Notice of Privacy Practices

To our patients. 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.   This is required by the Privacy Regulations created as a result of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Our commitment to your privacy.  Our practice is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your health information. We are required by law to maintain the confidentiality of your health information.  We realize that these laws are complicated, but we must provide you with the following important information:

We may use and disclose your medical records for Treatment, Payment or Health Care Operations.

Treatment means providing, coordinating or managing health care and related services by one or more health care providers.  An example of this would include communication with other physicians who care for you.

Payment means such activities as obtaining reimbursement for services, confirming coverage, billing or collection activities and utilization review.  An example of this would be sending a bill for your visit to your insurance company for payment.

Health Care Operations include the business aspects of running our practice, such as conducting quality assessment and improvement activities, auditing functions, cost-management analysis, and customer service.  An example would be an internal quality assessment review.

Use and disclosure of your health information in certain special circumstances

The following circumstances may require us to use or disclose your health information:

1.      To public health authorities and health oversight agencies that are authorized by law to collect information.

2.      Lawsuits and similar proceedings in response to a court or administrative order.

3.      If required to do so by a law enforcement official.

4.      When necessary to reduce or prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of another individual or the public. We will only make disclosures to a person or organization able to help prevent the threat.

5.      If you are a member of U.S. or foreign military forces (including veterans) and if required by the appropriate authorities.

6.      To federal officials for intelligence and national security activities authorized by law.

7.      To correctional institutions or law enforcement officials if you are an inmate or under the custody of a law enforcement official.

8.      For Workers Compensation and similar programs.

Your rights regarding your health information

1.      Communications. You can request that our practice communicate with you about your health and related issues in a particular manner or at a certain location. For instance, you may ask that we contact you at home, rather than work. We will accommodate reasonable requests.

2.      You can request a restriction in our use or disclosure of your health information for treatment, payment, or health care operations. Additionally, you have the right to request that we restrict our disclosure of your health information to only certain individuals involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as family members and friends. We are not required to agree to your request; however, if we do agree, we are bound by our agreement except when otherwise required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is necessary to treat you.

3.      You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the health information that may be used to make decisions about you, including patient medical records and billing records. You must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer at the address listed below.

4.      You may ask us to amend your health information if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete, and as long as the information is kept by or for our practice. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Privacy Officer at the address listed below.  You must provide us with a reason that supports your request for amendment.

5.      Right to a copy of this notice. You are entitled to receive a copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. To obtain a copy of this notice, contact the Privacy Officer at the address listed below.

6.      Right to file a complaint. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our practice or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our practice, contact the Privacy Officer at the address listed below.   All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

7.      Right to provide an authorization for other uses and disclosures. Our practice will obtain your written authorization for uses and disclosures that are not identified by this notice or permitted by applicable law.

If you have any questions regarding this notice or our health information privacy policies, please contact :  Privacy Officer, Salem Orthopedic Surgeons, Inc., 9 Colby Street, Salem, MA 01970.  978-745-6282.

Effective Date: April 14, 2003