Notice of Privacy Practices
04/10/03 Notice of Privacy Practices 1
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.
This Notice of Privacy has been prepared by Huckleberry House, Inc. It tells you about the ways in which Protected Health Information about you can be created, shared, protected and maintained. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
OUR PLEDGE REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION:
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive at the agency. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by the agency, whether made by agency personnel or staff under contract to the agency (example, nurse).
Our Duty to Safeguard Your Protected Health Information.
Individually identifiable information about your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of health care to you, or payment for the health care is considered “Protected Health Information” (“PHI”). We are required to extend certain protections to your PHI, and to give you this Notice about our privacy practices that explains how, when and why we may use or disclose your PHI. Except in specified circumstances, we must use or disclose only the minimum necessary PHI to accomplish the intended purpose of the use or disclosure.
We are required to follow the privacy practices described in this notice, though we reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this notice at any time. If we do so, we will post a revised notice in our Administrative Building. Upon request, we will provide you with a revised notice or you can review the notice by accessing our website at www.huckhouse.org.
How We May Use and Disclose Your Protected Health Information.
We use and disclose PHI for a variety of reasons. We have a limited right to use and/or disclosure your PHI for purposes of treatment, payment or our health care operations. For uses beyond that, we must have your written authorization unless the law permits or requires us to make the use or disclosure without your authorization. I f we disclose your PHI to an outside entity in order for that entity to perform a function on our behalf, we must have in place an agreement from the outside entity that it will extend the same degree of privacy protection to your information that we must apply to your PHI. However, the law provides that we are permitted to make some uses/disclosures without your consent or authorization. The following offers more description and some examples of our potential uses/disclosures of your PHI.
Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations.
Generally, we may use or disclose your PHI as follows:
For treatment: We may disclose your PHI to agency staff and other personnel who are involved in providing services to you. For example, your PHI will be shared among members of your treatment team / program staff working with you. Your PHI may also be shared with outside entities performing ancillary services relating to your treatment such as for consultation purposes, or ADAMH/CMH Boards and/or community mental health agencies involved in provision or coordination of your care.
To obtain payment: We may use/disclose your PHI in order to bill and collect payment for the services that you receive. For example, we may release portions of your PHI to the Medicaid program, the ODMH central office, the local ADAMH/CMH Board (through the Multi-Agency Community Information Services Information System (MACSIS), or to the Community Shelter Board through the homeless management information system to get paid for services that we delivered to you.
For agency service operations: We may use and disclose medical information about you for agency operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the agency and make sure that all of our clients receive quality care. For example, we may use your PHI in evaluating the quality of services provided, or disclose your PHI to our accountant or attorney for audit purposes. We may also disclose your PHI to administrative personnel for tasks such as data entry. If necessary for program operation, for example in the Transitional Living Program, your PHI may be released to utility companies and landlords for housing purposes. Release of your PHI to the Multi-Agency Community Services Information System [MACSIS] and/or state agencies might also be necessary to determine your eligibility for publicly funded services.
Appointment reminders: Unless you provide us with alternative instructions, we may send appointment reminders, feedback forms and other similar materials to your home.
Uses and Disclosures Requiring Authorization:
For uses and disclosures beyond treatment, payment and operations purposes we are required to have your written authorization, unless the use or disclosure falls within one of the exceptions described below. Authorizations can be revoked at any time to stop future uses/disclosures except to the extent that we have already undertaken an action in reliance upon your authorization.
Uses and Disclosures of PHI from Mental Health Records Not Requiring Consent or Authorization:
The law provides that we may use/disclose your PHI from mental health records without consent or authorization in the following circumstances:
When required by law: We may disclose PHI when a law requires that we report information about suspected abuse, neglect or domestic violence, or relating to suspected criminal activity, or in response to a court order. We must also disclose PHI to authorities that monitor compliance with these privacy requirements.
For public health activities: We may disclose PHI when we are required to collect information about disease or injury, or to report vital statistics to the public health authority.
For health oversight activities: We may disclose PHI to our central office, the protection and advocacy agency, or another agency responsible for monitoring the health care system for such purposes as reporting or investigation of unusual incidents.
Relating to decedents: We may disclose PHI relating to an individual’s death to coroners, medical examiners or funeral directors, and to organ procurement organizations relating to organ, eye, or tissue donations or transplants.
To avert threat to health or safety: In order to avoid a serious threat to health or safety, we may disclose PHI as necessary to law enforcement or other persons who can reasonably prevent or lessen the threat of harm. We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
- 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 agency; 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.
For specific government functions: We may disclose PHI of military personnel and veterans in certain situations, to correctional facilities in certain situations, to government benefit programs relating to eligibility and enrollment, and for national security reasons, such as protection of the President.
Uses and Disclosures of PHI from Alcohol and Other Drug Records Not Requiring [Consent or] Authorization:
The law provides that we may use/disclose your PHI from alcohol and other drug records without consent or authorization in the following circumstances:
When required by law: We may disclose PHI when a law requires that we report information about suspected child abuse and neglect, or when a crime has been committed on the program premises or against program personnel, or in response to a court order.
Relating to decedents: We may disclose PHI relating to an individual’s death if state or federal law requires the information for collection of vital statistics or inquiry into cause of death.
For research, audit or evaluation purposes: In certain circumstances, we may disclose PHI for research, audit or evaluation purposes.
To avert threat to health or safety: In order to avoid a serious threat to health or safety, we may disclose PHI to law enforcement when a threat is made to commit a crime on the program premises or against program personnel.
Uses and Disclosures Requiring You to have an Opportunity to Object:
In the following situations, we may disclose a limited amount of your PHI if we inform you about the disclosure in advance and you do not object, as long as the disclosure is not otherwise prohibited by law. However, if there is an emergency situation and you cannot be given your opportunity to object, disclosure may be made if it is consistent with any prior expressed wishes and disclosure is determined to be in your best interests. You must be informed and given an opportunity to object to further disclosure as soon as you are able to do so.
To families, friends or others involved in your care: We may share with these people information directly related to their involvement in your care, or payment for your care. We may also share PHI with these people to notify them about your location, general condition, or death.
Your Rights Regarding Your Protected Health Information. You have the following rights relating to your protected health information:
To request restrictions on uses/disclosures: You have the right to ask that we limit how we use or disclose your PHI. We will consider your request, but are not legally bound to agree to the restriction. To the extent that we do agree to any restrictions on our use/disclosure of your PHI, we will put the agreement in writing and abide by it except in emergency situations. We cannot agree to limit uses/disclosures that are required by law.
To choose how we contact you: You have the right to ask that we send you information at an alternative address or by an alternative means. We must agree to your request as long as it is reasonably easy for us to do so.
To inspect and copy your PHI: Unless your access is restricted for clear and documented treatment reasons, you have a right to see your protected health information upon your written request. We will respond to your request within 30 days. If we deny your access, we will give you written reasons for the denial and explain any right to have the denial reviewed. If you want copies of your PHI, a charge for copying may be imposed, depending on your circumstances. You have a right to choose what portions of your information you want copied and to have prior information on the cost of copying.
To request amendment of your PHI: If you believe that there is a mistake or missing information in our record of your PHI, you may request, in writing, that we correct or add to the record. We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. We may deny the request if we determine that the PHI is: (i) correct and complete; (ii) not created by us and/or not part of our records, or; (iii) not permitted to be disclosed. Any denial will state the reasons for denial and explain your rights to have the request and denial, along with any statement in response that you provide, appended to your PHI. If we approve the request for amendment, we will change the PHI and so inform you, and tell others that need to know about the change in the PHI.
To find out what disclosures have been made: You have a right to get a list of when, to whom, for what purpose, and what content of your PHI has been released other than instances of disclosure: for treatment, payment, and operations; to you, your family, or the facility directory; or pursuant to your written authorization. The list also will not include any disclosures made for national security purposes, to law enforcement officials or correctional facilities, or disclosures made before April, 2003. We will respond to your written request for such a list within 60 days of receiving it. Your request can relate to disclosures going as far back as six years. There will be no charge for up to one such list each year. There may be a charge for more frequent requests.
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.
To receive this notice: You have a right to receive a paper copy of this Notice and/or an electronic copy by email upon request.
How to Complain about our Privacy Practices:
If you think we may have violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision we made about access to your PHI, you may file a written complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We will take no retaliatory action against you if you make such complaints.
You will not be penalized or discriminated against for filing a complaint.
Contact Person for Information, or to Submit a Complaint:
If you have questions about this notice or any complaints about our privacy practices, please contact:
Name: Lynda Leclerc
Title: Privacy Officer
Address: 1421 Hamlet Street, Columbus, OH 43201
Phone Number: (614) 294-8097
- Effective Date: This Notice of Privacy was effective on April 14, 2003.
- Acknowledgment: I have received a copy of this Notice.
The following policies deal specifically with Huckleberry House’s sharing of information with the Community Shelter Board (CSB):
PURPOSE FOR DATA COLLECTION
In order to best serve your needs at Huckleberry House, Inc., to develop meaningful treatment plans, to determine your continuing eligibility for services, and to monitor your progress in complying with the terms of your shelter, housing or other services, this agency and the Community Shelter Board (“CSB”) need to collect data and information about you and the services you receive.
Please understand that access to shelter and housing services is available without your participation in data collection. However, your participation, although optional, is a critical component of our community’s ability to provide the most effective services and housing possible.
Huckleberry House, Inc. is affiliated with CSB, and the authorized data and information gathered and prepared by this agency and CSB will be included in a Homeless Management Information System (“CSP”) database and shall be used by CSB and authorized agencies, including Huckleberry House, Inc. to:
- Provide individual case management
- Produce aggregate-level reports regarding use of services Track program-level outcomes
- Identify unfilled service needs and plan for the provision of new services
- Allocate resources among agencies engaged in the provision of services
- Accomplish any and all other purposes deemed appropriate by CSB
CSP Privacy Posting/Notice
HOMELESS MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM:
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION.
PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY.
Our Duty to Safeguard Your Protected Information
Huckleberry House, Inc. collects information about who accesses our services. When we meet with you we will ask you for information about you and your family and enter it into a computer program called the Columbus Homeless Management Information System (Columbus CSP). Although Columbus CSP helps us to keep track of your information, individually identifiable information about you is considered “Protected Information”. We are required to protect the privacy of your identifying information and to give you notice about how, when, and why we may use or disclose any information you may give us. We are also required to follow the privacy practices described in this Notice, although Huckleberry House reserves the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this Notice at any time. You may request a copy of the new notice from any Columbus CSP Agency.
How We May Use and Disclose Your Information
We use and disclose collective information for a variety of reports. We have a limited right to include some of your information for reports on homelessness and services needed by those who are homeless. Information that could be used to tell who you are will never be used for these reports. We will not turn your information over to a national database. For uses beyond reports, we must have your written consent unless the law permits or requires us to make the use or disclosure without your consent. Please review the Client Consent for Data Collection/Release of Information Authorization Form for details. You must sign this form before we can use your information, but you do not have to sign the form in order to receive services. However, your consent, although optional, is a critical component of our community’s ability to provide the most effective services and housing possible.
Your Rights Regarding Your Information
- You have the right to get services even if you choose NOT to participate in CSP.
- You have the right to ask for information about who has seen your information.
- You have the right to see your information and change it if it isn’t correct.
Client Service Point Use
Approved By: Becky Westerfelt, MSW, Executive Director
Approval Date: 12/05/2007
Last Review Date: 3/1/10
Huckleberry House will provide data to the Community Shelter Board (CSB) to be used to support the delivery of homeless and housing services in Columbus and Franklin County.
In accordance with CSB’s Client Service Point Policies and Procedures, Huckleberry House will appoint a site administrator. The site administrator shall be the point of contact between Huckleberry House and CSB and will be responsible for administering the software and user accounts.
Each CSP user shall complete a Columbus CSP User Agreement and will be provided with a unique user name, initial password, and appropriate training. Users will be assigned an appropriate user level of access to the CSP data as determined by the site administrator. Users will maintain the security of all client data entered/extracted from the database. No Protected Health Information from CSP is stored on Huckleberry House computers or other storage devices. Collected data may be used to:
- Provide individual case management,
- Produce aggregate-level reports regarding use of services,
- Track individual program-level outcomes,
- Identify unfilled service needs and plan for the provision of new services,
- Allocate resources among agencies engaged in the provision of services,
- Conduct research for consulting and/or educational purposes, and
- Accomplish any and all other purposes deemed appropriate by CSB.
Huckleberry House will make every attempt to obtain signed Client Consent for Data Collection form. When a Consent form has been signed, the required client data will be entered into the CSP system. If a client refuses to sign the Consent form, the client’s demographic information will be entered into the CSP system as an anonymous client.
CSP Quality Assurance Plan
Approved By: Becky Westerfelt, MSW, Executive Director
Approval Date: 1/2/2007
Last Review Date: 3/1/10
Huckleberry House, Inc. accurately enters all required CSP data elements in a timely manner.
After verifying that a completed Client Consent for Data Collection Form is in the file, all required CSP data elements will be entered into the system by the data entry person assigned to the Transitional Living Program. This information will be entered as soon as the youth is entered into the agency clinical data base (not to exceed 4 working days after the completed intake).
On a monthly basis the IT Director (CSP Site Administrator) will run the Columbus Report for the previous month. A report from our Clinical Database will also be generated for this same time period. These documents will be reviewed by the program team leader to ensure that the data is accurate and that the missing data does not exceed 5%.
On a monthly basis, the data entry person will pull 4 files to verify that the data entry into the system is accurate and that the necessary consent form is in the clinical record.