HERNIA INSTITUTE OF PENNSYLVANIA
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INTERNET PRIVACY POLICY

NORTH PENN HERNIA INSTITUTE
and
North Penn Surgical Associates



This web site has been designed with the intention to protect the privacy of information entered onto the web site by the public, including electronically transmitted forms, on-line patient registration and all other information entered, mailed or faxed to us for purposes of communicating with our office or with Abington Health, Lansdale Hospital. In compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), your Protected Health Information/PHI (personal health information) will be secured when it is transmitted. All reasonable precautions have been taken to protect this information so that it will be seen only by the North Penn Hernia Institute staff authorized to view it. Details

The information on this web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional health care provider, including a licensed Physician, of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitute for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither the North Penn Hernia Institute, the North Penn Surgical Associates nor Abington Health, Lansdale Hospital, nor any of its affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this web site.

We at the North Penn Hernia Institute, and its affiliate The North Penn Surgical Associates understand the importance of keeping your personal medical information confidential and private. Federal Law (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) mandates that we actively and aggressively protect your privacy and your Personal Health Information/PHI and records in all areas of our practice, and we work diligently to accomplish this requirement. The information collected over this Internet site is only used to provide you with the most efficient, and highest quality health care services. For this reason, it is extremely important that the information provided by you be complete and accurate. This information will only be shared (and only with your full knowledge and written consent) with your personal physicians, your insurance carrier when necessary to process any medical claims, your employer, only as necessary, and any state or federal agency, ONLY as required by law. Any and all other release of your personal medical information will require your written request and consent, and will not occur otherwise. The North Penn Hernia Institute, and The North Penn Surgical Associates, and Abington Health, Lansdale Hospital are not responsible for any information that you may give to any other Internet sites that are not under the full control of the North Penn Hernia Institute and/or the North Penn Surgical Associates or Abington Health, Lansdale Hospital.

We do not collect any information that can reveal your personal identity unless you voluntarily provide it when you use features of the site. Any personally-identifiable information you give us will be used only to provide the service or information you have requested, or for which you have registered. Unless you specifically consent to let us do so, your personally-identifiable information, including your e-mail address, will not be sold, rented, licensed, or otherwise shared with third parties, other than our associates as required to fulfill a request from you. The non-personally identifiable information we gather in aggregate form may be used to improve our site.


POLICY DETAILS
PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION

Iinformation about your health is private. And it should remain private. That is why this health care institution is required by federal and state law to protect the privacy of your health information. We call it “Protected Health Information” (PHI).

Sstaff members, employees and volunteers of this facility must follow legal regulations with respect to


. USING OR DISCLOSING YOUR PHI

  • FOR TREATMENT-
    Dduring the course of your treatment, we may use and disclose your PHI. For example, if we have tested your blood at the hospital laboratory, a technician will share the report with your surgeon. Or, we will use your PHI to follow the doctor’s orders for an x-ray, surgical procedure or other types of treatment related procedures.

  • FOR PAYMENT-
    Afor providing treatment, we will ask your insurer to pay us. Some of your PHI may be entered into our computers in order to send a claim to your insurer. This may include a description of your health problem, the treatment we provided and your membership number in your employer’s health plan.

    Or, your insurer may want to review your medical record to determine whether your care was necessary. Also, we may disclose to a collection agency some of your PHI for collecting a bill that you have not paid.

  • FOR HEALTHCARE OPERATIONS-
    Your medical record and PHI could be used in periodic assessments by insurance and governmental agencies about the quality of care we provide. Other uses of your PHI may include business planning for our Institute or the resolution of a complaint.

  • SPECIAL USES-
    Your relationship to us as a patient might require using or disclosing your PHI in order to
    • Remind you of an appointment for treatment
    • Tell you about treatment alternatives and options
    • Tell you about our other health benefits and services


Your Authorization May Be Required-
In many cases, we may use or disclose your PHI, as summarized above, for treatment, payment or health care operations or as required or permitted by law. In other cases, we must ask for your written authorization with specific instructions and limits on our use or disclosure of your PHI. You may revoke your authorization if you change your mind later.

. CERTAIN USES AND DISCLOSURES OF YOUR PHI REQUIRED OR PERMITTED BY LAW -
As a health care facility, we must abide by many laws and regulations that either require us or permit us to use or disclose your PHI.

  • If you do not verbally object, we may share some of your PHI with a family member or friend involved in your care.
  • We may use your PHI in an emergency when you are not able to express yourself.
  • We may use or disclose your PHI for research if we receive certain assurances which protect your privacy.
  • We may also use or disclose your PHI when required by law, for example when ordered by a court.
  • For public health activities including reporting a communicable disease or adverse drug reaction to the Food and Drug Administration.
  • To report neglect, abuse or domestic violence.
  • To government regulators or agents to determine compliance with applicable rules and regulations.
  • In judicial or administrative proceedings as in response to a valid subpoena.
  • To a coroner for purposes of identifying a deceased person or determining cause of death, or to a funeral director for making funeral arrangements.
  • For purposes of research when a research oversight committee, called an institutional review board, has determined that there is a minimal risk to the privacy of your PHI.
  • For creating special types of health information that eliminate all legally required identifying information or information that would directly identify the subject of the information.
  • In accordance with the legal requirements of a workers compensation program.
  • When properly requested by law enforcement officials, for instance in reporting gun shot wounds, reporting a suspicious death or for other legal requirements.
  • If we reasonably believe that use or disclosure will avert a health hazard or to respond to a threat to public safety including an imminent crime against another person.
  • For national security purposes including to the Secret Service or if you are Armed Forces personnel and it is deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities.
  • In connection with certain types of organ donor programs.

. YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS AND HOW TO EXERCISE THEM
Uunder the federally required privacy program, patients have specific rights.
  • Your Right to Request Limited Use or Disclosure
  • You have the right to request that we do not use or disclose your PHI in a particular way. However, we are not required to abide by your request. If we do agree to your request, we must abide by the agreement.
  • Your Right to Confidential Communication
  • You have the right to receive confidential communication from this facility at a location that you provide. Your request must be in writing, provide us with the other address and explain if the request will interfere with your method of payment.
  • Your Right to Revoke Your Authorization -You may revoke, in writing, the authorization you granted us for use or disclosure of your PHI. However, if we have relied on your consent or authorization, we may use or disclose your PHI up to the time you revoke your consent.
  • Your Right to Inspect and Copy-You have the right to inspect and copy your PHI. We may refuse to give you access to your PHI if we think it may cause you harm, but we must explain why and provide you with someone to contact for a review of our refusal.
  • Your Right to Amend Your PHI-
    If you disagree with your PHI within our records, you have the right to request, in writing, that we amend your PHI when it is a record that we created or have maintained for us. We may refuse to make the amendment and you have a right to disagree in writing. If we still disagree, we may prepare a counter-statement. Your statement and our counter-statement must be made part of our record about you.
  • Your Right to Know Who Else Sees Your PHI-
    Yyou have the right to request an accounting of certain disclosures we have made of your PHI over the past six years. Requests must be made after April 14, 2003. We are not required to account for all disclosures, including those made to you, authorized by you or those involving treatment, payment and health care operations as described above. There is no charge for an annual accounting, but there may be charges for additional accountings. We will inform you if there is a charge and you have the right to withdraw your request, or pay to proceed.


What If I Have a Complaint?
If you believe that your privacy has been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the Secretary of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. We will not retaliate or penalize you for filing a complaint with this facility nor with the Secretary.
  • To file a complaint with us, please contact our office at 215-368-1122. Your complaint should provide specific details to help us in investigating a potential problem.
  • To file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, write to:
    200 Independence Ave., S.E.,
    Washington, D.C. 20201
    or call 1-877-696-6775.


. SOME OF OUR PRIVACY OBLIGATIONS AND HOW WE FULFILL THEM
Ffederal health information privacy rules require us to give you notice of our privacy practices. This document is our notice. We will abide by the privacy practices set forth in this notice. However, we reserve the right to change this notice and our privacy practices when permitted or as required by law.

If we change our notice of privacy practices, we will provide our revised notice to you when you next seek treatment from us. Current active privacy practices will be updates at this site.

COMPLIANCE WITH CERTAIN STATE LAWS -
When we use or disclose your PHI as described in this notice, or when you exercise certain of your rights set forth in this notice, we may apply state laws about the confidentiality of health information in place of federal privacy regulations. We do this when these state laws provide you with greater rights or protection for your PHI. For example, some state laws dealing with mental health records may require your express consent before your PHI could be disclosed in response to a subpoena. Another state law prohibits us from disclosing a copy of your record to you until you have been discharged from our hospital. When state laws are not in conflict or if these laws do not offer you better rights or more protection, we will continue to protect your privacy by applying the federal regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE -This notice takes effect on April 14, 2003. .

Questions related to this policy can be addressed to

NORTH PENN SURGICAL ASSOCIATES
Medical Arts Building at Lansdale Hospital
125 Medical Campus Dr., Suite 310
Lansdale, PA 19446-7205
OR BY PHONE AT
215-368-1122



MEMBER FELLOW, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS


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