Photo of a stethoscope and a pen sitting on top of different colored folders
Notice of Health Information 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.
Wiregrass Medical Center is required to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with a notice of its legal duties and privacy practices. Wiregrass Medical Center will not use or disclose your health information except as described in this notice. This notice applies to all of the medical records generated by Wiregrass Medical Center.
Examples of disclosures for treatment, payment, and health operations: The following categories describe the ways that Wiregrass Medical Center may use and disclose your health information.
Wiregrass Medical Center will use your health information in the provision and coordination of your healthcare. We may disclose all or any portion of your medical record information to your attending physician, consulting physician(s), nurses, technicians, medical students, and other healthcare providers who have a legitimate need for such information in the care and continued treatment of the patient. Different departments may share medical information in the care and continued treatment of the patient. Different departments may share medical information about you in order to coordinate specific services, such as prescriptions, lab work, and x-rays. Wiregrass Medical Center also may disclose your medical information to other people who may be involved in your medical care after you leave this healthcare facility/clinic, such as family members, clergy, used to providing services that are part of your care.
Wiregrass Medical Center may use and disclose your medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Wiregrass Medical Center may release medical record 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 a hospital or other healthcare facility/clinic. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in disaster relief efforts so that your family can be notified about your condition, status, and location.
Wiregrass Medical center may release medical information about you for the purposes of determining coverage, billing, claims management, medical data processing, and reimbursement. The information may be released to an insurance company, third party payer, or other entity (or their authorized representatives) involved in the payment of your medical bill and may include copies or exerts of your medical record which are necessary for payment of your account. For example, a bill sent to a third party payer may include information that identifies you, your diagnosis, and the procedures and supplies used.
Routine Healthcare Operations:
Wiregrass Medical Center may use and disclose your medical information during routine healthcare operations, including quality assurance, utilization review, medical review, internal auditing, accreditation, certification, licensing, or credentialing activities of Wiregrass Medical Center, medical research, and educational purposes.
Wiregrass Medical center may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at a hospital or other healthcare facility/clinic.
Healthcare Facility Directory:
Wiregrass Medical Center may include certain limited information about you in the healthcare facility directory while you are a patient at the healthcare facility. This information may include your name, location in the healthcare facility, your general condition (e.g., fair, stable, etc.) and your religious affiliation. This is so your family and friends can visit you in the healthcare facility and generally know how you are doing. The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may be released to people who ask for by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or rabbi, even if they don't ask for you by name.
Health related Business and Services:
Wiregrass Medical center may use and disclose your medical information to tell you of health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
Wiregrass Medical Center may use and disclose certain medical information about you to business associates. A business associate is an individual or entity under contract with Wiregrass Medical Center to perform or assist Wiregrass Medical Center in a function or activity which necessitates the use or disclosure of medical information. Examples of business associates include, but are not limited to, physician services in the emergency department, a copy service used by Wiregrass Medical Center to copy medical records, consultants, accountants, lawyers, medical transcriptionist and third-party billing companies. Wiregrass Medical center requires the business associate to protect the confidentuality of your medical information.
Under certain circumstances, Wiregrass Medical center may use and disclose medical information about you to researchers when their clinical research study has been approved by an appropriate Institutional Review Board. While most clinical research studies require specific patient consent, there are some instances where a retrospective record review with no patient contact may be conducted by such researchers. For example, the medical research project may involve comparing health and recovery of certain patients with the same medical condition who received one medical treatment to those who received another.
Organ Procurement Organizations:
To the extent allowed by law, Wiregrass Medical Center may disclose your medical information to organ procurement organizations and other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant. For example, Wiregrass Medical Center is required to disclose a positive communicable disease test result before or after transplantation to the medical director or executive director of the organ procurement organization and the United Network for Organ Sharing ("UNOS"), pursuant to UNOS regulations.
Wiregrass Medical Center may use medical information to contact you in an effort to raise money for a healthcare facility or hospital and its operations. Wiregrass Medical Center may disclose certain medical information to a foundation related to a healthcare facility or hospital so that the Foundation may contact you in raising money for the healthcare facility or hospital. The information released would only be contact information, such as your name, address, phone number and dates you received treatment or services ate the healthcare facility or hospital. If you do not want the healthcare facility or hospital to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify the Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") in writing.
Public and Private Health Oversight Agencies:
Wiregrass Medical Center may disclose certain contact information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, including, but not limited to, licensure, audits, investigations, and inspections. These activities are necessary for the government and certain healthcare oversight agencies, e.g. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations ("JCAHO") to monitor the healthcare system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights.
Wiregrass Medical Center may disclose your medical information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena or court order.
As required by law, Wiregrass Medical Center may disclose your medical information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability. For example, Wiregrass Medical Center may be required to report the existence of a communicable disease, such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome ("AIDS"), to the Alabama State Department of Public Health to protect the health and well-being of the general public.
Wiregrass Medical Center may release medical information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Wiregrass Medical Center may disclose medical information about you as required by military command authorities, if you are a member of the armed forces.
If you are an inmate of a correctional institute or under the custody of a law enforcement officer, Wiregrass Medical Center may release your medical information to the correctional institute or law enforcement officer.
Required by Law:
Wiregrass Medical Center will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by law. For example, Wiregrass Medical Center may disclose certain medical information to those persons who have a risk of exposure related to a communicable disease, pursuant to Alabama law.
Corners, Medical Examiners, Funeral Directors:
Wiregrass Medical Center may release your medical information to a coroner or a medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example to identify a deceased person or determine a cause of death. Wiregrass Medical Center may also release your medical information to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
Any other uses and disclosures will be made only with your written permission.
Patient Health Information Rights:
Although all records concerning your treatment by Wiregrass Medical Center are the property of Wiregrass Medical Center you have the following rights concerning your medical information.
Right to Confidential Communications:
You have the right to receive confidential communications of your medical information by alternative means or alternative locations. For example, you may request that Wiregrass Medical Center only contact you at work or by mail.
Right to inspect and copy:
You have the right to inspect and copy your medical information as provided by 45 CFR § 164.524.
Right to Amend:
You have the right to amend your medical information as provided by 45 CFR § 164.528.
Right to Accounting:
You have the right to obtain a statement of the disclosures of your medical information as provided by 45 CFR § 164.528.
Right to Request Restrictions:
You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your medical information as provided by 45 CFR § 164.528. Wiregrass Medical Center may not agree to honor your request.
Right to Receive Copy of this Notice:
You have the right to receive a paper copy of this Notice, upon request.
Right to Revoke Authorization:
You have the right to revoke your authorization to use or disclose your medical information except to the extent that action has already been taken in reliance on your authorization.
For More Information or to report a Problem:
If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact Tom Garske. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with Wiregrass Medical Center or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with Wiregrass Medical Center, please contact Tom Garske, Wiregrass Medical Center's Privacy Officer at (334) 684-3655. All complaints must be submitted in writing. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
Changes to this Notice:
Wiregrass Medical Center will abide by the terms of the notice currently in effect. Wiregrass Medical center reserves the right to change the terms of this Notice and to make the new Notice provisions effective for all protected health information that it maintains. Wiregrass Medical Center will mail any revised Notice (prior to implementation of same) by mailing to the address indicated on the Consent to Use and Disclosure of Health Information for Treatment, Payment, and Healthcare Operations or other such address designated from time to time.