I. THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW CAREFULLY.
II. IT IS THE LEGAL DUTY OF ASPIRE WELLNESS TO SAFEGUARD YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI).
By law, Aspire Wellness is required to insure that your PHI is kept private. The PHI constitutes information created or noted by us that can be used to identify you. It contains data about your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of health care services to you, or the payment for such health care. Aspire Wellness is required to provide you with this notice about their privacy procedures. This Notice must explain when, why, and how Aspire Wellness would use and/or disclose your PHI. Use of PHI means when Aspire Wellness shares, applies, utilizes, examines, or analyzes information within their practice; PHI is disclosed when they release, transfer, give, or otherwise reveal it to a third party outside their practice. With some exceptions, Aspire Wellness may not use or disclose more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the purpose for which the use or disclosure is made; however, they are always legally required to follow the privacy practices described in this notice.
Please note that Aspire Wellness reserves the right to change the terms of this Notice and their privacy policies at any time. Any changes will apply to PHI already on file with Aspire Wellness. Before they make any important changes to their policies, they will immediately change this Notice and post a new copy of it in their office. You may also request a copy of this Notice from you therapist, or you can view a copy of it in the office.
III. HOW ASPIRE WELLNESS WILL USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PHI.
Aspire Wellness will use and disclose your PHI for many different reasons. Some of the use or disclosures will require your prior written authorization; others, however, will not. Below you will find the different categories of their uses and disclosures, with some examples.
A. Uses and Disclosures Related to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations Do Not Require Your Prior Written Consent. Aspire Wellness may use and disclose your PHI without your consent for the following reasons:
1. For treatment. Aspire Wellness may disclose your PHI to physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other licensed health care providers who provide you with health care services or are otherwise involved in your care. Example: If a psychiatrist is treating you, Aspire Wellness may disclose your PHI to her/him in order to coordinate your care.
2. For health care operations. Aspire Wellness may disclose your PHI to facilitate the efficient and correct operation of their practice. Examples: Quality control – They might use your PHI in the evaluation of the quality of health care services that you have received or to evaluate the performance of the health care professionals who provided you with these services. They may also provide your PHI to their attorneys, accountants, consultants, and others to make sure that Aspire Wellness is in compliance with the applicable laws.
3. To obtain payment for treatment. Aspire Wellness may use and disclose your PHI to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services they provided you. Example: They might send your PHI to your insurance company or health plan in order to get payment for the health care services that they have provided to you. Aspire Wellness could also provide your PHI to business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies, and others that process health care claims for their office.
4. Other disclosures. Examples: Your consent isn’t required if you need emergency treatment provided that we attempt to get your consent after treatment is rendered. In the event that we try to get your consent but you are unable to communicate with us (for example, if you are unconscious or in severe pain) but we think that you would consent to such treatment if you could, Aspire Wellness may disclose your PHI.
B. Certain Other Uses and Disclosures Do Not Require Your Consent. Aspire Wellness may use and/or disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:
1. When disclosure is required by federal, state, or local law; judicial, board, or administrative proceedings; or law enforcement.
Example: Aspire Wellness may make a disclosure to the appropriate officials when a law requires us to report information to government agencies, law enforcement personnel and/or in an administrative proceeding.
2. If disclosure is compelled by a party to a proceeding before a court of an administrative agency pursuant to its lawful authority.
3. If disclosure is required by a search warrant lawfully issued to a governmental law enforcement agency.
4. If the patient compels disclosure or the patient’s representative pursuant to California Health and Safety Codes or to corresponding federal statutes of regulations, such as the Privacy Rule that requires this Notice.
5. To avoid harm. Aspire Wellness may provide PHI to law enforcement personnel or persons able to prevent or mitigate a serious threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.
6. If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you are in such mental or emotional condition as to be dangerous to yourself or the person or property of others, and if Aspire Wellness determines that disclosure is necessary to prevent the threatened danger.
7. If the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting law mandates disclosure. For example, if we have a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
8. If the California Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse Reporting law mandates disclosure. For example, if we have a reasonable suspicion of elder abuse or dependent adult abuse.
9. If disclosure is compelled or permitted by the fact that you tell us of a serious/imminent threat of physical violence by you against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims.
10. For public health activities. Example: In the event of your death, if a disclosure is permitted or compelled, Aspire Wellness may need to give the coroner information about you.
11. For health oversight activities. Example: Aspire Wellness may be required to provide information to assist the government in the course of an investigation or inspection of a health care organization or provider.
- For specific government functions. Examples: Aspire Wellness may disclose PHI of military personnel and veterans under certain circumstances. Also, we disclose PHI in the interests of national security, such as protecting the President of the United States or assisting with intelligence operations.
- For research purposes. In certain circumstances, Aspire Wellness may provide PHI in order to conduct medical research.
- For workers’ compensation purposes. Aspire Wellness may provide PHI in order to comply with Workman’s Compensation laws.
- Appointment reminders and health related benefits or services. Examples: Aspire Wellness may use PHI to provide appointment reminders. We may use PHI to give you information about alternative treatment options, or other health care services or benefits we offer.
- If an arbitrator or arbitration panel compels disclosure, when arbitration is lawfully requested by either party, pursuant to subpoena duces tectum (e.g. a subpoenas for mental health records) or any other provision authorizing disclosure in a proceeding before an arbitrator or arbitration panel.
- I am permitted to contact you, without your prior authorization, to provide appointment reminders or information about alternative or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
- If disclosure is required or permitted to a health oversight agency for oversight activities authorized by law. Example: When compelled by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to investigate or assess our compliance with HIPAA regulations.
- If disclosure is otherwise specifically required by law.
- Certain Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have the Opportunity to Object. Aspire Wellness may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other individual who you indicate is involved in your care or responsible for the payment for your health care, unless you object in whole or in part. Retroactive consent may be obtained in emergency situations.
- Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in Sections IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC above, Aspire Wellness will request your written authorization before using or disclosing any of you PHI. Even if you have signed an authorization to disclose your HHI, you may later revoke that authorization, in writing, to stop any future uses and disclosures (assuming that we haven’t taken any action subsequent to the original authorization) of your PHI by Aspire Wellness.
IV. WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PHI?
These are your rights with respect to your PHI:
- The Right to See and Get Copies of Your PHI. In general, you have the right to see your PHI that is in our possession, or to get copies of it; however, you must request it in writing. If we do not have your PHI, but we know who does, Aspire Wellness will advise you how you can get it. You will receive a response from us within 30 days of Aspire Wellness receiving your written request. Under certain circumstances, we may feel that we must deny your request, but if we do, Aspire Wellness will give you, in writing, the reasons for the denial. We will also explain your right to have our denial reviewed. If you ask for copies of your PHI, we will charge you not more than $.25 per page. We may see fit to provide you with a summary or explanation of the PHI, but only if you agree to it, as well as to the cost, in advance.
- The Right to Request Limits on Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI. You have the right to ask that Aspire Wellness limit how we use and disclose your PHI. While we will consider your request, we are not legally bound to agree. If we do agree to your request, we will put those limits in writing and abide by them except in emergency situations. You do not have the right to limit the uses and disclosures that Aspire Wellness legally required or permitted to make.
- The Right to Choose How I Send Your PHI to You. It is your right to ask that your PHI be sent to you at an alternate address (for example, sending information to your work address rather than your home address) or by an alternate method (for example, via email instead of by regular mail). We are obliged to agree to your request providing that we can give you the PHI, in the format you requested, without undue inconvenience.
- The Right to Get a List of the Disclosure I Have Made. You are entitled to a list of disclosures of your PHI that we have made. The list will not include uses or disclosures to which you have already consented, i.e., those for treatment, payment, or health care operations, sent directly to you, or to your family; neither will the list include disclosures made for national security purposes, to corrections or law enforcement personal, or disclosures made before May 24, 2014. After May 24, 2014, disclosure records will be held for seven years. Aspire Wellness will respond to your request for an accounting of disclosures within 60 days of receiving your request. The list I give you will include disclosures made in the previous six years (the first six year period being 2014-2020) unless you indicate a shorter period. The list will include the date of the disclosure, to whom the PHI was disclosed (including their addresses, if known), a description of the information disclosed, and the reason for the disclosure. We will provide the list to you at no cost, unless you make more than one request in the same year, in which case we will charge you a reasonable sum based on a set fee for each additional request.
- The Right to Amend your PHI. If you believe that there is some error in your PHI or that important information has been omitted, it is your right to request that Aspire Wellness correct the existing information or add the missing information. Your request and the reason for the request must be made in writing. You will receive a response within 60 days of our receipt of your request. We may deny your request, in writing, if we find that: the PHI is (a) correct and complete, (b) forbidden to be disclosed, (c) not part of our records, or (d) written by someone other than Aspire Wellness. Our denial must be in writing and must state the reason for the denial. It must also explain your right to file a written statement objecting to the denial. If you do not file a written objection, you still have the right to ask that your request and my denial be attached to any future disclosures of your PI-II. If we approve your request, we will make the change(s) to your PI-II. Additionally, Aspire Wellness will tell you that the changes have been made, and we will advise all others who need to know about the change(s) to your PI-II.
- The Right to Get This Notice by Email. You have the right to get this notice by email. You have the right to request a paper copy of it as well.
V. HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY PRIVACY PRACTICES.
If, in your opinion, Aspire Wellness may have violated your privacy rights, or if you object to a decision we made about access to your PHI, you are entitled to file a complaint with the person listed in Section VI below. You may also send a written complaint to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Avenue S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201. If you file a complaint about our privacy practices, Aspire Wellness will take no retaliatory action against you.
VI. PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NOTICE OR TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY PRIVACY PRACTICES.
If you have any questions about this notice or any complaints about our privacy practices, or would like to know how to file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, please contact Aspire Wellness.
VII. EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS NOTICE.
This notice went into effect on May 24, 2014.