Your Right to Privacy
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.
Who Will Follow These Procedures
This notice describes our hospital’s practices and that of:
- Any healthcare professional authorized to enter information into your hospital chart.
- All departments and units of the hospital.
- Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while you are in the hospital.
- All employees, staff and other hospital personnel.
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 the hospital. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by the hospital, whether made by hospital personnel or your personal doctor or other practitioners involved in your care. 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
- Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect
How We May Use & Disclose Medical Information
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 give some examples. Not every use in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of these categories.
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, healthcare students, clergy, or others who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital.
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 dietician if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals.
Different departments of the hospital also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work, and x-rays. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the hospital who may be involved in your medical care after you leave the hospital, such as long term care facilities or others we or your physician uses to provide services that are a part of your care. We will also provide your physician or a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him/her in treating you once you’re discharged from the hospital.
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the hospital may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company, or a third party. For example, we may need to give your health plan information about surgery you received at the hospital so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.
For Healthcare Operations
We may use and disclose medical information about you for hospital operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the hospital 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 disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, healthcare students, and other hospital personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other hospitals 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 information so others may use it to study healthcare and healthcare delivery without learning who the specific patients are.
We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the hospital.
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, services, or medical education classes that may be of interest to you.
We may use information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for the hospital and its operations. If you do not want the hospital to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify our Director of Development in writing.
Direct your request to:
Director of Development
Evangelical Community Hospital
One Hospital Drive
Lewisburg, PA 17837
We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient in the hospital. This information may include, your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g., fair, stable, etc.) and your religious affiliation. This is so family, friends, and clergy may visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or rabbi, even if they do not ask for you by name. 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.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care
We may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend, or another person you identify, medical information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
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. We will ask your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address, or other information that reveals who you are.
As Required By Law
We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state, or local law.
Special Situations Organ and Tissue Donation
If you are an organ donor, we may release 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.
We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses.
Public Health Risks (Health and Safety to you and/or others)
We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. We may use and disclose medical information about you to agencies when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. 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 on 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 when required or authorized by law.
Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. The oversight activities include for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the healthcare system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
Lawsuits and Disputes
If you are involved in a lawsuit or dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court 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.
We may disclose medical information about you for law enforcement purposes as required by law, or in response to a valid subpoena, warrant, or court order.
Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors
We may release medical information related to an individual’s death to a coroner or medical examiner. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
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 healthcare; (2) to protect the health and safety of others; or (3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
Your Rights Regarding Medical Information
You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:
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. This includes medical and billing records.
To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, submit your request in writing to the Director of the Health Information Services department of the hospital.
Right to Amend
If you feel the medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information.
To request an amendment, your request must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Health Information Services of the hospital. 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 the hospital
- Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy
- 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 to others except for purposes of treatment, payment, and hospital operations identified above.
To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Director of the Health Information Services department of the hospital. 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 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 healthcare operations. You also have a 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 that you had.
We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless information is needed to provide your emergency treatment.
To request restrictions you must make your request in writing to the Director of the Health Information Services department of the hospital. 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 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 Director of the Health Information Services department of the hospital. 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 privacy notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this privacy notice at any time by requesting a copy from any member of our hospital staff.
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 the hospital. 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 the hospital for treatment or healthcare services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may submit your complaint in writing to the Chief Privacy Officer of this hospital. You may also call the Chief Privacy Officer at (570) 522-2000.If we cannot resolve your concern, you also have the right to file a written complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The quality of your care will not be jeopardized nor will you 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 authorization. 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 to you.
If you have questions about this notice please contact our Chief Privacy Office at (570) 522-2000.