Uses and Disclosure of Health Information
This notice details how your PHI is used and how you can get access to your PHI. The Bridges of San Diego is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal and health information we collect or create as part of providing health care services to our clients, known as “Protected Health Information” or “PHI”. PHI typically includes your name, address, date of birth, billing arrangements, care, and other information that relates to your health, health care provided to you, or payment for health care provided to you. PHI DOES NOT include information that is de-identified or cannot be linked to you. This notice of Health Information Privacy Practices describes The Bridges of San Diego’ duties with respect to the privacy of PHI, The Bridges of San Diego’ use of and disclosure of PHI, client rights and contact information for comments, questions, and complaints.
Company Privacy Practices and Legal Obligations
The Bridges of San Diego obtains most of its PHI directly from you, through care applications, assessments and direct questions. We may collect additional personal information depending upon the nature of your needs and consent to make additional referrals and inquiries. We may also obtain PHI from community health care agencies, other governmental agencies or health care providers as we set up your service arrangements.
The Bridges of San Diego is required by law to provide you with this notice and to abide by the terms of the Notice currently in effect. The Bridges of San Diego reserves the right to amend this Notice at any time to reflect changes in our privacy practices. Any such changes will be applicable to and effective for all PHI that we maintain including PHI we created or received prior to the effective date of the revised notice. Any revised notice will be mailed to you or provided upon request. The Bridges of San Diego is required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI. The Bridges of San Diego will comply with federal law and will comply with any state law that further limits or restricts the uses and disclosures discussed below. In order to comply with these state and federal laws, The Bridges of San Diego has adopted policies and procedures that require its employees to obtain, maintain, use and disclose PHI in a manner that protects client privacy.
Uses and Disclosures With & Without Your Authorization
Except as outlined below, The Bridges of San Diego will not use or disclose your PHI without your written authorization. The authorization form is available from The Bridges of San Diego (at the address and phone number below). You have the right to revoke your authorization at any time, except to the extent that The Bridges of San Diego has taken action in reliance on the authorization.
The law permits The Bridges of San Diego to use and disclose your PHI for the following reasons without your authorization:
For Your Treatment: We may use or disclose your PHI to physicians, psychologists, nurses and other authorized healthcare professionals who need your PHI in order to conduct an examination, prescribe medication or otherwise provide health care services to you.
To Obtain Payment: We may use or disclose your PHI to insurance companies , government agencies or health plans to assist us in getting paid for our services . For example, we may release information such as dates of treatment to an insurance company in order to obtain payment.
For Our Health Care Operations: We may use or disclose your PHI in the course of activities necessary to support our health care operations such as performing quality checks on your employee services. We may also disclose PHI to other persons not in The Bridges of San Diego’ workforce or to companies who help us perform our health services (referred to as “Business Associates”) we require these business associates to appropriately protect the privacy of your information .
As Permitted or Required by The Law: In some cases we are required by law to disclose PHI. Such as disclosers may be required by statute, regulation court order, government agency, we reasonably believe an individual to be a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence: for judicial and administrative proceedings and enforcement purposes.
For Public Health Activities: We may disclose your PHI for public health purposes such as reporting communicable disease results to public health departments as required by law or when required for law enforcement purposes.
For Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose your PHI in connection with governmental oversight, such as for licensure, auditing and for administration of government benefits.
To Avert Serious Threat to Health and Safety: We may disclose PHI if we believe in good faith that doing so will prevent or lessen a serious or imminent threat to the health and safety of a person or the public.
Disclosures of Health-Related Benefits or Services: Sometimes we may want to contact you regarding service reminders, health related products or services that may be of interest to you, such as health care providers or settings of care or to tell you about other health related products or services offered at The Bridges of San Diego. You have the right not to accept such information.
Incidental Uses and Disclosures: Incidental uses and disclosures of PHI are those that cannot be reasonably prevented, are limited in nature and that occur as a by-product of a permitted use or disclosure. Such incidental used and disclosures are permitted as long as The Bridges of San Diego use reasonable safeguards and use or disclose only the minimum amount of PHI necessary.
To Personal Representatives: We may disclose PHI to a person designated by you to act on your behalf and make decisions about your care in accordance with state law. We will act according to your written instructions in your chart and our ability to verify the identity of anyone claiming to be your personal representative.
To Family and Friends: We may disclose PHI to persons that you indicate are involved in your care or the payment of care. These disclosures may occur when you are not present, as long as you agree and do not express an objection. These disclosures may also occur if you are unavailable, incapacitated, or facing an emergency medical situation and we determine that a limited disclosure may be in your best interest. We may also disclose limited PHI to public or private entity that is authorized to assist in disaster relief efforts in order for that entity to locate a family member or other person that may be involved in caring for you. You have the right to limit or stop these disclosures.
Your Rights Concerning Privacy
Access to Certain Records: You have the right to inspect and copy your PHI in a designated record set except where State law may prohibit client access. A designated record set contains medical and billing and case management information. If we do not have your PHI record set but know who does, we will inform you how to get it. If our PHI is a copy of information maintained by another health care provider, we may direct you to request the PHI from them. If The Bridges of San Diego produces copies for you, we may charge you up to $1.00 per page up to a maximum fee of $50.00. Should we deny your request for access to information contained in your designated record set, you have the right to ask for the denial to be reviewed by another healthcare professional designated by The Bridges of San Diego.
Amendments to Certain Records: You have the right to request certain amendments to your PHI if, for example, you believe a mistake has been made or a vital piece of information is missing. The Bridges of San Diego is not required to make the requested amendments and will inform you in writing of our response to your request.
Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of your PHI that were made by The Bridges of San Diego for a period of six (6) years prior to the date of your written request. This accounting does not include for purposes of treatment, payment, health care operations or certain other excluded purposes, but includes other types of disclosures, including disclosures for public health purposes or in response to a subpoena or court order.
Restrictions: You have the right to request that we agree to restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your PHI, but we are not required to agree to your request. You cannot place limits on uses and disclosures that we are legally required or allowed to make.
Revoke Authorizations: You have the right to revoke any authorizations you have provided, except to the extent that The Bridges of San Diego has already relied upon the prior authorization.
Delivery by Alternate Means or Alternate Address: You have the right to request that we send your PHI by alternate means or to an alternate address.
Complaints & How to contact us: If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you have the right to file a complaint by contacting The Bridges of San Diego at the address and/or phone number indicated below. You also have the right to file a complaint with the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human services in Washington, D.C. The Bridges of San Diego will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
Violation of Privacy Rights: If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may make a complaint by contacting The Bridges of San Diego on site Director. You may also contact the Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. No individual will be retaliated against for filing a complaint.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775
At the time of admission, each client receives a notice of client rights, Notice of HIPPA rile, notice on disclosures of information, and Privacy Practices of The Bridges of San Diego. In signing this notice as part of the Admission Agreement, clients indicate their receipt and understanding of HIPAA rule, the company’s responsibilities, obligations, and privacy practices, and client rights as a person receiving care and treatment services.
All individuals who apply for services, regardless of sex, race, age, color, creed, financial status, or national origin, are assured that their lawful rights as Clients shall be guaranteed and protected. While being served, you the Client are assured and guaranteed the following rights:
- To be treated with respect and dignity.
- To receive timely treatment by qualified professionals.
- Every effort will be made to use the least restrictive, most appropriate treatment available, based on Client needs.
- Each Client shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in activities designed to enhance self-image.
- An individualized treatment plan shall be developed for each Client in accordance with the provisions established for each program component.
- To receive quality treatment that is best suited to his/her needs and shall include appropriate services, whether they be medical, vocational, social, educational, and/or rehabilitative services.
- To express by signature an informed consent of the right to release information for communication purposes with other agencies.
- To receive communication and correspondence from individuals.
- To privacy for interview/counseling sessions.
- To practice your religious practices.
- To be provided humane care and protection from harm.
- To contract and consult with legal counsel and private practitioners of your choice at your expense.
- To exercise your constitutional, statutory, and civil rights.
- To be free of physical restraint or seclusion.
- To be informed of the nature of treatment or rehabilitation, the known effects of receiving the treatment or rehabilitation, and alternative treatment or rehabilitation programs.
- To be provided information on an ongoing basis regarding your treatment or rehabilitation.
- To be provided services in accordance with standards of practice, appropriate to your needs, and designed to afford you a reasonable opportunity to improve your condition.
- To confidentiality of the Client being in treatment and of the Client’s records. The Federal Rules restricts any use of information to criminally investigate or prosecute any alcohol or drug abuse Client. Federal regulations state any person who violates any provision of the law shall be fined not more the $500.00 in the case of the first offense and not more than $5,000.00 in the case of each subsequent offense, except where noted in the Federal Law of Confidentiality, 42 CFR, Part 2, Section 2.22, which includes the following:
- The limited circumstances of release of Client information includes, crimes on program premises or against program personnel, medical emergencies, mandated reports of child abuse or neglect, elderly abuse, threats to harm self or others, research, audit and evaluations, or court orders.
- To receive full information regarding the treatment process.
- To refuse treatment.
- To all other constitutional and legal rights, including the right to personal clothing and effects.
- To be informed of the Client grievance procedure upon request.