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The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that health care providers inform patients of their rights regarding how the provider may use & disclose protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, or health care operations & for other purposes that are permitted or required by law.  This Privacy Notice describes our privacy practices that relate to your protected health information.  It also describes your rights to access & control your protected health information in some cases.  Your “protected health information”  means any written information that is created or received by your health care provider, & that relates to your past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition.

Your Health Record & Protected Health information:  Each time you receive medical care from a physician, health department, hospital, or another healthcare provider, a record of your visit is created.  This record typically includes, but is not limited to, information such as your name, age, address, a history of your illness, injury or symptoms, test results, x-rays, laboratory work, treatment, treatment plans devised for your care, & notes on follow-up care to be performed.  How your health information may be used & what controls you may exercise over the use of your healthcare information are described in this Privacy Notice.

Uses & Disclosures of Protected Health Information Without Your Authorization:  GCHD may use your protected health information for purposes of providing treatment, obtaining payment for treatment, & conducting health care operations.  Your protected health information may be used or disclosed only for these purposes unless GCHD has obtained your authorization or the use or disclosure is otherwise permitted by the HIPAA privacy regulations, state, or local law.

  • Treatment:  We may use & disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care & any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your health care with anesthesia providers, nurses, technicians, lab personnel, radiology, other GCHD staff involved in your care, or a third party for treatment purposes.  For example, we may disclose your protected health information to a laboratory to order pre-operative tests or to a pharmacy to fill a prescription.  We may also disclose protected health information to physicians who may be treating you or consulting with GCHD with respect to your care.

  • Payment:  Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for the services that we provide. This may include certain communications to your health insurance company to get approval for the treatment or care.  For example, we may need to disclose protected health information to your health insurance company to determine whether you are eligible for benefits or whether a particular service is covered under your health plan.  In order to get payment for the services we provide to you, we may also need to disclose your protected health information to your health insurance company to demonstrate the medical necessity of the services or, as required by your insurance company, for utilization review. We may also disclose patient information to another provider involved in your care for the other provider’s payment activities. This may include disclosure of demographic information to anesthesia care providers for payment of their services.

  • Healthcare Operations:  We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, for our own health care operations to facilitate the function of GCHD and to provide quality care to all patients.  Health care operations include such activities as quality assessment &  improvement activities, employee review activities, training programs including those in which students, trainees, or practitioners in health care learn under supervision, accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities, review a & auditing, including compliance reviews, medical reviews, medical reviews, legal services, maintaining compliance, business management, & general administrative activities. In certain situations, we may also disclose patient information to another provider or health plan for their health care operations. Other uses and disclosures for health care operations may include:

  1. Care management

  2. Protocol development

  3. Training, accreditation, certification, licensing, credentialing, or other related activities

  4. Activities related to improving health care or reducing health care costs

  5. Underwriting and other insurance-related activities

  6. Medical review and auditing

  7. Business planning and/or development

  8. Internal grievance resolution

  • Appointment Reminders:  We may use or disclose your protected health information to contact you, a family member, or a friend involved in your health care as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at GCHD.  We may also leave a message on your answering machine/voicemail system.  Please notify the Privacy Officer if you do not want us to leave messages with an individual who answers your phone or with your automated answering service, if applicable.

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

  • Health-Related Benefits and Services:  We may use or disclose your protected health information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.

  • Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment of Care:  We may use or disclose your protected health information to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care.  We may also give information to someone assisting you in the payment of your care.  We may also tell family & friends that you are at GCHD at the time of your care, or that information may be communicated to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort in order to communicate your condition status and location to your family.  If you want any of this information restricted you must communicate that to us using the appropriate procedure.

  • As Required by Law:  We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state, or local law.  This may include reporting communicable diseases, wounds, abuse, disease/trauma registries, health oversight matters, and other public policy requirements.  We may be required to report this information without your permission.

  • To Avert a Serious Threat to Health & Safety:  We may use and disclose health information for the following public activities and purposes: 

  1. To prevent, control, or report disease, injury, or disability as permitted by law.

  2. To report vital events such as birth or death as permitted by law.

  3. To conduct public health surveillance, investigations, and interventions as permitted or required by law.

  4. To collect or report adverse events and product defects, track FDA-regulated products, and enable product recalls, repairs, or replacements to the FDA.

  5. To notify a person who has been exposed to a communicable disease or who may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease as authorized by law.

  6. To report to an employer information about an individual who is a member of the workforce as legally permitted or required.

  • To Conduct Health Oversight Activities:  We may disclose your protected health information to a health oversight agency for activities including audits; civil, administrative, or criminal investigation, proceedings, or actions; inspections; licensure or disciplinary actions; or other activities necessary for appropriate oversight as authorized by law.  We will not disclose your health information under this authority if you are subject to an investigation and your health information is not directly related to your receipt of health care or public benefits.

  • In Connection with Judicial & Administrative Procedures:  We may disclose your protected health information in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal as expressly authorized by such order.  In certain circumstances, we may disclose your health information in response to a subpoena to the extent authorized by state law if we receive satisfactory assurances that you have been notified of the requestor that an effort was made to secure a protective order.

  • For Law Enforcement Purposes:   We may disclose your protected health information to a law enforcement official for law enforcement purposes as follows:

  1. As required by law for reporting certain types of wounds or other physical injuries including suspected foul play, child/adult abuse, stab wounds, auto accidents, injuries due to fighting, intentional poisonings, attempted suicide, assault, rape, and any accident that may lead to a court case.

  2. Pursuant to a court order, court-ordered warrant, subpoena, summons, or similar process.

  3. For the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person.

  4. Under certain limited circumstances, when you are the victim of a crime.

  5. To a law enforcement official if the facility has a suspicion that your health condition was the result of criminal conduct.

  6. In an emergency to report a crime, report crimes on-premises, and report deaths by suspected criminal conduct.

  • Inmates:  If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release health 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 & safety or the health & safety of others; or (3) for the safety & security of the correctional institution.

  • To Coroners, Funeral Directors, & for Organ Donation:  We may disclose protected health information to a coroner or medical examiner for identification purposes or for the coroner or medical examiner to perform other duties authorized by law.  Protected health information may be used & disclosed for cadaver organ, eye, or tissue donation purposes.

  • For Specified Government Functions:  In certain circumstances, federal regulations authorize GCHD to use or disclose your health information to facilitate specified government functions relating to military & veterans activities, national security, surveillance & intelligence activities.

  • For Worker’s Compensation:  GCHD may release your health information to comply with worker’s compensation laws or similar programs. 

You may object to these disclosures.  If you do not object to these disclosures or we can infer from the circumstances that you do not object or we determine, in the exercise of our professional judgment, that it is in your best interests for us to make disclosure of information that is directly relevant to the person’s involvement with your care, we may disclose your protected health information as described.

Uses & Disclosures Which You Authorize:  Other than as stated above, we will not disclose your health information other than with your written authorization.  You may revoke your authorization in writing at any time except to the extent that we have taken action in reliance upon the authorization.

Your Rights:  Although your health record is the physical property of the healthcare practitioner or Agency that compiled it, the information belongs to you.  You have the following rights regarding your health information.

Right to Inspect & Copy Your Protected Health Information:  You may inspect & obtain a copy of your protected health information that is contained in a designated record set for as long as we maintain the protected health information.  A “designated record set” contains medical and billing records & any other records that GCHD use for making decisions about you under federal law, however, you may not inspect or copy the following records:  psychology notes; information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or for use in a civil, criminal or administrative action or proceeding; and protected health information.  Depending on the circumstances, you may have the right to have a decision to deny access reviewed.  We may deny your request to inspect or copy your protected health information if, in our professional judgment, we determine that the access requested is likely to endanger your life or safety or that of another person, or it is likely to cause substantial harm to another person referenced within the information.  You have the right to request a review of this decision.  To obtain a copy of your medical information, you must complete the proper paperwork located at GCHD.  If you request a copy of your information we may charge you a fee for the cost of copying, mailing, or other costs incurred by us in complying with your request.  Please contact our Privacy Officer if you have questions about access to your medical record.

Right to Request Amendments to Your Protected Health Information:  If you feel the health information we have in your record is incorrect or incomplete, you may request an amendment of the information for as long as we maintain this information.  In certain cases, we may deny your request for an amendment.  If we deny your request for amendment, you have the right to file a statement of disagreement with us and we may prepare a rebuttal to your statement and will provide you with a copy of any such rebuttal.  In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:

  • Was not created by this agency, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment

  • Is not part of the health information kept by our agency

  • Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or

  • Is accurate and complete

Requests for amendment must be in writing and must be directed to our Privacy Officer.  In this written request, you must also provide a reason to support the requested amendments.

Right to Request a Restriction on Uses and Disclosures of Your Protected Health Information:  You may request us not to use or disclose certain parts of your health information for the purposes of treatment, payment, or health care operations.  You may also request that we not disclose your health information to family members or friends who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as described in this Privacy Notice.  Your request must state the specific restriction requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply.  For example, you could ask that (1) we do not use or disclose information about a service you had or (2) that certain people are not told of certain information.  GCHD is not required to agree to a restriction.  If GCHD does agree to the requested restriction, we may not disclose your health information in violation of that restriction unless it is needed to provide emergency treatment.  Under certain circumstances, we may terminate our agreement to a restriction.  You may request a restriction by contacting the privacy officer.

Right to Request to Receive Confidential Communications From Us by Alternative Means or at an Alternative Location:  You have the right to request that we communicate with you in certain ways.  We will accommodate reasonable requests.  We may condition this accommodation by asking you for information as to how payment will be handled or specifications of an alternate address or another method of contact.  We will not require you to provide an explanation for your request.  Requests must be made in writing to our Privacy Officer.

Right to Receive an Accounting of Disclosures of Protected Health Information:  You have the right to request an accounting of certain disclosures of your protected health information made by GCHD.  This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, and payment of health care operations as described in this Privacy Notice.  We are also required to account for disclosures that you requested, disclosures that you agreed to by signing an authorization form, to friends or family members involved in your care, or certain other disclosures we are permitted to make without your authorization.  The request for an accounting may be made in writing to our Privacy Officer.  The request should specify the time period sought for the accounting.  We are not required to provide an accounting for disclosures that take place prior to April 14, 2003.  Accounting requests may not be made for periods of time in excess of six years.  We will provide the first accounting you request during any 12-month period without charge.  Subsequent account requests may be subject to a reasonable cost-based fee.

Right to Obtain a Paper Copy of This Notice:  Upon request, we will provide a separate paper copy of this notice even if you have already received a copy of this notice.

Our Responsibilities:  GCHD is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and to provide you with this Privacy Notice of our duties and privacy practices.  We are required to:

  • Keep your health information private and only disclose it when required to do so by law;

  • Explain our legal duties and privacy practices in connection with your health records;

  • Obey the rules found in this notice;

  • Inform you when we are unable to agree to a requested restriction that you have given us;

  • Accommodate your reasonable request for an alternative means of delivery or destination when sending your health information.

We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice as may be amended from time to time.  We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice and to make the new Notice provisions effective for all future protected health information that we maintain.  If GCHD changes its Notice, we will provide a copy of the revised Notice by sending a copy via regular mail or through in-person contact.

Complaints:  You have the right to express complaints to GCHD and to the Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe that your privacy rights have been violated.  You may complain to GCHD by contacting GCHD’s Privacy Officer verbally or in writing, using the contact information provided on the first page of this Privacy Notice.  We encourage you to express any concerns you may have regarding the privacy of your information.  YOU WILL NOT BE PENALIZED FOR FILING A COMPLAINT!  GCHD’s contact person for all issues regarding patient privacy, access to health information, and your rights under the federal privacy standards is the Privacy Officer.  Information regarding matters covered by this Notice can be requested by contacting the Privacy Officer.  If you feel that your privacy rights have been violated by this facility you may submit a complaint to our Privacy Officer by sending it to: 


Grayson County Health Department

Attn:  Privacy Officer

124 E. White Oak St.

Leitchfield, KY 42754

270) 259-3141

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