Bradley County Medical Center - Notice of Privacy Practices
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Privacy Officer at 870-226-4100.
Effective Date: December 14, 2021
WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICEThis notice describes Bradley County Medical Center (BCMC) practices and that of:
• Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your chart.
• Any member of a volunteer group affiliated with BCMC.
• All employees, staff and other BCMC personnel.
• All BCMC subsidiaries, remote sites and locations including BCMC Home Health and Clinics follow the terms of this notice. In addition, the subsidiaries, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or hospital operations purposes described in this notice.
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATIONWe understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting your medical information. We create a record of the care and services you receive at BCMC and we need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by BCMC, whether made by BCMC personnel or your personal physician. Your personal physician may have different policies or notices regarding the use and disclosure of your medical information created in their office or clinic.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information. We are required by law to:
• Make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;
• Give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you;
• Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOUThe following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the following categories.
For Treatment: We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to physicians, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital. For example, a physician treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the physician may need to call the dietician if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different department of BCMC also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work, and x-rays. We also may have to disclose personal or medical information about you to people outside BCMC who may be involved in your medical care after you leave the hospital, such as family members and clergy, with permission, or others we need to communicate with to arrange for provision of services that are part of our care.
For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at BCMC may be billed and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company, or a third party. For example, we may need to give your health plan information about surgery you received at the hospital so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.
For Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose medical information about you for BCMC operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run BCMC and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment, services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine medical information about many BCMC patients to decide what additional services BCMC should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to physicians, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other BCMC personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also compare our services with other health care facilities in order to make improvements in the care and services provided at BCMC. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so that others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at BCMC.
Treatment Alternatives: We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommended possible treatment options or alternatives.
Health-Related Benefits and Services: We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services.
Fundraising Activities: We may use medical information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for BCMC and its operations. We may disclose personal information to a foundation related to BCMC so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for BCMC. We only would release contact information, such as your name, address, and telephone number and the dates you received treatment or services at BCMC. If you do not want the hospital to contact you for fundraising efforts, you may notify the Compliance Officer and "opt out" on the form the foundation provides.
Hospital Census Report: We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital census report while you are a patient at the hospital. This information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g. fair, stable, etc.) and your religious affiliation. The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy. This is so your family, friends and clergy can visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care: If you do not object, we may release medical information about you to a friend or family member that is involved in your medical care. We may also give information to someone who has assisted in the payment of your care. We may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
Research: Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. We will almost always ask for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care at BCMC.
As Required by Law: We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety: We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.
SPECIAL SITUATIONSOrgan and Tissue Donation: If you are an organ donor, and as required by law, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement for organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
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. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
Worker's Compensation: We may release medical information about you for worker's compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
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. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.
Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights law.
Lawsuits and Disputes: If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery requires, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
Law Enforcement: We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
• In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
• To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
• About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement;
• About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
• In emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors: We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
National Security and Intelligence Activities: We may release medical information for counterintelligence and other national security activities authorized by law.
Inmates: If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOURight to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to inspect and receive a copy of your medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. You can verbally request to view your medical record at any time while you are a patient and/or request an electronic copy upon discharge. The electronic copy will be encrypted for privacy. After discharge, requests for medical records may be obtained in the medical records department. You may be charged a reasonable, cost based fee. BCMC has up to 30 days to comply with your request.
Right to Amend: If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for BCMC. Requests must be made in writing and submitted to the Medical Records department. We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
• Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment.
• Is not part of the medical information kept by or for BCMC;
• Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
• Is accurate and complete.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures." This is a list of the people who have received information about you from medical records. Ro request this list, you must submit your request in writing to Medical Records personnel. Your request must state a time period that may not be longer than six years.
Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. You have the right to restrict disclosure of private health information to a health plan if you choose to pay for a service out of pocket in full and not file on your health insurance. You will be required to pay prior to the service being rendered. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose. We are not required to agree with your request. To request restrictions, you must make your detailed request in writing to the Medical Records department including (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure, or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply.
Right to Request Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail. To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to Medical Records personnel. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how and where you wish to be contacted.
Right to a Paper 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. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, contact the Admissions Office at BCMC (870) 226-4100.
Breach Notification: You have the right to be notified in the event a breach of your personal health information has occurred. The Bradley County Medical Center will notify you of a breach discovery without unreasonable delay after discovery of a breach. In the event of a breach, the notification will advise you of the nature of the breach and what actions have taken place to investigate the breach. You will also be advised if necessary, of any action you should take to prevent any potential misuse of your personal information.
OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURESYour information may be used or disclosed for other reasons not covered in this notice. We are allowed or required to share your information-in other ways that contribute to the public good, such as public health and research. We have to meet many conditions in the law before we can shore your information for these purposes. For more information, visit: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/index.html.
Some examples of this includes to help with public health and safety issues, research, comply with the law, and respond to organ and tissue donation requests.