Missoula: 406/721-3096  |  Stevensville: 406/777-3523  |  The Women's Club: 406/327-0706

HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices for Valley Physical Therapy

Effective Date: 4/14/2003

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 Gayle Croft.

Who Will Follow This Notice:

This notice describes our office’s practices and that of:

Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your chart.

All employees, staff and other VPT personnel.

Valley Physical Therapy (VPT) in Missoula, VPT at The Women’s Club and VPT in Stevensville. All these entities, sites and locations follow the terms of this notice. In addition, these entities, sites and locations may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or practice operations purposes described in this notice.

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 this office. 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 office, whether made by office personnel or your therapist. This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.

We are required by law to:

make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;

give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and

follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.

How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information about You

The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.

For Treatment. We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to your doctors, nurses, technicians, and medical students. We also may 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.

For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company, or a third party. For example, we may need to give your health plan information about referral source and treatment. 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.

Public Health Risks. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:

to prevent or control disease, injury or disability;

to report child abuse or neglect;

to report reactions to medications or problems with products;

to notify people of recalls of products they may be using;

to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;

to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.

Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigators, inspections, and licensors. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.

Lawsuits and Disputes. If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in a response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, 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 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 hospital; 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.

Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.

National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may release medical information about you to authorized officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

Protective Services for the President and Others. We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons of foreign heads of state or conduct special investigation.

Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.

To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to Gayle Croft. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.

Right to Request Confidential Communication. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail.

To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to Gayle Croft. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted..

Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time.

Changes to this Notice:

We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in the clinic. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date. In addition, each time you register at the office, for treatment or health care services, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.

Complaints:

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our office or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint to VPT, contact Gayle Croft, Administrative Assistant (406-721-3096). All complaints must be submitted in writing to Valley Physical Therapy, 1001 SW Higgins, Ste 205, Missoula, MT 59803.

You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

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 disclose 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.