NORTHEAST WISCONSIN FOOT & ANKLE ASSOCIATES
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates, SC (here after referred to as NEWFA) is required by law to maintain the privacy of your protected health information. This information consists of all records related to your health, including demographic information, either created by NEWFA or received by NEWFA from other health care providers.
We are required to provide you with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your protected health information. These legal duties and privacy practices are described in this notice. NEWFA will abide by the terms of this notice, or the notice currently in effect at the time of the use or disclosure of your protected health information.
NEWFA reserves the right to change the terms of this notice and to make any new provisions effective for all protected health information that we maintain. Patients will be provided a copy of any revised notices upon request. An individual may obtain a copy of the current notice from our office at any time.
- Uses and disclosures of your protected health information not requiring your consent:
NEWFA may use and disclose your protected healthcare information, without your written consent or authorization, for certain treatment, payment and healthcare operations.
Exceptions: There are certain restrictions on uses and disclosures of treatment records, which include registration and all other records concerning individuals who are receiving, or who at any time have received services for mental illness, developmental disabilities, alcoholism, or drug dependence. There are also restrictions on disclosing HIV test results. Specific patient authorization is required for the following: general uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes; uses and disclosures of PHI for marketing purposes; and disclosure that involve the sale of PHI.
Treatment May Include:
- Providing, coordinating, or managing healthcare and related services by one or more healthcare providers;
- Consultations between healthcare providers concerning a patient;
- Referrals to other providers for treatment;
- Referrals to nursing homes, foster care homes, or home health agencies.
For example, NEWFA may determine that you require the services of another specialist. In referring you to another doctor, NEWFA may share or transfer your healthcare information to that doctor with specific authorization by you.
Payment Activities May Include:
- Activities undertaken by NEWFA to obtain reimbursement for services provided to you;
- Determining your eligibility for benefits or health insurance coverage;
- Managing claims and contacting your insurance company regarding payment;
- Collection activities to obtain payment for services provided to you;
- Reviewing healthcare services and discussing with your insurance company the medical necessity of certain services or procedures, coverage under your health plan, appropriateness of care, or justification of charges;
- Obtaining pre-certification and pre-authorization of services to be provided to you;
For example, Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates, SC will submit claims to your insurance company on your behalf. This claim identifies you, your diagnosis, and the services provided to you.
Healthcare Operations May Include:
- Contacting healthcare providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives;
- Conducting quality assessment and improvement activities;
- Conducting outcomes evaluation and development of clinical guidelines;
- Protocol development, case management, or care coordination;
- Conducting or arranging for medical review, legal services, and auditing functions;
- Providing information on benefits and services that could be of interest to the patient.
For example, Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates, SC may use your diagnosis, treatment, and outcome information to measure the quality of the services that we provide, or assess the effectiveness of your treatment when compared to patients in similar situations.
Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates, SC may contact you, by telephone or mail, to provide appointment reminders. You must notify us if you do not wish to receive reminders.
We may not disclose your protected health information to family members or friends who may be involved with your treatment or care without your written permission. Health information may be released without written permission to a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child; the guardian of an incompetent adult; the healthcare agent designated in an incapacitated patient’s healthcare power of attorney; or the personal representative or spouse of a deceased patient.
- Additional examples of uses or disclosures of your protected health information not requiring your consent or authorization.
Criminal Activity Concerns: As permitted or required by law in certain circumstances we may be required to report individual health information to legal authorities, such as law enforcement officials, court officials, or government agencies. For example, we may have to report abuse, neglect, domestic violence or certain physical injuries. We are required to report gunshot wounds or any other wound to law enforcement officials if there is reasonable cause to believe that the wound occurred as a result of a crime. Mental health records may also be disclosed to law enforcement authorities for the purpose of reporting an apparent crime on our premises.
Public Health Concerns: We may release healthcare records, with the exception of treatment records, to certain government agencies or public health authority authorized by law, upon receipt of written request from that agency. We are required to report positive HIV test results to the state epidemiologist. We may also disclose HIV test results to other providers or persons when there has been or will be a risk of exposure. We may report to the state epidemiologist the name of any person known to have been significantly exposed to a patient who tests positive for HIV.
Alleged Abuse or Neglect: We may release healthcare records, including treatment records and HIV test results, to the food and drug administration when required by federal law. We may disclose healthcare records, except for HIV test results, for the purpose of reporting elder abuse or neglect, provided the subject of the abuse or neglect agrees, or if necessary to prevent serious harm. Records may be released for the reporting of domestic violence if necessary to protect the patient or community from imminent and substantial danger. We are required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect and suspected abuse of an unborn child, but cannot disclose HIV test results in connection with the reporting or prosecution of the abuse.
Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose healthcare records, including treatment records, in response to a written request by any federal or state governmental agency to perform legally authorized functions, such as management audits, financial audits, program monitoring and evaluation, and facility or individual licensure or certification. HIV test results may not be released to federal or state governmental agencies, without written permission, except to the state epidemiologist for surveillance, investigation, or to control communicable diseases.
Judicial and Administrative Proceedings: Patients’ healthcare records, including treatment records and HIV test results, may be disclosed pursuant to a lawful court order. A subpoena signed by a judge is sufficient to permit disclosure of all healthcare records except for HIV test results.
For activities related to death: We may disclose patient healthcare records, except for treatment records, to a coroner or medical examiner for the purpose of completing a medical certificate or investigating a death. HIV test results may be disclosed under certain circumstances.
For research: Under certain circumstances, and only after a special approval process, we may use and disclose your healthcare information to help conduct research.
To avoid a serious threat to health or safety: We may report a patient’s name and other relevant data to the Department of Transportation if it is believed the patient’s vision or physical or mental condition affects the patient’s ability to exercise reasonable or ordinary control over a motor vehicle. Healthcare information, including treatment records and HIV test results, may be disclosed where disclosure is necessary to protect the patient or community from imminent and substantial danger.
For worker’s compensation: We may disclose your health information to the extent such records are reasonably related to any injury for which worker’s compensation is claimed.
NEWFA will not make any other use or disclosure of your protected health information without your written authorization. You may revoke such authorization at any time, except to the extent that NEWFA has taken action in reliance thereon. Any revocation must be in writing.
- Your Rights Regarding Your Protected Healthcare Information:
You are permitted to request that restrictions be placed on certain uses or disclosures of your protected healthcare information by NEWFA to carry out treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. You must request such restriction in writing. We are not required to agree to your request, except in the case where the payment or healthcare operations pertain to a healthcare item or service for which the patient has paid out-of-pocket in full. If we do agree to your requests, we must adhere to the restriction, except when your protected healthcare information is needed in an emergency treatment situation. In this event, information may be disclosed only to healthcare providers treating you. Also, a restriction would not apply when we are required by law to disclose certain healthcare information.
You have the right to review and/or obtain a copy of your healthcare records, either in paper or electronic form, with the exception of psychotherapy notes, or information compiled for use (or in anticipation for use) in a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding. NEWFA may deny any access under other circumstances, in which case you have the right to have such a denial reviewed. We may charge a reasonable fee for copying your records.
You may request that NEWFA send protected healthcare information, including billing information, to you by alternative means or to alternative locations. You may also request that NEWFA not send information to a particular address or location or contact you at a specific location, perhaps your place of employment. This request must be submitted in writing. We will accommodate reasonable requests by you.
You have the right to request that NEWFA amend portions of your healthcare records, as long as such information is maintained by us. You must submit this request in writing, and under certain circumstances the request may be denied.
You may request to receive an accounting of the disclosures of your protected health information made by NEWFA for the six years prior to the date of the request, beginning with disclosures made after April 14, 2003. We are not required, however, to record disclosures made pursuant to a signed consent or authorization.
You have the right to be notified when there has been a breach of unsecured PHI. In unfortunate cases such as these, NEWFA will contact you verbally, if not in writing to inform you of the breach.
You may request and receive a paper copy of this notice, if you had previously received or agreed to receive the notice electronically.
Any person or patient may file a complaint with NEWFA and/or secretary of health and human services if they believe their privacy rights have been violated. To file a complaint with NEWFA, please contact the compliance officer at the following:
Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates, SC
1301 East Northland Avenue Suite B
Appleton, Wi 54911
It is the policy of Northeast Wisconsin Foot & Ankle Associates, SC that no retaliatory action will be made against any individual who submits or conveys a complaint of suspected or actual non-compliance or violation of the privacy standards.