Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota Health Information Management
At Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota we are committed to providing quality, compassionate care. We are equally committed to protecting the privacy of our patients and any medical information we have about them.
In accordance with the Federal Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), we are pleased to provide you with our Privacy Notices. These notices describe how medical information about you is protected, how it may be used and disclosed, and how you can obtain access to it. If you have any questions about these notices, please contact the Sanford Health Privacy Officer at 218-333-5531.
United States Department of Health and Human Services
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 Sanford Health Privacy Officer at (218) 333-5531.
Each time you are a patient at a hospital/long term care facility, physician’s office, or other health care provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination, test results, diagnoses, treatment, plan for future care or treatment, and billing related information. This notice applies to all the records of your care generated by Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota. Your personal doctor may have different policies or notices regarding the doctor’s use and disclosure of your medical information created in the doctor’s office or clinic.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your protected health information and provide you a description of our privacy practices. Sanford Health is required to abide by the terms of the notice currently in effect.
Uses and Disclosures
How we may use and disclose medical information about you.
The following categories describe examples of the way we use and disclose medical information:
For treatment: We may use medical information about you to provide you treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other hospital/long-term care personnel who are involved in taking care of you at Sanford Health. For example: a doctor treating you for an injury may need to know if you have diabetes, because diabetes may slow the healing process, or if your doctor orders physical therapy, the nursing staff will need to discuss your care and treatment with the physical therapist. Different departments within Sanford Health also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different aspect of care you may need, such as prescriptions, lab work, meals, and x-rays. We may also provide your doctor or a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you once you are discharged from Sanford Health.
For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about your treatment and services to bill and collect payment from you, your insurance company, or another third party payer. For example, we may need to give your insurance company information about your surgery so they will pay us or reimburse you for the treatment. We may also tell your health insurance plan about treatment you are going to receive to determine whether your plan will cover it.
For Healthcare Operations: Members of the medical staff, quality improvement team, and other healthcare providers may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case. The results will then be used to continually improve the quality of care for all patients/residents we serve. For example, we may combine medical information about many patients/residents to evaluate the need for new services, treatments, or equipment. We may disclose information to doctors, nurses, and other students for educational purposes. We may combine medical information we have with that of other hospitals to see where we can make improvements. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information to protect your privacy.
We may also use and disclose medical information:
· To business associates we have contracted with to perform the agreed upon service and billing for it;
· To remind you that you have an appointment for medical care;
· To assess your satisfaction with our services;
· To tell you about possible treatment alternatives;
· To tell you about health-related benefits or services;
· To contact you as part of fund raising efforts;
· To inform funeral directors consistent with applicable law;
· For population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing healthcare costs;
· For conducting training programs and reviewing competence of healthcare professionals.
Business Associates: There are some services provided in our organization through contracts with business associates. Examples may include physician services in the emergency department and radiology, certain outside laboratories, or a copy service we use when making copies of your health record. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do and bill you or your third party for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
Directory: We may include certain limited information about you in the Sanford Health directory while you are here. The information may include your name, location in the Sanford Health entity, your general condition (e.g., fair, critical, etc,) and your religious affiliation. This information may be provided to members of the clergy and, except for religious affiliation, to other people who ask for you by name. If you would like to opt out of being in the Sanford Health directory, please notify the Admissions Department, 218-333-5998; or the Chaplain, 218-333-5652.
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 or who helps pay for your care. 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: We may use and disclose your protected health information to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board or privacy board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information.
Future Communications: We may communicate to you via newsletters, mailings, or other means regarding treatment options, health-related information, disease-management programs, wellness programs, or other community-based initiatives or activities our facility is participating in.
Affiliated Covered Entity: Protected health information will be made available to your physicians and personnel at Sanford Health entities as necessary to carry out treatment, payment, and healthcare operations. Caregivers at other facilities may have access to protected health information at their locations to assist in reviewing past treatment information as it may affect treatment at this time. Included in Sanford Health entities would be Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, Neilson Place, Trillium, WindSong, Sanford Bemidji Home Care and Hospice, Sanford Bemidji Peak Performance, Senior Behavioral Health Unit, and Bemidji Medical Equipment.
As required by law, we may also use and disclose health information for the following types of entities, including but not limited to:
- Funeral directors, coroners, and medical directors
- Organ procurement organizations
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Workers compensation
- Public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability
- Correctional institutions
- Military command authorities
- Health oversight agencies
- National security and intelligence agencies
Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority, or attorney provided that a workforce employee or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers, or the public.
Law Enforcement/Legal Proceedings: We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena.
Your Health Information Rights
Although your health record is the physical property of Sanford Health entities or your healthcare practitioner that compiled it, you have the 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, but does not include psychotherapy notes. 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 healthcare professional chosen by the hospital 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.
· 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 our facility. We may deny your request for an amendment and if this occurs, you will be notified of the reason for the denial.
· An Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an accounting of disclosures. This is a list of the disclosures we make of medical information about you.
· Request Restrictions: You have the right to request restrictions or limitations on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery 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.
· Request Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that we communicate about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. We will agree to the request to the extent that it is reasonable for us to do so. For example, you can ask that we use an alternative address for billing purposes.
· 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 exercise any of your rights, please contact the Sanford Health Privacy Officer at 218-333-5531.
CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE
We reserve the right to change this notice and the revised or changed notice will be effective for information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. The current notice will be posted in the hospital and include the effective date. In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to Sanford Health entities for treatment or healthcare services, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with Sanford Health by contacting the Facility Privacy Officer at 218-333-5531 or by calling the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-368-1019. You will not be penalized 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 you.
This notice went into effect on April 14, 2003.
For a printable version of this notice, click here.