FAMILY SERVICE SOCIETY, INC. NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.

PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.

If you have any questions about this notice, please contact Family Service Society’s Privacy Officer at 607-962-3148, 280 Princeton Ave., Ext., Corning, NY 14830.

WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE

This notice describes the information privacy practices followed by our counselors, employees, staff and other office personnel. The practices described in this notice will also be followed by counselors you consult with by telephone (when your regular counselor from our office is not available) who provide "call coverage" for your counselor.

YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION

This notice applies to the information and records we have about your mental health, health status, and the treatment and services you receive at this office.

We are required by law to give you this notice. It will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose information about you and describes your rights and our obligations regarding the use and disclosure of that information.

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

For Treatment We may use information about you to access your needs and provide you with treatment or services. We may disclose treatment information about you to counselors, office staff or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you and your treatment.

With your written permission, different personnel in our office may share information about you and disclose information to people who do not work in our office in order to coordinate your treatment Family members and other health care providers may be part of your treatment outside this office and may require information about you that we can provide with your written permission.

For Payment We may use and disclose treatment information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at this office 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 your insurance plan information about a service you received here so your insurance plan will pay us or reimburse you for the service. We may also tell your insurance plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval, or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.

For Treatment Operations When evaluating our services or the outcomes of your care, we do not disclose personal client information to persons outside of FSS and whenever possible do not include identifying information when conducting internal outcome assessments.

Appointment Reminders and Follow up calls: We may contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment, or to cancel or reschedule an appointment. We may also contact you by letter or phone call if we haven’t heard from you in awhile or to perform client satisfaction surveys.

Please notify us if you do not wish to be contacted for appointment reminders, follow up calls, or client satisfaction surveys. If you advise us in writing (at the address listed at the top of this Notice) that you do not wish to receive such communications, we will not use or disclose your information for these purposes.

You may revoke your Consent at any time by giving us written notice. Your revocation will be effective when we receive it, but it will not apply to any uses and disclosures which occurred before that time.

If you do revoke your Consent, we will not be permitted to use or disclose information for purposes of treatment, payment or health care operations, and we may therefore choose to discontinue providing you with treatment and services.

SPECIAL SITUATIONS

We may use or disclose health information about you without your permission for the following purposes, subject to all applicable legal requirements and limitations:

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety We may use and disclose treatment information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person.

Required By Law We will disclose treatment information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.

Research We may use and disclose treatment information about you for research projects that are subject to a special approval process. We will ask you for your permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care at the office.

Military, Veterans, National Security and Intelligence If you are or were a member of the armed forces, or part of the national security or intelligence communities, we may be required by military command or other government authorities to release treatment information about you. We may also release information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.

Workers' Compensation We may release health information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

Public Health Risks We may disclose health/treatment information about you for public health reasons in order to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; suspected abuse or neglect, non-accidental physical injuries as directed by public health mandates.

Health Oversight Activities We may disclose treatment information to a health oversight agency for audits, investigations, inspections, or licensing purposes. These disclosures may be necessary for certain state and federal agencies to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.

Lawsuits and Disputes If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose treatment information about you in response to a court or administrative order. Subject to all applicable legal requirements, we may also disclose health information about you in response to a judicial subpoena.

Law Enforcement We may release treatment information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official in response to a court order, judicial subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process, subject to all applicable legal requirements.

Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors We may release treatment information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death.

Information Not Personally Identifiable We may use or disclose treatment information about you in a way that does not personally identify you or reveal who you are.

Family and Friends We may disclose treatment information about you to your family members or friends if we obtain your verbal/written agreement to do so. We may also disclose treatment information to your family or friends if we can infer from the circumstances, based on our professional judgment that you would not object. For example, we may assume you agree to our disclosure of your personal treatment information to your spouse when you bring your spouse with you into the office during treatment or while treatment is discussed.

In situations where you are not capable of giving consent (because you are not present or due to your incapacity or medical emergency), we may, using our professional judgment, determine that a disclosure to your family member or friend is in your best interest. In that situation, we will disclose only treatment information relevant to the person's involvement in your care.

OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES OF HEALTH INFORMATION

We will not use or disclose your treatment information for any purpose other than those identified in the previous sections without your specific, written Authorization. We must obtain your Authorization separate from any Consent we may have obtained from you. If you give us Authorization to use or disclose health information about you, you may revoke that Authorization, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your Authorization, we will no longer use or disclose information about you for the reasons covered by your written Authorization, but we cannot take back any uses or disclosures already made with your permission.

If we have HIV or substance abuse information about you, we cannot release that information without a special signed, written authorization (different than the Authorization and Consent mentioned above) from you. In order to disclose these types of records for purposes of treatment, payment or health care operations, we will have to have both your signed Consent and a special written Authorization that complies with the law governing HIV or substance abuse records.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

You have the following rights regarding health information we maintain about you:

Right to Inspect and Copy You have the right to inspect and receive a copy of your treatment information, such as medical and billing records, that we use to make decisions about your care. You must submit a written request to Family Service Society’s Privacy Officer in order to inspect and/or receive a copy of your information. This will include only information generated by Family Service Society and excludes progress notes. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other associated supplies. We may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances. If you are denied access to your health information, you may ask that the denial be reviewed. If such a review is required by law, we will select a therapist to review your request and our denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request, and we will comply with the outcome of the review.

Right to Amend If you believe information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment as long as the information is kept by this office.

To request an amendment, complete and submit a Medical Record Amendment/Correction Form to FSS Privacy Officer. We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:

a) We did not create, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment.

b) Is not part of the treatment information that we keep.

c) You would not be permitted to inspect and copy.

d) Is accurate and complete.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures You have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures." This is a list of the disclosures we made of information about you for purposes other than treatment, payment and health care operations. To obtain this list, you must submit your request in writing to Family Service Society’s Privacy Officer. It must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically). We may charge you for the costs of providing the list. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.

Right to Request Restrictions You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the 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 information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for it, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery you had.

We are Not Required to Agree to Your Request If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.

To request restrictions, you may complete and submit the Request For Restriction On Use/Disclosure Of Medical Information to FSS Privacy Officer.

Right to Request Confidential Communications You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail.

To request confidential communications, you may complete and submit the Request For Restriction On Use/Disclosure Of Medical to the Family Service Society’s Privacy Officer. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.

Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive it electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy. To obtain such a copy, contact FSS Privacy Officer. There is no charge for the first copy, additional copies can be obtained for $1 each.

CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE

We reserve the right to change this notice, and to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a summary of the current notice in the office with its effective date in the top right hand corner. You are entitled to a copy of the notice currently in effect.

COMPLAINTS

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with our office, contact Jennifer Thurber, Privacy Officer, 280 Princeton Ave., Ext., Corning, NY 14830. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.




United Way of the Southern Tier    •    Notice of Privacy Practices
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