Effective September 23, 2013
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.
OUR PLEDGE TO YOU
At Akron Children’s Hospital, we believe your health information is personal. We keep records of the care and services you receive at our facilities. We are committed to keeping your health information private, and we are also required by law to respect your confidentiality.
This Notice describes the privacy practices of Akron Children’s and its affiliated facilities. This Notice applies to all of the health records that Akron Children’s maintains about you. If you are under 18 years of age, your parents or guardian must sign for you and handle your privacy rights for you. We are legally required to give you this Notice, to notify you if there is a breach of your protected health information and to follow the terms of this Notice, which may be amended from time to time.
For purposes of this Notice, the use of the words “we,” “us” and “our” mean Akron Children’s and all the people and entities that make up Akron Children’s, which are listed at the end of this Notice. Note: In all cases when the words “you” or “patient” are used, it should be taken to mean “the patient or their parent/ legal guardian.”
Who Follows This Notice of Privacy Practices?
All of our hospitals, employed physicians, doctors’ offices, entities, foundations, facilities, home care programs, other services and affiliated facilities follow the terms of this Notice. These hospitals and locations are shown at the end of this Notice.
The doctors and other caregivers at Akron Children’s who are not employed by Akron Children’s exchange information about you as a patient with Akron Children’s employees. These healthcare practitioners may also give you other privacy notices that describe their office practices.
All of these hospitals, doctors, entities, foundations, facilities, and services may share your health information with each other for reasons of treatment, payment and healthcare operations as discussed in this Notice.
How Akron Children’s May Use and Disclose Your Health Information
When you become a patient of Akron Children’s, we will use your health information within Akron Children’s and disclose your health information outside Akron Children’s for the reasons described in this Notice. The following categories describe some of the ways we will use and disclose your health information.
Treatment. We use your health information to provide you with healthcare services. We may disclose your health information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical or nursing students or other persons at Akron Children’s who need that information to take care of you. For example, if you have diabetes, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian about your condition so you get the kind of meals you need. In some situations, we may disclose health information about you to other healthcare facilities or providers who will be treating you. This may involve talking to doctors and others not employed by us. We also may disclose your health information to people outside Akron Children’s who may be involved in your healthcare, such as treating doctors, home care providers, pharmacies, drug or medical device experts, and family members. We may use and disclose your information to provide you with a personal health record such as MyChart. We may also participate in electronic health information exchanges that facilitate access to personal, protected health information by other healthcare providers who provide you care. For example, if you receive care from another provider that participates in the health information exchange, this exchange will allow us to make your personal, protected health information available to the provider as needed for your treatment.
Payment. We may use and disclose your health information so the healthcare you receive may be billed and paid for by you, your insurance company or another third party. For example, we may give information about surgery you had here to your health plan so it will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive so we can get prior payment approval or learn if your plan will pay for the treatment.
Health Care Operations. We may use your health information and disclose it outside Akron Children’s for our healthcare operations. These uses and disclosures help us operate Akron Children’s to maintain and improve patient care. For example, we may use your health information to review the care you received and evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We also may combine health information about many patients to identify new services to offer, what services are not needed, whether certain therapies are effective, and to conduct our community health needs assessment. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, affiliated students and other persons at Akron Children’s for learning and quality improvement purposes. We may remove information that identifies you so people outside Akron Children’s may study your health data without knowing who you are.
Business Associates. We may disclose your health information to others who perform services on our behalf that we call “Business Associates.” The Business Associate must agree in writing to protect the confidentiality of the information. For example, we may disclose your health information to a billing company that bills for the services we provided.
Contacting You. We may use and disclose health information to respond to your inquiries and reach you about appointments and other matters. We may contact you by mail, telephone or email. For example, we may leave voice messages at the telephone number you provide, and we may respond to your email address.
Fundraising. We may use limited portions of your health information, including your name, age, gender, date of birth, address, phone number, health insurance status, treating physician and department of service, outcome information, and the dates you or your child received treatment or services at Akron Children’s in an effort to raise funds to support Akron Children’s programs and operations. If you do not want Akron Children’s to contact you about contribution or fundraising programs, please submit your request in writing to: Development Office, Akron Children’s Hospital, One Perkins Square, Akron, Ohio, 44308. You may opt out of specific fundraising activities or all fundraising activities and if you opt out, you may request to opt back in at any time.
Health-Related Services. We may use and disclose health information about you to send you mailings about health-related products and services available at Akron Children’s.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may share your health information with a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care, unless you tell us in advance not to do so. Examples of ways we might disclose your information to family and friends involved with your care are: sharing information with your friend so they could pick up a prescription or medical supply, or telling your family or friends that you are in our hospital and your general condition. In addition, we may share your health information with an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort (such as the Red Cross) so your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
Marketing Activities. We may use your health information for marketing purposes without your authorization only when we discuss such products or services with you face to face or provide you with a gift of nominal value related to the product or service. For other types of marketing activities, we will obtain your written authorization. We will not sell your name or other information to others.
Patient Information Directories. Akron Children’s includes limited information about you in our patient directories, such as your name and possibly your location in the hospital and your general condition (for example: good, fair, serious, critical or undetermined). We usually give this information to people who ask for you by name. We also may include your religious affiliation in the directories and give this limited information to clergy from the community. We do not release this information if you are being treated on a psychiatric or behavioral health unit. Releasing directory information about you enables your family and others (such as friends, community-based clergy and delivery persons) to visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing. We will not release any of this information to these persons if you tell the hospital’s admitting department not to.
Research. We perform medical research here. Our clinical researchers may look at your health records as part of your current care, or to prepare or perform research. They may share your health information with other Akron Children’s researchers. All patient research conducted at Akron Children’s goes through a special process required by law that reviews protections for patients involved in research, including privacy. We will not use your health information or disclose it outside Akron Children’s for research reasons without either getting your prior written approval or determining that your privacy is protected.
Other Uses and Disclosures Required or Permitted by Law.
Authorizations for Other Uses and Disclosures
As described above, we will use your health information and disclose it outside Akron Children’s for treatment, payment, healthcare operations, and when permitted or required by law. We will not use or disclose your health information for other reasons without your written authorization. For example, most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes and marketing require your authorization. You may give us authorization to use or disclose your health information to anyone for any purpose. You may revoke the authorization, in writing, at any time, but we cannot take back any uses or disclosures of your health information already made with your authorization.
Other Limitations on Disclosures
When applicable, we will comply with state and federal laws that are more stringent than the privacy regulations created under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. For example, Ohio and/or federal law require that we obtain an authorization from you in many instances before disclosing the performance or results of an HIV test, or diagnosis of AIDS or an AIDS-related condition; before disclosing information about drug or alcohol treatment you received in a drug or alcohol treatment program; and before disclosing information about mental health services you may have received.
Your Rights Regarding Health Information
Right to Accounting. You have the right to ask us for an accounting of disclosures. This is a list of certain disclosures of your health information made by Akron Children’s or its Business Associates. We do not have to provide you with an accounting of disclosures when the information was disclosed for treatment, payment or healthcare operations; pursuant to your request or authorization; or for certain other disclosures permitted or required by law. You must include in your written request how far back in time you want us to go. It may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003, which is the date when by law we are required to begin keeping track of the disclosures.
Right to Amend. If you feel that health information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to ask for an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for Akron Children’s. If you do not ask in writing or give your reasons in writing, we may refuse to review your request until you put it in writing. We have the right to refuse your request if you ask us to amend information that: 1) was not made by us, unless the person or place that originally made the information is no longer available to make the amendment; 2) is not part of the health information kept by or for Akron Children’s; 3) is not part of the information you are permitted by law to see and copy; or 4) that we believe is correct and complete. Please note that even if we accept your request, we are not required to delete any information from your health record.
Right to Inspect and Obtain Copy. You have the right to ask to see and copy the health information we use to make decisions about your care. You may obtain an electronic copy of your health information if we maintain the health information electronically. If you ask to copy your health information, you may have to pay for copying costs whether in paper or electronic form, including supplies and labor, and postage for mailing. You may ask that we send the copy of your health information to another person if you clearly identify the designated person and where to send the copy of your health information. We may tell you that you cannot see or copy some or all of your health information. If we tell you this, you may ask that someone else review this decision. A licensed healthcare professional chosen by Akron Children’s who was not involved in the denial will review this decision. We will follow the decision of this reviewer.
Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to ask us to restrict the uses or disclosures we make of your health information for treatment, payment or healthcare operations, but we do not have to agree (except in certain situations if you ask us not to give your health plan information related to services you paid us for out of pocket in full). You also may ask us to limit the health information that we use or disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. Again, we do not have to agree. A request for a restriction must be signed and dated, and you must identify the Akron Children’s Hospital or facility that maintains the information. The request should also describe the information you want restricted, say whether you want to limit the use or the disclosure of the information or both, and tell us who should not receive the restricted information. You must submit your request in writing to the Health Information Management department at Akron Children’s Hospital or facility that maintains the information you want restricted or to the Privacy Office, Akron Children’s Hospital, One Perkins Square, Akron, OH 44308. We will tell you if we agree with your request or not. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you with emergency treatment.
Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about your health in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail. Your request for confidential communications must be in writing, signed and dated. It must identify Akron Children’s Hospital or the facility making the confidential communications and specify how or where you wish to be contacted. You need not tell us the reason for your request, and we will not ask. You must send your written request to the Health Information Management department of Akron Children’s Hospital or facility making the confidential communications or to the Privacy Office, Akron Children’s Hospital, One Perkins Square, Akron, OH 44308. We will accommodate all reasonable requests.
Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive this Notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy. You may obtain a paper copy of this Notice at any of our facilities or by calling the Akron Children’s Privacy Officer at (330) 543-3065.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a written complaint with Akron Children’s Hospital or with the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with Akron Children’s, contact the Patient Advocate at (330) 543-3534 to obtain a privacy complaint form (they will forward your written complaint to the Privacy Officer). Individuals wishing to file a complaint may also call the Corporate Compliance Helpline/Hotline at 1-877-820-3037. To file a complaint with the Region V Office for Civil Rights, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 233 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 240, Chicago, Illinois 60601, in writing, within 180 days of a violation of your rights. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
Changes to this Notice
Akron Children’s may change this Notice at any time. Any change in the Notice could apply to 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 at each of our facilities.
If you have questions about this Notice, please contact the Patient Advocate at 330-543-3534, or submit your question in writing to Akron Children’s Hospital, Patient Advocate, One Perkins Square, Akron, Ohio 44308. You may also contact the Privacy Officer at 330-543-3065.
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