Western Wisconsin Medical Associates, S. C. Notice of Privacy Practices 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. Introduction Federal and state laws require Western Wisconsin Medical Associates, S.C. ("WWMA")to protect your medical information, and federal law requires WWMa to describe to you how we handle that information. When state and federal privacy laws differ, and Wisconsin law is more protective of your information or provides you with greater access to your information, then Wisconsin law will override federal law. The federal government defines protected health information ("PHI") as any information, whether written, oral or electronic, which is recieved or created by WWMA and relates to a patient's health care by WWMY and relates to a patient's health care or payment for the provision of health care. This includes the results of tests and notes written by doctors and nurses, as well as your name, address and telephone number. This Notice of Privacy Practices explains how WWMA may use and disclose your PHI. It also explains your rights regarding this kind of information. WWMA will follow the rules of its Notice of Privacy Policies currently in effect.
WWMA MAKES EVERY EFFORT TO MAINTAIN THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF MEDICAL INFORMATION.
Your PHI will be used and disclosed for the following purposes:
- Treatment: We may use your PHI, without your permission to provide, coordinate, and manage your care and treatment. We may disclose your PHI, without your permission, to a physician or other health care provider for your treatment. For example, a WWMA physician may share your PHI with another physician for a consultation or a referral.
- Payment: We may use and disclose your PHI, without your permission to receive payment for the services we provide. For example, we will disclose information in order to submit bills or claims to insurance companies and/or Medicare or Medicaid, or to obtain approval from your heatlh plan before providing services. We may need your written permission to disclose information taken from your mental health treatment records or HIV test results for payment purposes.
- Health Care Operations: We may use your PHI, without your permission, for certain activities related to the functioning of our business operations. For example, we may use or disclose information for quality assurance activities, training or performance reviews, legal services, auditing, underwriting, and other business management and administrative activities.
- Appointment Reminders and Other Information: We may use your information to send you reminders about future appointments or test results. We may also use your information to provide you with information about new or alternative treatments or other health care services. We will contact you at the address, telephone number, fax number, email address you provide to us. If you prefer to be contacted at a different address or telephone number, or if you prefer not to receive certain materials, please contact the HIS Department Manager identified below.
- Family Members or Caretakers: Unless you object, we may disclose your PHI to people involved in your care, such as family members or caretakers. We will only disclose medical information that we reasonably believe these people need to know. We may also use your medical information to let family members or other responsible people know where you are and what your general medical condition is. If you are able to make your own health care decisions, we will ask your permission before using your medical information for these purposes, unless we infer from the circumstances that you do not object (for example, if you allow a family member to accompany you during an examination or treatment, we will assume that you do not object to that family member having access to PHI that may be disclosed during the examination or treatment). If you are unable to make health care decisions, we will disclose relevant medical information to family members or other responsible people if we feel it is in your best interest to do so. For example, we may provide limited medical information to allow a family member to pick up a prescription or x-ray for you.
- Uses or Disclosures of PHI Without Your Authorization or Agreement: In the following circumstance, we may useor disclose your PHI without first obtaining your authorization or agreement regarding the use or disclosure, to the extent permitted or required by law:
Under emergency conditions,to government or other groups assisting in emergencies or disasters;
When required by law;
For public health activities including, without limitation, to report disease and vital statistics, child abuse, and adult abuse or neglect or domestic violence;
For health oversight activities, such as activities of state licensing and peer review authorities, and fraud prevention enforcement agencies (Wisconsin law allows private pay patients, except residence of nursing homes, to deny access to certain health oversight agencies by annually submitting asigned, written request on the appropriate form.);
For judicial and administrative proceedings;
For organ donation and procurement purposes;
To coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors;
To avert a serious threat to health or safety;
To law enforcement officials with regard to crime victimes, crimes on our premises, crime reporting in emergencies, and identifying and locating suspects or other persons;
For certain specialized government functions, such as military discharge;
To the military, to federal officials for lawful intelligence, counterintellegence, national security activities, and to correctional institutions and law enforcement regarding persons in lawful custody; and
As authorized by the state's worker's compensation laws.