Notice of Health Information Practices
Understanding Your Health Record/Information
Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made.
Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, which we refer to as your health or medical record, is an essential part of the health care we provide for you.
Your health record contains personal health information, the confidentiality of which is protected under both state and federal law, and by the safeguards we have in place to protect and secure it. Understanding how we expect to use and disclose your health information helps you to ensure its accuracy, better understand who, what, when, where, and why your health care providers and others may access your health information, and make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.
Part or all of your medical record is in an electronic form, not on paper. That information is available to any provider or employee who has access to our electronic record keeping system, following our confidentiality policies.
Electronic Exchange of Your Health Information
In some instances, we may transfer health information about you electronically to other health care providers who are providing you treatment or to the insurance plan providing payment for your treatment.
Your health information may also be made available through the Vermont Health Information Exchange (“VHIE”). The VHIE is a health information network operated by VITL, Inc. and your treating health care providers may only access your health information through the VHIE if you have provided specific written consent for their access, unless you are in need of emergency treatment. For information about the VHIE, see www.vitl.net.
Your Health Information Rights
Under the Federal Privacy Rules, you generally have the right to:
- Receive notice of the uses and disclosures we expect to make of your health information. You may elect to receive this notice electronically, but you are also entitled to receive a paper copy upon request.
- Request additional restrictions on uses and disclosures of your health information. We are not required to agree to any such request, with the exception of a request to limit disclosures to a health plan if you have paid for the health services provided at the time of service. Request that we send you confidential communications by alternative means or at alternative locations.
- Inspect and obtain a copy of your health record.
- Request that your health record be amended.
- Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information made without authorization for purposes other than treatment, payment, or health care operations for a time period no longer than six years.
- Receive notification from us following a breach of your health information.
- Some of these rights are subject to exceptions and restrictions according to Federal Rules.
- We require a request to inspect and copy to be in writing. We reserve the right to restrict requests to normal business hours with an appointment, if necessary. We also reserve the right to use the time allotted by law to comply with your request. Please direct requests to: Director of Health Information Management, 802-334-3265, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you seek an electronic copy of your electronic health information in a specific electronic form and format that is not readily producible, we will work with you on an alternative form and format.
We are required by the Federal Privacy Rules to:
- Maintain the privacy of your health information.
- Provide you with notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health information we collect and maintain about you.
- Abide by the terms of this notice, subject to the following reservation of rights.
- We reserve the right to change our health information practices and the terms of this notice, and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain, including health information created or received prior to the effective date of any such revised notice. Should our health information practices change, we will post and/or provide a revised notice upon request. We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice.
- We May Use and Disclose your Health Information for Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations
- The examples below are given to give you an idea of how information is used.
- We will use or disclose your health information for treatment.
For example: Information obtained by a member of your healthcare team will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your physician will document in your record his or her expectations of the members of your healthcare team. Members of your healthcare team will then record the actions they took and their observations. In some cases, your information may be reviewed in preparation for care you may need to receive in the future. Information may be disclosed to identified providers who will provide care to you outside of the Hospital.
- We will use or disclose your health information for payment.
For example: Employees responsible for our billing process access your information to produce a bill that may be sent to you or your insurance company or health plan. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used. Your insurance company may request additional information.
- We will use or disclose your health information for health care operations. Certain uses of health information are necessary for the day-to-day operations of a health care facility.