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Notice of Privacy Practices

AtlantiCare Notice of Privacy Practices

Effective Date: April 14, 2003
Download this notice in PDF format

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 AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office at (609) 407 - 7788

WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE

This notice describes AtlantiCare's practices and that of: Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your health record.

  • All departments, units and business entities of AtlantiCare.
  • Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while you are in our care.
  • All employees, staff and other AtlantiCare personnel.
  • All medical transport services and personnel involved in AtlantiCare patient transport.

All AtlantiCare entities, including AtlantiCare Health System, Inc., AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (previously Atlantic City Medical Center), AtlantiCare Behavioral Health, Inc., AtlantiCare Foundation, Inc., AtlantiCare Health Plans, Inc., AtlantiCare Health Services, Inc., AtlantiCare Surgery Center, LLC , InfoShare, Inc. or any AtlantiCare affiliate. All these entities, sites and locations follow the terms of this notice. In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or healthcare operations as described in this notice.


OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:

We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive at AtlantiCare. This record is required to provide you with quality care and to comply with legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by AtlantiCare, whether made by hospital personnel, staff at an outpatient site or your personal doctor while treating you at an AtlantiCare site or location. 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.

This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information. We are required by law to:

make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;

give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and

follow the terms of the privacy notice that is currently in effect.

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.

For Treatment. We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you at AtlantiCare. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals.

Different entities of AtlantiCare may also share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as medications, lab work and x-rays. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside of AtlantiCare who may be involved in your medical care, such as your physician or other health care providers, home care agencies, medical equipment companies or others who provide services that are part of your current or future care.

For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at AtlantiCare may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or another third party. For example, we may need to give your insurance company information about diagnostic procedures you received at AtlantiCare so that your insurance company will pay us or reimburse you for the services. We may also tell your insurance company about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your insurance will cover the treatment.

For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for AtlantiCare operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run AtlantiCare and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also use medical information about many AtlantiCare patients to decide what additional services AtlantiCare should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other AtlantiCare personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other hospitals or health care organizations to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.

Appointment Reminders. We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at AtlantiCare.

Treatment Alternatives. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.

Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.

Fundraising Activities. We may use medical information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for AtlantiCare and its operations. We may disclose medical information to a foundation related to AtlantiCare so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for AtlantiCare. We only would release contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you received treatment or services at AtlantiCare. If you do not want AtlantiCare to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify the AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office, 2500 English Creek Avenue, Building 500, Suite 501, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 08234 in writing.

Hospital Directory. We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. This information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g., fair, serious, critical, etc.) and your religious affiliation. The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or rabbi, even if they don’t ask for you by name. This is so your family, friends and clergy can visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing. If you do not want us to list this information in our directory and/or provide it to clergy and others, you must tell us that you object by requesting this restriction in writing at the time of registration.

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. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care. We may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital or an AtlantiCare business entity other than behavorial health settings. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an organization assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.

Research. Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients' need for privacy of their medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process, but we may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project. For example, researchers may need to assemble information about specific medical needs, however the medical information they review does not leave AtlantiCare. You may be asked for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care at AtlantiCare.

As Required By Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.

SPECIAL SITUATIONS

Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.

Military. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.

Workers' Compensation. We may release medical information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

Public Health Risks. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:

  • to prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
  • to report births and deaths;
  • to report child abuse or neglect;
  • to report reactions to medications or problems with products;
  • to notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
  • to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
  • to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.


Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.

Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute.

Law Enforcement. We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:

  • In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
  • To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
  • About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement;
  • About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
  • About criminal conduct at AtlantiCare; and
  • In emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.

Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of AtlantiCare to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.

National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations.

Change in Ownership. In the event that AtlantiCare or any portion thereof is sold or merged with another organization, your medical information / designated record set will become the property of the new owner.

Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary: (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU.

You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:

Right to Inspect and Copy. You have the right to inspect and request a copy of medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records. To inspect and request a copy of medical information that may be used to make decisions about your health care, you must submit your request in writing to the Health Information Management Office at each of the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center hospitals or other AtlantiCare entity at which you received healthcare services.

If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.

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 your authorized representative receive the information. Right to 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 or for AtlantiCare.

To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Health Information Management Office at each of the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center hospitals or other AtlantiCare entity at which you received healthcare services as listed above. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request.

We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:

  • Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment;
  • Is not part of the medical information kept by or for AtlantiCare;
  • Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
  • Is accurate and complete.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures." This is a list of the disclosures we made of medical information about you. This list will not include disclosures made for: treatment, payment, healthcare operations; disclosures made to you; disclosures for use in our directories; disclosures/notifications and communications made to your family; disclosures to the military and for national security or intelligence purposes; to correctional institutions or law enforcement officers; and disclosures to our foundation for fund-raising.

To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office, 2500 English Creek Avenue, Building 500, Suite 501, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 08234. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. The first list you request within a 12 month period will be free. For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.

Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care 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 the 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 to your spouse.

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.

To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office, 2500 English Creek Avenue, Building 500, Suite 501, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 08234.

In your request, you must tell us: (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.

Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail.

To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to the AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office, 2500 English Creek Avenue, Building 500, Suite 501, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, 08234. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.

Right to 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 obtain a paper copy of this notice, please contact AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office, 2500 English Creek Avenue, Building 500, Suite 501, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, 08234 or by phone at (609) 407-7788.

CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE

We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in all AtlantiCare entities. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date. In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to AtlantiCare for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.

COMPLAINTS

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with AtlantiCare, contact the AtlantiCare Privacy Compliance Office at (609) 407 - 7788, 2500 English Creek Avenue, Building 500, Suite 501, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey 08234. All complaints must be submitted in writing. 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 while relying upon your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.

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