Notice of Privacy Practices

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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.

Who Will Follow This Notice

This Notice applies to all practices and facilities owned or operated by Centra Health, Inc. and its affiliates who are part of the Centra Affiliated Covered Entity (Centra ACE, described at the bottom of this Notice). This includes hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities, outpatient and emergency facilities, Centra Medical Group practices and facilities, PACE facilities, Centra home health services, mobile clinics and screening programs. It also applies to physicians who are members of Centra's medical staff while they are practicing in our facilities, and anyone authorized to enter information into your medical record. It applies to all Centra employees, staff, other personnel, students, and volunteers. All of the above entities (“Centra”) may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment, or operational purposes described in this Notice.

Individuals who have access to your information because of their duties at one Centra practice or facility may also be able to see information that was obtained by a separate Centra practice or facility. For example, if you are seen at a Centra specialty practice, the staff there may access information about tests, diagnoses, or treatment recorded by your Centra primary care physician. If you are in a Centra hospital, the hospital staff treating you may access information recorded while you were being seen at a Centra practice.

This Notice applies to all Centra records of your care and services we provide. Mental health and substance abuse treatment areas may give patients a supplemental notice describing additional privacy practices. The privacy of substance abuse program treatment records are further protected by federal law. Unless you are provided with a different notice of privacy practices and except as provided in this Notice, this Notice will apply to entities that we may purchase or affiliate with in the future.

Our Commitment

Centra is committed to protecting the privacy of your medical information. We create and maintain records of the treatment and services that you receive from Centra in order to provide excellent care. We must also keep records to comply with legal requirements. The law requires us to keep your medical information private, give you this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices, and notify affected individuals following a breach of unsecured protected health information. The law requires us to follow the terms of this Notice. We also have the right to change the terms of this Notice, and these changes will apply to all of the medical information we maintain. If Centra changes the terms of this Notice, we will make paper copies available to you upon request. The current version of this document is available on our website https://www.centrahealth.com.

Our Uses and Disclosures

The information below provides examples of ways that we use and disclose medical information.

For Treatment

We may use or share your medical information to provide you with treatment or medical services. For example, we will share medical information about you with doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, and other people who are taking care of you.
We may contact you to communicate treatment options, wellness and educational programs, and other health-related benefits or services that may interest you.
We may disclose medical information about you to people outside of Centra who provide services related to your care, such as home health agencies.

For Payment

We may use and disclose medical information about you to obtain payment for the services we provide. For example, we give your health plan the information it requires before it will pay us. We may also disclose information to other health care providers to assist them in obtaining payment for services they have provided to you. We may share your information with other health care providers, health care clearinghouses, or health plans for their payment purposes as permitted by law.

For Health Care Operations

We may use and disclose information about you for health care operations. Some examples of how we may share information for operations include:

  • We may use medical information to review our treatment and services, to perform business planning activities, and to evaluate and improve our staff and the quality of care you receive from us.
  • We may combine information about many patients to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment or operations.
  • We may provide information to members of our workforce for review and educational purposes.
  • We may conduct population-based initiatives or care coordination activities.
  • We may use and disclose information to have your health plan authorize services or referrals.
  • We may combine your information with information about many other patients to compare our performance with other hospitals or health care providers.

We may share your information with other health care providers, health care clearinghouses, or health plans that have a relationship with you as needed for their health care operations as permitted by law.

We may also share medical information about you with other organizations that participate in Archetype Health, which is an organized health care arrangement under HIPAA.  An explanation of our participation in Archetype Health is described at the bottom of this Notice.

We may remove identifying information from what we share for health care operations to preserve your anonymity.

Appointment Reminders

We may contact you about appointments by telephone or by mail.

Sign In Sheet

We may have you sign in when you arrive at one of our facilities. We may also call out your name when we are ready to see you.

Business Associates

Some services are provided through Centra business associates. For example, Centra may contract with outside companies to provide computer services or transcription and release of medical records functions. We may disclose your medical information to these companies so that they can perform these services for us. We have a written contract with each of these business associates that require them and their subcontractors to protect the confidentiality and security of your protected health information.

Other Providers

We may disclose medical information to health care professionals who have cared or currently are caring for you, such as rescue squads, referring physicians or hospitals, and nursing homes, for their use in your treatment, obtaining payment, or their health care operations. Our normal process is to send records of your visit to your referring and/or primary care physician.

Fundraising and Marketing

We may contact you to raise funds for Centra programs and facilities, but you can tell us not to contact you again. We may disclose information to Centra Foundation so that they may contact you for our fundraising efforts. We will not condition treatment or payment on your choice about whether to receive fundraising communications.

Unless you give us written permission, we will never sell your information and we will not share it for marketing purposes other than for Centra internal marketing efforts.

Health Oversight

We may share medical information with the United States Department of Health and Human Services if there is an investigation of Centra. We may share your medical information with health agencies responsible for oversight activities authorized by law.

Inpatient Directory

Unless you tell us not to do so, or you are a behavioral health patient, we will include your name and room number in our hospital directory. We will also describe your condition in general terms. This type of information will be shared with people who ask for you by name. We may also share this information and your religious affiliation with members of the clergy, even if they do not ask for you by name. If you provide us with the name of a particular church or other place of worship, we may provide your admission information to a representative of that organization, such as the pastor. We will not share detailed information with a faith community (parish) nurse unless you give us permission to do so.

Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Care

We may share medical information with family members, other relatives, or close personal friends if they are involved in your care, unless you object or you are a behavioral health patient. We may contact a family member, a personal representative, or another person responsible for your care to tell them where you are. Unless you object or you are a behavioral health patient, we may share your general condition or death. We may share your medical information with the public or private organizations to coordinate disaster relief efforts so your family can be notified about your condition and location.

As Required by Law

We will disclose medical information about you as required by federal, state, or local law.

Public Health

We may use or share your medical information for public health activities. Such activities include preventing disease, helping with product recalls, reporting adverse reactions to medications, and reporting suspected abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.

Legal Proceedings

We may share your medical information during legal or administrative proceedings. If you are involved in a lawsuit or other legal dispute, we may disclose your medical information in response to a court or administrative order, subpoena, discovery request, or other legal process.

Law Enforcement

Centra may release your medical information for certain law enforcement purposes such as in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons, or other legal process. We may also release information about wounds made by certain weapons, criminal conduct at our facilities, or a death we believe may have been related to criminal acts. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution, we may release your medical information to the institution or agents in connection with your health or the health and safety of others.

Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors

We may disclose your medical information to a coroner, medical examiner or a funeral director.

Organ Donation

We may share your medical information with an organ or tissue donation and procurement organization.

Research

We may use or share your medical information for certain research purposes. We are required to meet many conditions in the law before we can share your information for research purposes. For more information see: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/index.html.

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety

We may use or share your medical information to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the health or safety of yourself, another person, or the public.

Workers’ Compensation

We may share your medical information as allowed by law for workers' compensation or similar programs.

Government Functions

We can use or share information about you for special government functions such as military, national security, and presidential protective services. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release information about you as required by military command authorities.

Personal Health Record

We may place your medical information in an electronic personal health record (PHR). You may access your PHR, and you may choose to permit others to see it.

Your Rights Regarding Your Medical Information

Right to Inspect and Copy

You have the right to inspect and receive a copy of your medical and billing records. You have a right to have a copy sent to another person that you designate. You may request copies of records in an electronic format. If the records are available in electronic format, we will accommodate that request. Otherwise we will provide an alternative format. You have a right to obtain copies for a reasonable fee. Contact Health Information for details. We may deny your request to inspect and copy your records under limited circumstances, and you may request a review of our denial. Another health care professional chosen by Centra will conduct the review of our denial.

Right to Amend

You have the right to ask to amend your medical information if you believe our records are inaccurate or incomplete. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for our organization. You must make the request in writing and include a reason for the request. Centra may deny your request. For example, we may deny a request to amend information that we did not create, or that is accurate and complete. If denied, we will provide you with a written reason for the denial.

Right to Receive Notice of a Breach of Unsecured Health Information

Centra will notify you in writing and take other steps required by law if there has been a breach of your unsecured health information.

Right to Request Restrictions

You have the right to restrict disclosure of your health information to your health plan for services paid out of pocket in full prior to the services being provided. This restriction applies if the disclosure to the health plan is for purposes of payment or health care operations and the health information relates to a health care item or service for which we have been paid in full prior to the service.

You have the right to request limits on how we share certain medical information for treatment, payment, or health care operations. Centra is not required to agree to your request. For example, we will not be able to meet requests that would interfere with your treatment, such as restricting which members of our workforce may have access to your records.

Right to Request Alternative Communication

You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a particular manner or at a certain location. For example, you may ask that we contact you at home rather than at work. Centra will accommodate reasonable requests that are within our technical capabilities. You must make requests for alternative communication in writing.

Right to Accounting of Disclosures

You have the right to ask for an Accounting of Disclosures. This is a list of times we shared your information for reasons other than treatment, payment, or health care operations, and certain other reasons (such as disclosures that you asked us to make). The first list you request in a 12 month period will be free. For additional lists within the same 12 month period, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list. You must submit your request in writing.

Right to a Paper Copy of this Notice

You have the right to a printed copy of this Notice.

Right to Complain

You have a right to file a complaint with Centra and/or the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services if you believe that we have violated your privacy rights. To complain to Centra, contact our Service Excellence department at 434-200-5800. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

Other Uses of Medical Information

Centra will not use or disclose your medical information other than as described here without your written permission. Once you give us permission, you may revoke that permission in writing at any time.

Notice of Organized Health Care Arrangement and Affiliated Covered Entity

Centra’s health system consists of many entities under common ownership or control. Some of these entities have been designated as an affiliated covered entity (ACE) for purposes of HIPAA compliance. We collectively refer to these entities as the Centra Affiliated Covered Entity (Centra ACE). 

The current participants in the Centra ACE are:

Centra Health Inc.

Centra Medical Group, LLC

Bedford Memorial Hospital

Southside Community Hospital

Centra Specialty Hospital

HealthWorks Clinic, LLC

Some Centra ACE entities also participate in Archetype Health. Archetype Health is a clinically integrated network that operates as an organized health care arrangement (OHCA) under HIPAA. An OHCA is an organized system of health care, which may take the form of an arrangement in which the participants jointly conduct health care operations functions, such as utilization review, quality assessment and improvement activities, or payment activities.

As indicated above, this Notice applies to the entities comprising the Centra ACE, including their participation in Archetype Health. Other participants in Archetype Health are separate corporate entities that have separate notices of privacy practices. More information about Archetype Health, including the current list of participants and their locations of operations, may be found at www.archetypehealth.com or by contacting Executive Medical Director, Archetype Health, 1920 Atherholt Road • Lynchburg, VA 24501, Phone: 1-877-635-4651.

All of the entities referred to above may share medical information as necessary for treatment, payment, health care operations, and for limited other purposes as described in this Notice.

More Information

For more information, contact Centra’s Privacy Officer at (434) 200-7996 or write to Centra Health, Director of Information Security and Privacy, 1920 Atherholt Road, Lynchburg, VA 24501.

THIS NOTICE IS EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 2016.