HIPAA NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
The effective date of this notice is February 18, 2022.
The terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices (“Notice”) apply to Vertical Treatment Centers, its affiliates and its employees. Vertical Treatment Centers is required by law (including the Privacy Rule: 45 C.F.R. Part 160 and Subparts A and E of Part 164) to protect the privacy and security of your Protected Health Information. We are also required to provide you with this Notice regarding our legal duties, policies, and procedures to protect and maintain the privacy of your Protected Health Information. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of our patients’ protected health information and to provide patients with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information.
In addition to the obligations related to your Protected Health Information created by the Privacy Rule, we will also abide by the requirements imposed by more stringent Federal laws, including, but not limited to, HIPAA, 42 C.F.R. Part 2. Under 42 C.F.R. Part 2, we may disclose your Protected Health Information pursuant to your written authorization or without your authorization in the circumstances described below.
We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice for as long as it remains in effect. We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice as necessary and to make a new notice of privacy practices effective for all protected health information maintained by Vertical Treatment Centers. We are required to notify you in the event of a breach of your unsecured protected health information. We are also required to inform you that there may be a provision of state law that relates to the privacy of your health information that may be more stringent than a standard or requirement under the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”).
USES AND DISCLOSURES OF YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION:
Authorization and Consent:
Except as outlined below, we will not use or disclose your protected health information for any purpose other than treatment or internal health care operations or unless you have signed a form authorizing such use or disclosure. You have the right to revoke such authorization at any time; however, such revocation shall not be effective to the extent that we have taken any action in reliance on the authorization.
Uses and Disclosures for Treatment:
We will make uses and disclosures of your protected health information as necessary for your treatment. Doctors and nurses and other professionals involved in your care will use information in your medical record and information that you provide about your symptoms and reactions to your course of treatment that may include procedures, medications, tests, medical history, etc.
Uses and Disclosures for Payment:
We will make uses and disclosures of your protected health information as necessary for payment purposes in accordance with federal laws and regulations (HIPAA, 42 C.F.R. part 2). During the normal course of business operations, with your authorization we may forward information regarding your medical procedures and treatment to your insurance company to arrange payment for the services provided to you. We may also use your information to prepare a bill to send to you or to the person responsible for your payment.
Uses and Disclosures for Health Care Operations:
We will make uses and disclosures of your protected health information as necessary, and as permitted by law, for our health care operations, which may include clinical improvement, professional peer review, business management, accreditation and licensing, etc. For instance, we may use and disclose your protected health information for purposes of improving internal clinical treatment and patient care.
Individuals Involved In Your Care:
With your consent for release of information we may disclose your protected health information to designated family, friends and others who are involved in your care or in payment of your care in order to facilitate that person’s involvement in caring for you or paying for your care.
Certain aspects and components of our services are performed through contracts with outside persons or organizations, such as auditing, accreditation, outcomes data collection, legal services, etc. At times it may be necessary for us to provide your protected health information to one or more of these outside persons or organizations who assist us with our health care operations. In all cases, we require these associates to appropriately safeguard the privacy of your information.
Appointments and Services:
We may contact you to provide appointment updates or information about your treatment or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. You have the right to request, and we will accommodate reasonable requests by you to receive communications regarding your protected health information from us by alternative means or at alternative locations. For instance, if you wish appointment reminders to not be left on voice mail or sent to a particular address, we will accommodate reasonable requests. With such request, you must provide an appropriate alternative address or method of contact. You also have the right to request that we not send you any future marketing materials and we will use our best efforts to honor such request. You must make such requests in writing, including your name and address, and send such writing to the Privacy Officer at the address below.
In limited circumstances, we may use and disclose your protected health information for research purposes. In all cases where your specific authorization is not obtained, your privacy will be protected by strict confidentiality requirements applied by an Institutional Review Board which oversees the research or by representations of the researchers that limit their use and disclosure of your information.
Vertical Treatment Centers does not participate in fundraising.
Other Uses and Disclosures:
We are permitted and/or required by law to make certain other uses and disclosures of your protected health information without your consent or authorization for the following: Any purpose required by law;
- If we suspect child abuse or neglect
- To a government oversight agency conducting audits or investigations
- Court or administrative ordered subpoena or discovery request.
- A medical emergency
DISCLOSURES REQUIRING AUTHORIZATION:
We must obtain your specific written authorization prior to disclosing any psychotherapy notes unless otherwise permitted by law. However, there are certain purposes for which we may disclose psychotherapy notes, without obtaining your written authorization, including the following: (1) to carry out certain treatment or healthcare operations (e.g., use for the purposes of your treatment, for our own training, and to defend ourselves in a legal action or other proceeding brought by you), (2) to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to determine our compliance with the law, (3) as required by law, (4) for health oversight activities authorized by law, (5) to medical examiners or coroners a permitted by state law, or (6) for the purposes of preventing or lessening a serious or imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.
We must obtain your authorization for any use or disclosure of your protected health information for marketing, except if the communication is in the form of (1) a face-to-face communication with you, or (2) a promotional gift of nominal value.
RIGHTS THAT YOU HAVE REGARDING YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION:
Access to Your Protected Health Information:
You have the right to copy and/or inspect much of the protected health information that we retain on your behalf. For protected health information that we maintain in any electronic designated record set, you may request a copy of such health information in a reasonable electronic format, if readily producible. Requests for access must be made in writing and signed by you or your legal representative. We charge a reasonable copying fee and actual postage and supply costs for your protected health information.
Amendments to Your Protected Health Information: :
You have the right to request in writing that protected health information that we maintain about you be amended or corrected. We are not obligated to make requested amendments, but we will give each request careful consideration. All amendment requests, must be in writing, signed by you or legal representative, and must state the reasons for the amendment/correction request.
Accounting for Disclosures of Your Protected Health Information: You have the right to receive an accounting of certain disclosures made by us of your protected health information. Requests must be made in writing and signed by you or your legal representative. The first accounting in any 12-month period is free; you will be charged a fee for each subsequent accounting you request within the same 12-month period. You will be notified of the fee at the time of your request.
Restrictions on Use and Disclosure of Your Protected Health Information: You have the right to request restrictions on uses and disclosures of your protected health information for treatment, payment, or health care operations. We are not required to agree to most restriction requests but will attempt to accommodate reasonable requests when appropriate. You do, however, have the right to restrict disclosure of your protected health information to a health plan if the disclosure is for the purpose of carrying out payment or health care operations and is not otherwise required by law, and the protected health information pertains solely to a health care item or service for which you, or someone other than the health plan on your behalf, has paid Vertical Treatment Centers in full. If we agree to any discretionary restrictions, we reserve the right to remove such restrictions as we appropriate. We will notify you if we remove a restriction imposed in accordance with this paragraph. You also have the right to withdraw, in writing or orally, any restriction by communicating your desire to do so to the individual responsible for medical records.
Right to Notice of Breach: We take very seriously the confidentiality of our patients’ information, and we are required by law to protect the privacy and security of your protected health information through appropriate safeguards. We will notify you in the event a breach occurs involving or potentially involving your unsecured health information and inform you of what steps you may need to take to protect yourself.
Paper Copy of this Notice: You have a right, even if you have agreed to receive notices electronically, to obtain a paper copy of this Notice.
Complaints: If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint in writing. You may also file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the below address.
SC Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Civil Rights and Privacy
1801 Main Street
P.O. Box 8206, Columbia, SC 29202