Respecting Patient Privacy
Safeguarding patients privacy and confidentiality in today’s health care environment is increasingly challenging. Advanced technology, new demands in health care, and development, make it more and more difficult to do so.
As professionals, our connection to our patients depends on understanding and respecting their personal health confidentiality, it is our ethical and legal obligation as health care providers and it is our duty to protect the well being of those who are entrusted to our care.
How we disclose your health information
Optimum Care Dental Clinic may use Health Information about you to provide you with dental health treatment or services. We may disclose Health Information about you to our dentists, technicians, or other Clinic personnel who are involved in taking care of you at our Clinic. For example, a dentist treating you for a Root Canal may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. A dentist treating you may need to know what medications you are currently taking, because the medications may affect what other medications may be prescribed to you. We may also share Health Information about you with other providers. The disclosure of your Health Information to other providers may be done electronically through a health information exchange that allows providers involved in your care to access some of your records we have on file to coordinate services for you.
We may use and disclose Health Information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at our Clinic, may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, we may need to give information to your health plan about surgery or therapy you received at our Clinic so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery or therapy. We may also tell your health plan about a proposed treatment to determine whether your plan will pay for the treatment.
For Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose Health Information about you for our business operations. For example, your Health Information may be used to review the quality and safety of our services, or for business planning, management and administrative services. We may contact you about alternative treatment options for you or about other benefits or services we provide. We may also use and disclose your health information to an outside company that performs services for us such as accreditation, legal, computer or auditing services. These outside companies are called “business associates” and are required by law to keep your Health Information confidential. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical and other students, and other Clinic personnel for performance improvement and educational purposes.
We may contact you to remind you that you have an appointment at our Clinic.
Individuals Involved in Your Care
We may release health information to anyone involved in your dental care, e.g., a friend, family member, personal representative, or any individual you identify. We also may give information to someone who helps pay for your care. We also may tell your family or friends about your general condition.
Your Rights Regarding Your Health Information
Right to Inspect and Copy
With certain exceptions, you have the right to inspect and/or receive a copy of your Health Information. If we have the information in electronic format, then you have the right to get your Health Information in electronic format if it is possible for us to do so. If not, we will work with you to agree on a way for you to get the information electronically or as a paper copy.
Right to Request Restrictions
You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the Health Information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the Health Information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as a family member or friend.
To request a restriction, you must make your request in writing to our Patient Services. In your request, you must tell us
- What information you want to limit;
- Whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and
- To whom you want the limits to apply (for example, only to you and your spouse).
We are not required to agree to your request except in the limited circumstance described below. If we do agree, our agreement must be in writing, and we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency care.
We are required to agree to a request not to share your information with your health plan if the following conditions are met:
- We are not otherwise required by law to share the information;
- The information would be shared with your insurance company for payment purposes;
- You pay the entire amount due for the health care item or service out of your own pocket or someone else pays the entire amount for you.
Right to Request Confidential Communications
You have the right to request that we communicate with you about your Health Information in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may ask that we contact you only at home or only by mail.
To request confidential medical communications, you must make your request in writing to our Patient Services. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.
Changes to Privacy Practices
We reserve the right to change our privacy practices notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for Health 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. In addition, at any time you may request a copy of the current notice in effect.