Luthercare Notice of Privacy Practices

Effective Date: 04/14/2003
Revised Date: 03/03/2014-ES/BD

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.

If you have any questions about this notice, please contact our Corporate Privacy Office (Contact information for our Corporate Privacy Officer appears at the end of this Notice)

Who will follow the practices outlined in this notice?
This notice describes the practices of Spang Crest, Lebanon, PA, Luther Acres, Lititz, PA, St. John’s Herr Estate, Columbia, PA and Professional Counseling Services. This Notice applies to the physicians, therapists, and any other healthcare professionals who are involved in your care and/or are authorized to enter information into your medical records, and all of our employees, staff, volunteers, trainees and other personnel who have access to your health information. These persons and programs within Luthercare may share your medical information with each other for purposes of your treatment, payment for your care or general healthcare operations as described in this Notice.

Your health information rights.
You have the right (1) to inspect and obtain a copy of your health information, (2) to obtain an account of certain disclosures of your health information, (3) to request communications of your health information by alternative means or to alternative locations, (4) to request that we amend your health information if you feel it is incorrect, and (5) to a paper copy of this Notice. We may deny these requests only in very limited circumstances. You also have the right to request a restriction on our uses and disclosures of your health information for treatment, payment or healthcare operations, or to members of your family or friends involved in your care or payment for that care. We are not required to comply with any such request unless the request is to restrict disclosure to a health plan if the disclosure is for the purpose of carrying out payment or health care operations and is not otherwise required by law and the protected health information relates solely to a health care item or service for which you or another person that is not the health plan has paid in full.All requests for any of the above items must be made in writing to our Privacy Officer at the address listed at the end of this Note. We will respond to all such requests.

Our responsibilities:
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with this Notice describing our legal duties, privacy practices, and your rights with respect to the health information we collect, create and maintain about you. We are required to notify you if any of your protected health information is illegally used or disclosed. We are also required to abide by the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices as that Notice is modified from time to time. We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization except as described in this notice.

How we may use and disclose health information about you: 
We are permitted or required to use your health information for various purposes. We cannot describe every possible use or disclosure of your health information in this Notice. However, uses or disclosures that we are permitted or required to make will generally fall within one of the following categories:

We will use your health information for your treatment. For example: Information obtained by physicians, nurses, technicians, healthcare students and other staff will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. Your physician will document his or her plan for your care in your record. Members of your healthcare team will then record the actions they took and their observations. In that way, the physician will know how you are responding to treatment. We will also provide your physician or a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you should you be discharged or transferred from a Luthercare community.

We will use your health information to obtain payment for care provided to you. For example: A bill will be sent to you, your insurance company or a third party payer as listed on your Resident Information Sheet. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, and procedures and supplies used in your care. 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.

We will use your health information for our healthcare operations. For example, we may use health information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine health information about many Residents to decide what additional services we should offer, what services are not needed and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to physicians, nurses, technicians, healthcare students, and other staff for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the health information we have with health information from other communities 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 information so others may use it to study healthcare and healthcare delivery without learning who the specific Residents are.

Appointment reminders. We will use and disclose health information when scheduling appointments for your treatment or medical care and to remind you about those appointments.

Treatment alternatives. We may use and disclose health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.

Emergency Services. We may disclose health information about you to emergency personnel.

Fundraising. We may contact you in an effort to raise money for Luthercare and its programs, communities and operations. However, you have the right to opt out of receiving fundraising communications at any time. We will not contact you directly to raise money for Luthercare and its programs, communities and operations if you are a resident of either our Personal Care or Healthcare Centers.

Luthercare directories. We may include your name and location in the Luthercare Directory. The directory information may 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 pastor, priest or rabbi, even if they don’t ask for you by name. This information is provided so that your family, friends and clergy can visit you. You will be given the opportunity to object to these disclosures.

Individuals involved in your care or payment for your care. We may release health information about you to contacts listed on your Resident Information Sheet and/or listed in our computer system, who are involved in your medical care. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care. In addition, in the event of a disaster, we may disclose health 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.

Business associates. There are some services provided in our organization through contacts with business associates. Examples include transcription services or billing services. When these services are contracted, we may disclosure your health information to our business associate so that they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do. To protect your health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.

As required by law. We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law. For example, we may disclose your health information to representatives of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services so that they may ensure that we are appropriately protecting the privacy of your health information.

To avert a serious threat to health or safety. We may use and disclose health 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.

Organ, tissue and body donation. If you are an organ or body donor, we will release heath information to organizations that handle organ or body procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ, tissue or body donation and transplantation.

Military and veterans. If you are a member of the armed forces, we will release health information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release health information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority. We may use or disclosure to components of the Department of Veterans Affairs health information about you to determine whether you are eligible for certain benefits.

Workers’ compensation. We may release health information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.

Public health. As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability, to report vital statistics such as deaths, to report child abuse, or to notify appropriate persons of adverse reactions to products or drugs or of a product recall.

Health oversight activities. We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. Examples of these activities include audits, investigations, inspections, licensure and other activities that are necessary for the government to monitor the healthcare system, government programs and compliance with civil rights.

Lawsuits and disputes. We may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose health information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process (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 health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to valid legal process. Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public.

Coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors. We may release health information to a coroner or medical examiner to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release health information about Residents to funeral directors as necessary to allow them to carry out their duties.

National security and intelligence activities. We will release health information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

Incidental uses and disclosures. We may use or disclose your medical information if it is a by-product of any of the uses or disclosures described above and it could not be reasonably prevented.

Limited data sets. We may use or disclose certain information that does not directly identify you for research, public health or healthcare operations if the recipient of that information agrees to protect the information.

State Law Restrictions. Certain types of health information are subject to protections that are more stringent under state law than those described above. For example, we may not release your mental health records without your authorization except in more limited situations than those described above. Psychotherapy notes, that is, notes recorded by a mental healthcare professional documenting or analyzing the contents of conversation curing a private counseling session or a group, joint or family counseling session that are maintained separately from your medical record, are afforded additional protections under Federal law. Drug and alcohol treatment information may only be released with your authorization or pursuant to a Court Order in limited circumstances. Finally, HIV-released information such as information pertaining to HIV testing or your HIV status, may only be released in limited situations under state law.

Other uses of your health information.
Uses and disclosures of health information that do not fall within the categories listed above or the laws that apply to use will be made only with your written authorization. We must obtain prior written authorization before using or disclosing any psychotherapy notes except in very limited circumstances.  We must also obtain prior written authorization from you when using or disclosing information for marketing purposes unless the marketing communication is made face to face with the individual.  Marketing communications are communications for which we are paid by a third party.  Finally, we must obtain prior written authorization from you before selling your protected health information.

If you provide us with authorization to use or disclosure health information about you, you may revoke that authorization, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your health information for the reasons covered by your written authorization. We are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your authorization, and we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.

Changes to this notice.
We reserve the right to change this notice in the future. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for health information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. Updated notices will be available upon request and we will post a copy of the current notice in our communities and on our website at www.luthercare.org. The effective date of the notice will be displayed on the top right-hand corner of the first page of the notice.

For more information or to report a complaint.
If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact our Corporate Privacy Officer at 717-626-1171. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with Luthercare or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. All complaints must be submitted in writing. To file a complaint with Luthercare, you should address your written complaint as follows:

Luthercare
HIPAA Corporate Privacy Officer
600 East Main Street
Lititz, PA 17543

You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.