Explaining hospital privacy
In response to the article you published in the April 26 Summit Daily News titled “Know what you’re signing at hospital,” please let me offer some explanation to the questions posed.Our Patient Registration and Consent for Medical Treatment form is designed to inform patients of our administrative and financial policies that they need to understand and agree to when presenting for health care services. Also included on this form is the information related to our Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) which outlines how medical information may be used. This notice is a requirement of the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) whose effective date was April 14, 2003. The privacy regulations ensure a national standard of privacy protections for patients by limiting the ways that health plans, pharmacies, hospitals and other covered entities can use patients’ personal medical information.The requirement for the NPP provides an individual with the right to adequate notice of how a covered entity (in this case, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center) may use and disclose Protected Health Information (PHI) about the individual. The required content includes:• How the PHI may be used and disclosed by the covered entity.• Individual’s (patient’s) rights, including how they can file a complaint.• Legal duties of the covered entity, including maintaining the privacy of PHI.• Contact information for further information about the privacy policies.The following definitions were referred to in the letter:Business partners/associates: A person (or organization) that performs or assists in the performance of a function or activity on behalf of a covered entity that would otherwise be performed by an employee of the covered entity.Protective services for the President and “others”: this would apply to the protection of individuals who would be protected by such agencies as the Secret Service.Further information about the Privacy Rule of HIPAA and its requirements can be found at: os.dhhs.gov/ocr/hippa/.Be assured that we use patient information in the most discreet manner and while the NPP lists ways in which PHI could be used, not all patient information is used in each circumstance that is listed.Without consent for treatment, Centura Health is not able to provide services because that consent includes agreement to:• Voluntarily authorize the rendering of health care services.• Understand that some care providers are not employees of the hospital.• Accept financial responsibility for your care.• Understand the preauthorization requirements for your insurance.• Have your insurance directly pay the hospital.• Understand that personal valuables are the patient’s responsibility.It is my objective to convey that health care is a highly regulated industry and it is our intent to fully comply with those requirements. Additionally, we understand the importance of protecting patient confidentiality and make every effort to do exactly that.If you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact our privacy officer Anissa Fabrizio at (303) 629-4517.
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