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Privacy Policy

 

NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
April 13, 2003

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION, (REFERRED TO AS PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION OR "PHI") MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.  PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.

This notice describes our hospital’s privacy practices and that of Lakeside, Franklin, Basking Ridge, and Frelinghuysen Community Residences, Hillsborough and Matheny Adult Medical Day Programs, and The Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry. In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or hospital operational purposes described in this notice.

 

OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:

This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you.  We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of protected health information. We are required by law to make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private, give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you, and follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.

 

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE MEDICAL INFORMATION OR PHI ABOUT YOU

For Treatment
We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services.  We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital.  For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process.  In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different departments of the hospital also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays.  We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the hospital who may be involved in your
medical care after you leave the hospital, such as family members, clergy or others we use to provide services that are part of your care.

For Payment
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the hospital 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 health plan information about treatment you received at the hospital so your health plan will pay us.  We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.

For Healthcare Operations
We may use and disclose medical information about you for hospital operations.  These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the hospital and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care.  For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you.  We may also combine medical information about many hospital patients to decide what additional services the hospital should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective.  We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other hospital personnel for review and learning purposes.  We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other hospitals to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer.  We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study healthcare and health- care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.

 

OTHER USES AND DISCLOSURES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION

Appointment Reminders and Health-Related Benefits and Services
We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the hospital, to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives, and to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.

Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care, Friends and Others
We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care.  We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care.  We may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital.  In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.

Patient Directory
We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at the hospital.  This information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g., fair, stable, etc.) and your religious affiliation.  The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name.  Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or rabbi, even if they do not ask for you by name.  This is so your family, friends and clergy may visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing.  If you do not want to be included in the Hospital Directory, you must notify the Privacy Officer, P.O. Box 339 Peapack, New Jersey   07977, in writing.

To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety
We may use and disclose medical 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.  Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat. 

Fundraising Activities
We may use medical information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for the hospital and its operations.  We may disclose medical information to a foundation related to the hospital so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for the hospital.  We would only release contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you received treatment or services at the hospital.  If you do not want the hospital to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify the Privacy Officer in writing.

Marketing Activities
We may contact you as part of our marketing activities as the law permits.

Research
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes.  For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process.  This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients' need for privacy of their medical information.  Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process. We may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs, so long as the medical information they review does not leave the hospital.  We will almost always ask for your specific 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 hospital.

Lawsuits and Disputes
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order.  We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested. 

Law Enforcement
We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement officials in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; about the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement; about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; about criminal conduct at the hospital; and in emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime. 

Incidental Disclosures
Incidental uses and disclosures may result from otherwise permitted uses and disclosures and cannot be reasonably prevented. 

Disaster Relief
When permitted by law, we may disclose our medical information with other organizations authorized by law to assist in disaster relief efforts, such as the Red Cross.

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

 

SPECIAL SITUATIONS

Organ and Tissue Donation
If you are an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.

Military Personnel
We will release information to members of the armed forces as required by law to domestic and foreign military authorities.

Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law.  These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure.  These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the healthcare system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.

Public Health Risks
We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities.  These activities generally include the following:

-  to prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
-  to report births and deaths;
-  to report child abuse or neglect;
-  to report reactions to medications or problems with      
products;
-  to notify people of recalls of products they may be using;                
-  to notify a person who may have been exposed to a      
disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a
disease or condition;
-   to notify the appropriate government authority if
we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse,       
neglect or domestic violence.  We will only make  
this disclosure if you agree or when required or
authorized by law.

Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors
We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner.  This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death.  We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.

National Security and Intelligence Activities
We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

Protective Services for the President and Others
We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations.

With Your Written Permission
We may disclose medical information about you, pursuant to your written authorization. We can never sell information about you without your written permission.

Notification of Breach of Health Information
We will notify you, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the media as required by law in the event of a breach of certain health information.

 

OTHER USES OF MEDICAL INFORMATION
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission.  If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time.  If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization.   You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.

 

YOUR RIGHTS
You have the following rights regarding your medical information.

Right to Request Restrictions
You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or healthcare operations.  You also have the right to request a limit on the medical 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.  If you are paying out of pocket, in full for a service or treatment provided, you may request that we not furnish protected health information to your health plan. 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 with emergency treatment. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.

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 must make your request in writing to the 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 Inspect and Copy
You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care.  Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes. To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about  you, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer.  If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a reasonable fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.  We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances.  If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed.  Another licensed healthcare professional chosen by the hospital will review your request and the denial.  The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request.  We will comply with the outcome of the review. 

Right to Amend
If you feel that medical 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 for as long as the information is kept by or for the hospital. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted the Privacy Officer. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request.

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 medical information about you that do not require an authorization. To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. Your request 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).  The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free.  For additional lists, 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 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 this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice. 

You may obtain a copy of this notice at our Web site, www.matheny.org. 

 

CHANGES TO THIS NOTICE
We reserve the right to change this notice.  We reserve the right 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 copy of the current notice in the hospital.  The notice will contain the effective date, on the first page.  In addition, each time you register at or are admitted to the hospital for treatment or healthcare services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect. 

Revised July 16, 2007
Revised September 28, 2009
Revised September 23, 2013

 

COMPLAINTS
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the hospital or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

To file a complaint with the hospital, or if you have questions or
need additional information regarding this Notice, please contact the Privacy Officer, at the address listed below. Action will not be taken against you for filing a complaint.

Matheny Medical and Educational Center
P.O. Box 339
Peapack, New Jersey   07977
(908) 234-0011, extension 769.