This Notice describes the privacy practices of Altus Lumberton, LP, a hospital emergency room. We are obligated by law to maintain the privacy of your identifiable health information (known as Protected Health Information or “PHI”), whether in paper or electronic records, and to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of your PHI. Altus Lumberton, LP may use and disclose your PHI to the extent necessary to provide you with quality health care, and for purposes of payment and health care operations. All members of our workforce including employees, independently contracted doctors and other persons who work with Altus Lumberton, LP are required to follow the privacy practices described in this Notice.
II. Uses and Disclosures Which Do Not Require Your Written Authorization
In certain situations, we must obtain your written authorization before we use or disclose your PHI. Listed below are a number of uses and disclosures for which we do not need your prior written authorization.
- Uses and Disclosures for Treatment. We may use and disclose your PHI to provide diagnosis and treatment of an injury or illness. In addition, we may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. We may also disclose PHI to other providers involved in your treatment.
- Payment. We may use and disclose your PHI to obtain payment for our services from your health insurer, HMO, or other company that arranges or pays the cost of some or all of your health care to verify that such company will pay for health care furnished to you by Altus Lumberton, LP Management. We also may disclose your PHI to other providers to help them receive payment for the services they furnished to you
- Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose your PHI for our health care operations, which include internal administration and various activities that improve the quality and cost effectiveness of the care that we deliver to you. For example, we may use PHI to evaluate the quality and competence of our nurses and other health care workers. We may disclose PHI to our Patient Relations Manager in order to resolve any complaints you may have and ensure that you have a comfortable visit with us. We may also disclose your PHI to other providers who have treated you in order to assist them with quality assessment and improvement activities.
- Disclosure to Relatives, Close Friends and Other Caregivers. We may use or disclose your PHI to a family member, other relative, close personal friend or any other person identified by you when you, prior to the disclosure, are present or otherwise available, if we (1) obtain your agreement; (2) provide you with the opportunity to object to the disclosure and you do not object; or (3) reasonably infer that you do not object to the disclosure. If you are not present or are unable to agree or object due to an emergency situation or incapacity, we may exercise our professional judgment to determine whether a disclosure is in your best interests. If we disclose information to a family member, other relative or a close personal friend, we would disclose only the information that we believe is directly relevant to that person’s involvement with your health care or payment related to your health care. We may also disclose your PHI in order to notify (or assist in notifying) a relative, friend or caregiver of your location, general condition or death.
- Public Health Activities. We may disclose your PHI for certain public health purposes including, but not limited to disease prevention, injury or disability, reporting births and deaths, reporting reactions to medications or product problems, notification of recalls, infectious disease control, notifying government authorities of suspected abuse, neglect or domestic violence (if you agree or as required or authorized by law).
- Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose your PHI to a health oversight agency in connection with an audit, inspection, investigation or licensing.
- Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. We may disclose your PHI in the course of a judicial or administrative proceeding in response to a legal order or other lawful process.
- Law Enforcement Officials. We may disclose your PHI to the police or other law enforcement officials as required or permitted by law or in compliance with a court order or a grand jury or administrative subpoena.
- In the Event of Death. We may disclose your PHI to coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors.
- Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation. If you are a donor or a proposed organ, eye or tissue recipient, we may release information to organizations that handle organ, eye or tissue procurement, storage or transplants in order to facilitate donation, banking or transplants.
- Research. We may use or disclose your PHI without your authorization for the purpose of preparing a research project. In most cases, we must obtain your authorization to use or disclose your PHI to conduct a research project. In some cases, we may use or disclose your PHI to conduct a research project without your authorization, but only if an Institutional Review Board approves a waiver of authorization for disclosure or the use of a limited data set, which includes only a limited amount of identifying information.
- Health or Safety. We may use or disclose your PHI to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person’s or the public’s health or safety.
- Specialized Government Functions. We may use and disclose your PHI to units of the government with special functions, such as the U.S. military, Secret Service, or the U.S. Department of State under certain circumstances.