Privacy Practices

This notice describes how health information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. It is effective March 1st, 2006, and applies to all protected health information (PHI) contained in your health records maintained by us. We have the following duties regarding the maintenance, use, and disclosure of your health records:

  1. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of the PHI in your records and to provide you with this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to that information.

  2. We are required to abide by the terms of this notice currently in effect

  3. We reserve the right to change the terms of this notice at any time, making the new provisions effective for all health information and records that we have and continue to maintain. All changes in this notice will be prominently displayed and available at our office.

There are a number of situations in which we may use or disclose to other persons or entities your confidential health information. Certain uses and disclosures will require you to sign an acknowledgement that you received this notice of privacy practices. These include payment, treatment, and health care operations. Any use or disclosure of your PHI required for anything other than health care operations, payment, or treatment requires you to sign an authorization. Certain disclosures that are required by law, or under emergency circumstances, may be made without your acknowledgement or authorization. Under any circumstance, we wil use or disclose only the minimum amount of information necessary from your medical records to accomplish the intended purpose of the disclosure.

We will attempt in good faith to obtain your signed acknowledgement that you received this notcie to use and disclose your confidential medical information from the following purposes. These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, but to describe the types of uses and disclosures that may be made by our office once you have provided consent.

Payment: We may need to use or disclose information in your health record to obtain reimbursement from you, from your health insurance carrier, or from another insurer fro our services rendered to you. This may include determinations of eligibility or coverage under the appropriate health plan, pre-certification and pre-authorization of services, or review of services for the purpose of reimbursement. This information may also be used for billing, claims, management and collection purposes, and related healthcare data processing through our system.

Treatment: We will use your health information to make decisions about the provision, coordination, or management of you health care, including analyzing or diagnosing your condition and determining the appropriate treatment for that condition. It may also be necessary to share your health information with another health care provider whom we need to consult with respect to your care. These are only examples of uses and disclosures of medical information for treatment purposes that may or may not be necessary in your case.

Operatations: Your health records may be used in our business planning and development operations, including improvements in our methods of operation, and general adminstrative functions. We may also use the information in our overall compliance planning, healthcare review activities, and arranging for legal and auditing functions.

There are certain circumstances under which we may use or disclose your PHI without first obtaining your acknowledgement or authorization. These circumstances generally involve public health and oversight activities, law enforcement activities, judicial and administrative proceedings, and in the event of death. Specifically we may be required to report to certain agencies information regarding certain communicable diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, or HIV/AIDS status. We may also be required to report instances of suspected or documented abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. We are required to report to appropriate agencies and law-enforcement officials information that you or another person is in immediate threat of danger to health or saftety as a result of violent activity. We must also provide health information when ordered by a court of lawe to do so. We may contact you from time to time to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may interest you.

Others involved in your health care: Unless you object, we may disclose to a member of your family, a relative, a close friend or any other person you identify, your PHI that directly relates to that person's involvement in your health care. If you are unable to agree or object to such a disclosure, we may disclose such information as necessary if we determine that it is in your best interest based on our professional judgement. We may use or disclose PHI to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or any person who is responsible for your care, of your location, general condition, or death. Finally, we may use or disclose your PHI to an authorized public or private entity to assist in disaster relief efforts and to coordinate uses and disclosures to family or other individuals involved in your health care.

Communication Barriers and Emergencies: We may use and disclose your PHI if we attempt to obtain consent from you but are unable to do so because of substantial communication barriers and we determine, using professional judgement, that you intend to consent to use or disclose under the circumstances. We may use or disclose your PHI in an emergency treatment situation. If this happens, we will try to obtain your consent as soon as reasonable possible after the delivery of treatment. If we are required by law or as a matter of necessity to treat you, and we have attempted to obtain your consent but have not been able to do so, we may still use or disclose you PHI to treat you.

Except as indicated above, you PHI will not be used or disclosed to any other person or entity without your specific authorization, which may be revoked at any time. In particular, except to the extent disclosure has been made to government entities required by law to maintain the confidentiality of the information concerning mental-health treatment, drugs and alcohol abuse, HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases that may be contained in your health records. We likewise will not disclose your health record information to an employer for purposes of making employment decisions, to a liability insurer, or attorney as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident, or to educational authorities, without your written authorization.

You have certain rights regarding your health record information and PHI: 1) You may request that we restrict the uses and disclosures of your health record information for treatment, payment, and operations or restrictions involving your care or payment related to that care. We are not required to agree to the restriction, however, if we agree, we will comply with it, except with regard to emergencies, disclosure of the information to you, or if we are otherwise required by law to make a full disclosure without restriction.

You have a right to request receipt of confidential communications of your medical information by an alternative means or at an alternative location. If you require such an accomodation, you may be charged a fee for the accomodation and will be required to specify the alternative address or method of contact and how payment will be handled.

You have the right to inspect, copy, and request amendments to your health records. Access to your health records will not include psychotherapy notes contained in them or information compiled in anticipation of or for use in a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding to which your access is restricted by law. We will charge a reasonable fee for providing a copy of your health records or a summary of those records, at your request. This will include the cost of copying, postage, and preparation or an explanation or summary of the information.

All requests for inspection, copying, and/or amending information in your health records, and all requests related to your rights under this notice, must be made in writing and addressed to the Privacy Officer at our address. We will respond to your request in a timely manner

You have a limited right to receive an accounting of all disclosures we make to other persons or entities of your health information except for disclosures required for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations, disclosures that require authorization, disclosure incidental to another permissable use or disclosure, and other as allowed by law. We will not charge you for the first accounting in any twelve month period, however, we will charge a reasonable fee for each subsequent request for an accounting within the same 12 month time span.

If this notice was initially provided to you electronically, you have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice and to take one home with you if you wish.

You have the right to file a written complaint to our office or to the Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights with respect to confidential information in your health records have been violated. All complaints must be in writing and must be addressed to the privacy office (in regards to complaints made to our office) or the person designated by the US Department of Health and Human Services if we cannot resolve your concerns. You will not be retaliated against for filing such a complaint. More information is available about filing a complaint at the following website: hppt://www.hhs.gove/ocr/hipaa .

Any and all questions concerning this notice or requests made pursuant to it should be addressed to: Privacy Officer, 908 Rain Forest Parkway Suite B, Columbia, MO 65202.