NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY. THE PRIVACY OF YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT TO US.
I. OUR LEGAL DUTYMetro Dentalcare (referred to herein as “We” or “Our”) is required by applicable federal and state law to maintain the privacy of your health information. We are also required to give you this Notice of Privacy Practices (“Notice”) about our privacy practices, our legal duties, and your rights concerning your health information. We must follow the privacy practices that are described in this Notice while it is in effect. The original Notice took effect August 11, 2015 and has been amended effective as of August 11th, 2015. The amended Notice shall and will remain in effect until we further amend or replace it.
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this Notice at any time, provided such changes are permitted by applicable law. We reserve the right to make the changes in our privacy practices and the new terms of our Notice effective for all health information that we maintain, including health information we created or received before we made the changes. In the event we make a material change in our privacy practices, it will be posted on our website at www.metro-dentalcare.com and we will change this Notice and provide it to you.
You may request a copy of our Notice at any time. For more information about our privacy practices, or for additional copies of this Notice, please contact us using the information listed at the end of this Notice.
II. TO WHAT INFORMATION DOES THIS NOTICE APPLY?Protected Health Information (PHI) is information that you provide us or that we create or receive about your dental care. PHI includes a patient’s name, age, race, sex, and other personal health information that may identify the patient. The information relates to the patient’s physical or mental health in the past, present, or future, and to the care, treatment, services and payment for care needed by a patient because of his or her health.
III. WAYS WE CAN USE AND SHARE YOUR PHI WITHOUT YOUR WRITTEN PERMISSION (OR AUTHORIZATION)In many situations, we can use and share your PHI for activities that are common in dental practices. In certain other situations, which we will describe below, we must have your written permission (authorization) to use and/or share your PHI. We do not need any type of permission from you for the following uses and disclosures:
A. We must use and disclose your health information to provide that information: a. To you or someone who has the legal right to act for you (your personal representative) in order to administer your rights as described in this Notice; and b. To the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, if necessary, to make sure your privacy is protected. B. Uses and Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations. We may use and share your PHI to provide "Treatment," obtain "Payment" for your Treatment, and perform our "Health Care Operations.” This is what these terms mean: a. Treatment. We use and share your PHI to provide care and other services to you--for example, to diagnose and treat your dental condition. In addition, we may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment options. We may tell you about other health-related benefits and services that might interest you. We may also share PHI with other dental specialists, dentists, hygienists, assistants, and others involved in your care. b. Payment. We may use and share your PHI to receive payment for services that we provide to you. For example, we may share your PHI to request and receive payment from your health insurer or other company or program that arranges or pays the cost of some or all of your dental care ("Your Payor") and to confirm that Your Payor will pay for dental care. As another example, we may share your PHI with the person who you told us is primarily responsible for paying for your Treatment, such as your spouse or parent. c. Health Care Operations. We may use and share your PHI for our health care operations, which include management, care coordination, planning, and activities that improve the quality and lower the cost of the care that we deliver. For example, we may use PHI to review the quality and skill of our dentists, hygienists, and other dental care providers. We may use your PHI to conduct quality assessment and improvement activities, including outcomes evaluation and the development of clinical guidelines. We may also use your PHI to participate in population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing dental care costs. Also, we might use your PHI to provide you information on health related programs or products such as alternative dental treatments and programs or about health-related products and services, subject to limits imposed by law. C. Disclosures to Your Other Health Care Providers. We may also share PHI with other dental or health care providers when they need it to provide Treatment to you, to obtain Payment for the care they give to you, to perform certain Health Care Operations, such as reviewing the quality and skill of dental care professionals, or to review their actions in following the law. D. Disclosure to Relatives, Close Friends and Your Other Caregivers. We may share your PHI with your family member/relative, a close personal friend, or another person who you identify if we (1) first provide you with the chance to object to the disclosure and you do not object; (2) infer that you do not object to the disclosure; or (3) obtain your agreement to share your PHI with these individuals. If you are not present at the time we share your PHI, or you are not able to agree or disagree to our sharing your PHI because you are not capable or there is an emergency circumstance, we may use our professional judgment to decide that sharing the PHI is in your best interest. We may also use or share your PHI to notify (or assist in notifying) these individuals about your location and general condition. E. To Business Associates that perform functions on our behalf or provide us with services if the information is necessary for such functions or services. Our business associates are required, under contract with us, to protect the privacy of your information and are not allowed to use or disclose any information other than as specified in our contract. F. For Data Breach Notification Purposes. We may use your contact information to provide legally-required notices of unauthorized acquisition, access, or disclosure of your health information. G. Public Health Activities. We are required or are permitted by law to report PHI to certain government agencies and others. For example, we may share your PHI for the following: a. to report health information to public health authorities for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability; b. to report known or suspected abuse or neglect to the appropriate public child protective services agency, as we are required to do by law; c. to report information about products and services to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; d. to alert a person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or may otherwise be at risk of developing or spreading a disease or condition; e. to report information to your employer as required under laws addressing work-related illnesses and injuries or workplace medical surveillance; and f. to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to a person for the public's health or safety or to certain government agencies with special functions such as the State Department. H. Health Oversight Activities. We may share your PHI with a health oversight agency that oversees the health care system and ensures the rules of government health programs, such as Medicaid, are being followed. I. Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. We may share your PHI in the course of a judicial or administrative proceeding in response to a court order or other lawful process. J. Law Enforcement Purposes. We may share your PHI with the police or other law enforcement officials as required or permitted by law or in compliance with a court order or warrant. K. Decedents. We may share PHI with a coroner or medical examiner as authorized by law. L. Workers' Compensation. We may share your PHI as permitted by or required by state law relating to workers' compensation or other similar programs. M. As Required by Law. We may use and share your PHI when required to do so by any other law not already referred to above.