangement will be able to access and use your PHI to carry out treatment, payment, or healthcare operations.
UMC is required by Texas and Federal Law to maintain the protected health information, to provide individuals with UMC’s Notice of Privacy Practices, and to notify the individuals involved if the individual’s unsecured protected health information is used and/or disclosed in a manner not permitted by Texas or Federal Law.
HOW WE MAY USE AND RELEASE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI)
- The following uses do NOT require your authorization, except where required by Texas Law.
- For treatment: Your PHI may be discussed by caregivers to determine our plan of care. The physicians, nurses, medical students, and other healthcare personnel may share PHI to coordinate the services you may need.
- To obtain payment: We may use and disclose PHI to obtain payment for our services from you, an insurance company, or a third party.
- For healthcare operations: We may use and disclose PHI for hospital operations. For example, we may use the information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you.
- For public health activities: We report to public health authorities as required by law, information regarding births, deaths, various diseases, reactions to medications and medical products.
- Victims of abuse, neglect, domestic violence: Your PHI may be released as required by law to the appropriate Texas agencies when cases of abuse and neglect are suspected.
- Health oversight activities: We will release information for federal or state audits, civil, administrative, or criminal investigations, inspections, licensure, or disciplinary actions, as required by law.
- Judicial and administrative proceedings: Your PHI may be released in response to a subpoena or court order.
- Law enforcement: we may release your PHI as required by law for certain types of wounds.
- Active Duty and Retired Military: We may release your PHI to the Department of Defense or other governmental agency.
- National Security purposes: We may release your PHI for national security and intelligence investigations.
- Uses and disclosures about patients who have died: We provide coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors necessary information relating to an individual’s death.
- For purposes of organ donation: As permitted by law, we will notify organ procurement organizations to assist them in organ, eye, or tissue donation and transplants.
- Research: We may use your PHI if the Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews for research, approves and establishes safeguards to ensure privacy.
- To avoid harm: To avoid a serious threat to the health or safety of a person or the public, we may release limited information to law enforcement personnel or persons able to prevent or lessen such harm.
- For worker’s compensation purposes: We may release your PHI to comply with worker’s compensation laws.
- Health Communication: We may send you information on the latest treatment, support groups, and other resources affecting your health.
- Fundraising activities: We may use your PHI to communicate with you to raise funds to support healthcare services and educational programs we provide to the community. You have the right to opt out of receiving such fundraising communications.
- Appointment reminders and health-related benefits and services: We may contact you with a reminder that you have an appointment for check-up or treatment.
- You may object to the following uses of PHI:
- Hospital directories: Unless you object, we may include your name, location, general condition, and religious affiliation in our patient directory for use by clergy and visitors who ask for you by name.
- Information shared with family, friends, or others: Unless you object, we may release your PHI to a family member, friend, or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your healthcare.
- Health Information Exchanges: We may share information that we obtain or create about you with other healthcare providers or other healthcare entities, such as your health plan or health insurer, as permitted by law, through Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) in which we participate. Exchange of health information can provide faster access, better coordination of care and assist providers and public health officials in making more informed decisions. You may opt out of the HIE and disable access to your health information available through the HIE by contacting UMC, 806-775-9150, to obtain and complete an Opt-Out form.
- Your prior written authorization is required to release your PHI in the following situations:
- Any uses or disclosures beyond treatment, payment, or healthcare operations and not specified in Parts A & B.
- Psychotherapy notes, marketing, and the sale of PHI.
WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PHI
- The right to request limits on how we use and release your PHI: You have the right to ask that we limit how we use and release your PHI. We will consider your request, but we are not legally required to accept it. If we accept your request, we will put any limits in writing and abide by them except in emergency situations. Your request must be in writing and state (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure, or both; (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse; and (4) an expiration date. If you pay for a service or health care item out of-pocket in full, you can ask us not to share that information for the purpose of payment or our operations with your health insurer. We will say Yes unless a law requires us to share that information.
- The right to choose how we communicate PHI to you: You have the right to request that we communicate with you about PHI in a certain way or at a certain location (for example, sending information to your work address rather than a home address). You must make your request in writing and specify how and where you wish to be contacted.
- The right to see and get copies of your PHI: You have the right to inspect and receive a copy of your PHI, which is contained in a designated record set that may be used to make decisions about our care. You must submit your request in writing. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for copying, mailing, or other costs associated with your request. We may deny your request to inspect and receive a copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to PHI, you may request that the denial be reviewed.
- The right to get a list of instances of when and to whom we have disclosed your PHI: this list may not include uses such as those made for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations, directly to you, to your family, or in our facility directory as described above in this NPP. This list also may not include uses for which a signed authorization has been received or disclosures made before April 14, 2003.
- The right to amend your PHI: If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI or that a piece of important information is missing, you have the right to request that we amend the existing information or add the missing information. You must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. We may deny your request in writing if the PHI is correct and complete or another facility’s report.
- The right to receive a paper or electronic copy of this Notice: You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. For the above requests please contact:
PO Box 5980
Lubbock, Texas 79408
Phone Number: (806) 761-0992
- The right to revoke an authorization: If you chose to sign an authorization to release your PHI, you can later revoke that authorization in writing. This will stop any future release of your health information except as allowed or required by law.
HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PRIVACY PRACTICES
If you think your privacy rights may have been violated, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your PHI, you may file a complaint with the office listed in the next section of this Notice. Please be assured that you will not be penalized and there will be no retaliation for voicing a concern or filing a complaint. We are committed to the delivery of quality healthcare in an environment that is confidential and private.
PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PRIVACY PRACTICES
If you have any questions about this Notice or any complaints about our privacy practices, please call the UMC Corporate Compliance Hotline (888) 329-6445.
In writing: Compliance/Privacy Officer; PO Box 5980; Lubbock, Texas 79408
You may also send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The address will be provided at your request.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE
We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice at any time. We also reserve the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for PHI we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. The Notice will always contain the effective date. You may also view the current Notice at any time on the web at: http://www.umchealthsystem.com, under the “For Patient” tab.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE