Privacy Practices

Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc.
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Effective:  April 14, 2003

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 Oesterlen’s Privacy Officer.

WHO WILL FOLLOW THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS NOTICE:

This notice describes our agency’s practices and those of:

  • Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your agency chart.
  • All departments and units of the agency.
  • Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while under the care of the agency.
  • All employees, staff and other agency personnel.
  • All of the following entities, sites and locations comply with the terms of this notice.  In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or agency operations purposes described in the notice.

1. ADAMHS Board

OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:

We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal.  We are committed to protecting medical information about you.  We create a record of the care of services you receive at the agency.  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 the agency, whether made by agency personnel or staff under contract to the agency (example, psychiatrist).

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:

  • Assure 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; and
  • Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.

HOW MAY WE USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU:

The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information.  For each category of uses or disclosures we 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 categories.

  • For Treatment. We may use medical information about you to provide you with behavioral health and medical treatment or services.  We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, counselors, healthcare professionals in training, or other agency personnel who are involved in taking care of you through the agency. Different departments of the agency may also share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, counseling and residential support.  We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the agency who may be involved in your care.
  • For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the agency may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, we need to give the ADAMHS Board and/or the State Department (ODMH, ODADAS) information about counseling you received at the agency so the Board will pay us for the services.
  • For Healthcare Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for agency operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the agency and make sure that all of our clients receive quality care.  For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you.  We may also combine medical information about many agency clients to decide what additional services the agency should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, health professionals in training, and other agency personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information that we have with medical information from other agencies to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so 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 services at the agency.
  • Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
  • Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
  • Fundraising Activities. We may use medical information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for the agency and its operations.  We may disclose medical information to a foundation related to the agency so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for the agency.  We only would release contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you received treatment or services at the agency. If you do not want the agency to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify the office of the Agency Privacy Officer in writing.
  • Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care.
  • 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. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with the clients’ need for privacy of their medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process, but we may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs, so long as the medical information they review does not leave the agency. 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 the agency.
  • 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 SITUATIONS:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Public Health Risks. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities.  These activities generally include the following: to
  1. Prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
  2. Report births and deaths;
  3. Report child abuse or neglect;
  4. Report reactions to medications or problems with products;
  5. Notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
  6. Notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
  7. 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.
  8.  In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
  9. To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
  10. About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement;
  11. About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
  12. About criminal conduct at the agency; and
  13. 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.
  • 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 compliances with civil rights laws.
  • 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.
  • Law Enforcement. We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
  • 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 clients of the agency to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
  • National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
  • Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose Medical Information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations.
  • 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 YOU:

You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:

  • Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records including psychotherapy notes. To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to Oesterlen’s Privacy Officer. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request. We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances, if you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by the agency will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
  • 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, the agency. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to Oesterlen’s Privacy Officer. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. 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:
  1. Was not created by us, or the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment;
  2. Is not part of the medical information kept by or for the agency;
  3. Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
  4. 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 disclosures we made of medical information about you.  To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to Oesterlen’s Privacy Officer. Your request must state a time period that may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before February 26, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically). The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free. For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list. We 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 we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information e disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a treatment you had. We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to Oesterlen’s Privacy Officer. In your request, you must tell us (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, for example, disclosure to your spouse.
  • 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 Oesterlen’s Privacy Officer, we will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or 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. Even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice. To obtain a paper copy of this notice, make a request at the time of services needed.

CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE:

We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in the agency. The notice will contain on the first page in the top center, the effective date.  In addition, each time you register at or are re-admitted to the agency for treatment or health care services, you will be offered a copy of the current notice in effect.

COMPLAINTS:

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the agency or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the agency, contact Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc., 1918 Mechanicsburg Road, Springfield, Ohio  45503  Attn: Privacy Officer, Director of Operations (937) 399-6101. All complaints must be submitted in writing.

Complaints to the Secretary HHS:

HIPPA Complaint
7500 Security Blvd., C5-24-04
Baltimore, MD  21244

You will not be penalized or discriminated against for filing a complaint.

OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION:

Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. If you provide, us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.