Privacy: Our Privacy Notice and 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 through the departments and units of our organization. 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 organization, whether made by personnel or others described above. Your personal physician may have different policies or notices regarding the use and disclosure of your medical information created in the ofﬁce or clinic.
Inside this Notice
This notice describes Gila Regional Medical Center's (GRMC) practices and that of:
- Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your health care record.
- All departments and units of the organization.
- Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while you are being cared for by our organization.
- All employees, medical staff, allied health staff, students, volunteers, contracted staff, and other personnel.
- All entities owned or operated by Gila Regional Medical Center follow the terms of this notice and may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or organization operations purposes described in this notice.
Please REVIEW this CAREFULLY
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Privacy Ofﬁcer at 575-538-4000.
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 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.
- notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction
- accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.
We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our information practices change, we will make a revised notice available to you. We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization, EXCEPT as described in this notice.
How We May Use & Disclose
Medical Information About You:
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses and 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 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 doctors, nurses, technicians, health care students, allied health staff, or personnel who are involved in taking care of you. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different departments or units of GRMC also share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work, x-rays, outpatient services, etc. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the organization, such as family members, clergy or others we use to provide services that are part of your care. For continuity of care, we may release records to other care providers such as your primary care physician, a nursing home, transferring facilities and home care/medical supply agencies. (For psychiatric patients, disclosure of information is determined by the patient through written authorization, as required by law.)
For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive from our organization may be billed 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 surgery you received at the hospital so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. 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.
For Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose medical information about you for operations, such as clinical review, medical staff peer review, performance improvement, risk management, and our compliance with licensure, accreditation or certiﬁcation requirements. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the organization and make sure all of our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine medical information about many patients to decide what additional services we should offer, what services are needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective, and how we compare with other facilities. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students and other staff or personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other facilities 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 set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning your identity.
Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care with our organization.
Treatment Alternatives: We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Health-Related Beneﬁts and Services: We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related beneﬁts or services that may be of interest to you.
Fundraising Activities: We may use medical information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for the organization and its operations. We may disclose medical information to a foundation associated with our organization so that they may contact you regarding fundraising. We only would release contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you received treatment or services. If you do not want to be contacted for fundraising efforts, you must notify Gila Regional Medical Center in writing.
Hospital Directory: We may include certain limited information about you in the directory while you are a patient in the hospital. This information may include your name, room number, your general condition (e.g. good, fair, critical, etc.) and your religious afﬁliation. The directory information, except for your religious afﬁliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious afﬁliation may be given to a member of the clergy, even if they do not ask for you by name. This is so your family, friends, and clergy can visit you and generally know how you are doing. If you do not want this information given out, please tell the Registration Clerk or your Nurse.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care: We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care. We may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital. In addition, we may disclose medical 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. (For psychiatric patients, this information is not disclosed without written authorization, as required by law.)
Research: Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients' need for privacy of their medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through the research approval process. We may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, to help them look for patients with speciﬁc medical needs, as long as the medical information they review does not leave the facility. Most research projects require your permission if a researcher will be involved in your care or will have access to your name, address or other information that identiﬁes you. However, the law allows some research to be done using your medical information without requiring your authorization.
As Required By Law: We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law. For example, we must comply with abuse reporting laws and laws requiring us to report certain diseases or injuries to state, federal, or local agencies.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety: We may use and disclose medical 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.
Organ and Tissue Donation: We are required by law to report deaths or imminent deaths with medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye, or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank as necessary to aid in its organ or tissue donation and transplantation process.
Military and Veterans: If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
Workers' Compensation: We may release medical information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide beneﬁts for work-related injuries or illness.
Minors: If you are a minor (under 18 years old), we will comply with New Mexico law regarding minors. We may release certain types of medical information to your parent or guardian, if such release is required or permitted by law.
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 births and deaths;
- to report child, adult, or elder abuse or neglect;
- to report reactions to medications or problems with products;
- to notify people of recall of products they may be using;
- to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for getting 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, as required by law.
Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose your medical information to a federal, state, or other regulatory agency for health oversight activities such as audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure of the organization and of the providers who treated you within the organization. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with laws. These agencies include: Cancer and/or Tumor Registries; Trauma and other required reporting Registries, the State Department of Health, and other authorized Federal agencies such as Peer Review Organizations.
Lawsuits and Disputes: We may disclose your medical information to respond to a court or administrative order or search warrant. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a properly executed 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 and you have been provided an opportunity to object or to obtain an appropriate court 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, properly executed 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 any of our facilities; 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 to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
National Security and Intelligence Activities: We may release medical information about you to authorized federal ofﬁcials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
Protective Services for the President & Others: We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal ofﬁcials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations.
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.
Business Associates: Some services are provided to our organization through contracts with business associates. Examples include medical equipment vendors, a copy service we may use when making copies of your health record, outside laboratory services, outside transcription services. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information so that they can perform the job contracted, and be able to bill you or your insurance for services rendered. To protect your health information, however, we include language in our contracts to require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information and protect its conﬁdentiality.
Your Rights Regarding
Medical Information About You
You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does NOT include psychotherapy notes. To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Medical Records Department Director. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request. We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain, limited, circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. A licensed health care professional chosen by the organization will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
Right to Amend: If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for the organization. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Director of Medical Records. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
- was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment;
- is not a part of the medical information kept by or for the organization;
- is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
- is accurate and complete.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures." This right applies to disclosures for purposes other than treatment, payment or healthcare operations as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices. It excludes disclosures we may have made to you, for a facility directory, to family members or friends involved in your care, or for notiﬁcation purposes. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (e.g. on paper or electronically). The ﬁrst accounting you request within a 12-month period will be free. There will be a fee to provide more than one accounting in a 12-month period. We will notify you of the cost involved, and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
Right to Revoke: You have the right to revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken.
Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery that was performed. We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment, or to make a disclosure that is required under law. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the Privacy Ofﬁcer/ Medical Records Director. 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, disclosure to your spouse or adult children.
Right to Request Conﬁdential Communications: 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 the Privacy Ofﬁcer/Medical Records Director. 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, and may ask us to give you a copy at any time. You may obtain a paper copy from the Registration Department, and also from our website: www.grmc.org
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 hospital, and other appropriate buildings of the organization. The effective date of the notice will be placed on the ﬁrst page, at the top. In addition, each time you register with our organization, for treatment or health care services as an inpatient or outpatient, we will offer you a copy of the current notice in effect.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may ﬁle a complaint with Gila Regional Medical Center or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To ﬁle a complaint with our organization, contact the Privacy Ofﬁcer, at 575-538-4000. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be denied care or discriminated against for ﬁling a complaint.
Other Uses of Medical Information
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the laws and regulations that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. If you give 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, we still must continue to comply with laws that require certain disclosures, and we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided you.
We are committed to protecting
medical information about you.