Sharon Regional Health System - Dedicated to caring for our community

Quality Care / Patient Safety

A Summary of the 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. The Privacy Officer can be reached at 724-983-3821.

Effective:  September 23, 2013

Purpose of this Notice

Sharon Regional Health System, Sharon Regional Physicians Services and Affiliated Healthcare providers deemed as covered entities under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), will be referred to in the Notice of Privacy Practices as “Sharon Regional Providers”. In general, any information that concerns your health, health care or payment for that care, (called “Protected Health Information” or PHI) is considered confidential and protected by Sharon Regional Providers.  We make a record of medical care we provide and may receive such records from others.  We use these records to provide or enable other health care providers to provide quality care, to obtain payment for services provided to you as allowed by your health plan and to enable us to meet our professional and legal obligations to operate.  This health care information about you is collected and stored in an electronic health record. 

This Notice describes Sharon Regional Providers’ privacy practices, specifically how we use and disclose your medical information and what rights you have with respect to this information.  Sharon Regional Providers require that all of its affiliates, employees, staff, volunteers and independent contractors comply with these privacy practices with respect to medical information that is used or disclosed by Sharon Regional Providers.

The regulation states that a Health Care Provider can use and disclose your medical information for most treatment, payment and health care operations.
Treatment means the provision, coordination or management of health care and related services by or involving Sharon Regional Providers, such as the coordination of consultations and referrals.  Sharon Regional Providers can share most medical information regarding your health condition with another provider as a part of a consultation.  Additionally, Sharon Regional Providers may contact you to make or to confirm that you already made an appointment.

Payment primarily means Sharon Regional Providers activities related to getting reimbursed for services it has provided to you.  However, payment can also cover activities to determine your eligibility for services with your insurer, coordination of benefits with other insurers, billing, claims management, collection, medical necessity review activities, utilization review activities, and disclosure to consumer reporting agencies.  For instance, we can disclose to your health plan medical information that is required by the plan to determine whether the services we have provided to you are medically necessary.  Sharon Regional Providers may also disclose PHI to its Business Associates, other health care providers and health plans for the payment activities.

Health Care Operations cover a range of activities that are necessary to Sharon Regional Providers’ operations.  These include quality assessment and improvement activities, peer review, credentialing and licensing, training programs, legal and financial services, business planning and development, management activities related to Sharon Regional Providers’ privacy practices, customer services, internal grievances, creating de-identified information for data aggregation or other purposes, fund raising, certain marketing activities, and due diligence activities. Examples of Sharon Regional Providers’ operations include engaging legal counsel to defend it in any legal actions, and evaluation of practitioner performance to insure that they meet quality standards. We may also share your medical information with our "business associates”.

We have a written contract with each of these business associates that contains terms requiring them and their subcontractors to protect the confidentiality and security of your medical information. We may also share your information with other health care providers, health care clearinghouses or health plans that have a relationship with you, when they request this information to help them with their quality assessment and improvement activities, their patient-safety activities, their population-based efforts to improve health or reduce health care costs, their protocol development, case management or care-coordination activities, their review of competence, qualifications and performance of health care professionals, their training programs, their accreditation, certification or licensing activities, or their health care fraud and abuse detection and compliance efforts. 

Provided Sharon Regional Providers do not receive any  payment for making these communications, we may contact you to give you information about products or services related to your treatment, case management or care coordination, or to direct or recommend other treatments, therapies, health care providers or settings of care that may be of interest to you.  We will not otherwise use or disclose your medical information for marketing purposes or accept any payment for other marketinPrivacy Policyg communications without your prior authorization.  The authorization will disclose whether we receive compensation for any marketing activity you authorize, and we will stop any future marketing activity to the extent you revoke that authorization.

For sharing PHI Among Sharon Regional Health System And their Medical Staff
Sharon Regional Providers work together with the physicians and other healthcare providers on staff to provide medical services to you when you are a patient at Sharon Regional Health System.  Sharon Regional Health System and the members of the medical staff will share PHI with each other as needed to perform their joint treatment, payment and health care operations activities.

For Sharon Regional Health System Employed Physicians To Share With Sharon Regional Physicians Services
Sharon Regional Health System employed physicians and Sharon Regional Physicians Services (SRPS) are members of a network of physicians who practice at Sharon Regional Health System and provide medical in offices located on or near the Sharon Regional Health System campus. SRPS physicians may need to share information about patients who will be seen by more than one SRPS physician in order to coordinate care, to undertake other activities relate to that patient care, and for other purposes. 

Certain physicians on the medical staff, SRPS physicians, contracted physicians and employed physicians have elected to participate in and Organized Health Care Arrangement (OHCA) for these purposes.  The physicians participating in the OHCA will share with each other PHI that they collect from you in their physician offices and in Sharon Regional Health System as necessary to carry out their treatment, payment and health care operations relating to the OHCA.
A listing of the OHCAs we participate in is available from the Privacy Official.

We may use or release your medical information without an authorization when it involves the following categories.  (Detailed explanations including examples of these categories are in the Notice of Privacy Practices.)
(a) As required by law. 
(b) To a public health authority. 
(c) For health oversight activities.
(d) For judicial and administrative proceedings.
(e) To law enforcement.
(f) To coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors.
(g) For organ, eye and tissue donation.
(h) For workers’ compensation.
(i) If Sharon Regional Providers are required by law to treat you. 
(j) Specialized Government Functions May disclose PHI for military or national security purposes or to correctional institutions or law enforcement officers that have you in their lawful custody.
(k) To avert a serious threat to health or safety.
(l) Proof of Immunization
(m) Breach Notification
(n) For research purposes. 
(o) Psychotherapy Notes
(p) Fundraising

Authorizations for Other Uses and Disclosures of your Medical Information.  An authorization is a written permission that specifically identifies the information that we seek to use or disclose, and when and how we seek to use or disclose it.  You may revoke an Authorization at any time except to the extent that we have already used or disclosed information in reliance on your Authorization, or your Authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage. 
Individual Rights: You have a number of rights with respect to your medical information. (detailed explanations and examples are provided in the Notice of Privacy Practice.  They are as follows.
You have the right to:
(a) Restrictions-restrict how we use and disclose your health information.
(b) Confidential Communications-request we restrict the way we communicate your health information.
(c) Access-inspect and copy most of your medical information maintained by Sharon Regional Health System.
(d) Amendment-amend written medical information
(e) Accounting-request an accounting of certain disclosures made.
(f) Paper Notice-If you obtain this Notice electronically, you may obtain a paper copy.
(g) Complaints-Explained in detail on back of this brochure.
(h) Provide an Authorization for Other Uses and Disclosures-We will obtain your written authorization for uses and disclosures that are not identified by the Notice of Privacy Practices or are not permitted by applicable law. 

Two Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have an Opportunity to Object:
Sharon Regional Health System’s Facility Directory: 
The directory lists the name, location, general health condition and religious affiliation of all inpatients in the facility.  We may also share relevant information with clergy or a member of the public who inquires about you.  We must give you the opportunity to object to being listed in this directory.  In the case of an emergency, the decision to list your name in the directory will be made by the appropriate Sharon Regional personnel.

Disclosures of your health condition to relatives, friends, or individuals involved in your care or for disaster relief.

Sharon Regional may provide medical information about you to your relatives or friends, or other individuals involved in your care. We will attempt to seek your permission to make this disclosure. If we are not able , for instance, because of your condition or because you are not immediately present, we will use our best judgment to determine whether you would want this information shared.

Sharon Regional Providers’ duties.
Sharon Regional Providers are required by law to maintain the privacy of your medical information and to provide you with this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your medical information.  We will provide you with our Notice of Privacy Practices upon your request and will explain any areas as needed.

We must comply with the Notice currently in effect.   We will revise the Notice if we materially change any use, disclosure, individual right or legal duty or other privacy practice stated in this Notice.  If we revise a Notice, copies will be made available by asking The Privacy Officer or any Sharon Regional Providers’ staff member. We will post a copy of our current notice in our offices in a prominent location.  We may choose to apply a change in a privacy practice to information that we created or received prior to issuing a revised Notice. In the event Sharon Regional Providers are sold or merged with another organization,  your health information will become the property of the new owner.

Complaints– You may complain to Sharon Regional Providers and/or the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the federal Department of Health and Human Services if you believe any right with respect to your medical information has been violated by Sharon Regional Providers, its employees or its agents.  If you wish to file a complaint, please contact The Privacy Officer at 724-983-3821 who will provide you with the appropriate form.  The Notice of Privacy Practices explains the complaint process in more detail.