PRIVACY PRACTICES & POLICY STANDARDS

How WestCare Gathers, Uses, Discloses and Manages User Data

THIS NOTICE (THE "PRIVACY POLICY") DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL AND DRUG AND ALCOHOL RELATED INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.

Effective Date: May 5, 2014

General
Information regarding your health care, including payment for health care, is protected by two federal laws: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1320d et seq., 45 C.F.R. Parts 160 & 164, and the Confidentiality Law, 42 U.S.C. § 290dd-2, 42 C.F.R. Part 2 2 and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health ["HITECH"] Act of January 25, 2013. Under these laws, WestCare Foundation, Inc. and all affiliates and subsidiaries ("WestCare") may not say to a person outside WestCare that you attend the program, nor may WestCare disclose any information identifying you as an alcohol or drug treatment patient, or disclose any other protected information except as permitted by federal law.

WestCare must obtain your written consent before it can disclose information about you for payment purposes. For example, WestCare must obtain your written consent before it can disclose information to your health insurer in order to be paid for services. WestCare is also required to obtain your written consent before it can sell information about you or disclose information about you for marketing purposes, and WestCare must obtain your written consent before disclosing any of your psychotherapy records. Generally, you must also sign a written consent before WestCare can share information for treatment purposes or for health care operations. However, federal law permits WestCare to disclose information without your written permission:

  1. Pursuant to an agreement with a qualified service organization/business associate;
  2. For research, audit or evaluations;
  3. To report a crime committed on WestCare's premises or against WestCare personnel;
  4. To medical personnel in a medical emergency;
  5. To appropriate authorities to report suspected child abuse or neglect;
  6. As allowed by a court order.

For example, WestCare can disclose information without your consent to obtain legal or financial services, or to another medical facility to provide health care to you, as long as there is a qualified service organization/business associate agreement in place.

Before WestCare can use or disclose any information about your health in a manner which is not described above, it must first obtain your specific written consent allowing it to make the disclosure. Any such written consent may be revoked by you orally or in writing.

Your Rights
Under HIPAA, you have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information.

  1. If you request a restriction on disclosures to your health plan for payment or health care operations purposes, and you pay for the services you receive from WestCare yourself (out-of-pocket), then WestCare is required, by law, to agree to your request unless the disclosure is otherwise required by law.
  2. If you have any other requests for restrictions on disclosures, WestCare is not required, by law, to agree. However, WestCare will thoroughly evaluate each request. If WestCare does agree, then WestCare is bound by that agreement and may not use or disclose any information which you have restricted, except as necessary in a medical emergency.


You have the right to request that we communicate with you by alternative means or at an alternative location. WestCare will accommodate such requests that are reasonable and will not request an explanation from you. Under HIPAA you also have the right to inspect and copy your own health information maintained by WestCare [when WestCare uses electronic health records, the client/patient has a right to an electronic copy of his or her records], except to the extent that the information contains psychotherapy notes or information compiled for use in a civil, criminal or administrative proceeding or in other limited circumstances.

Under HIPAA you also have the right, with some exceptions, to amend health care information maintained in WestCare's records, and to request and receive an accounting of disclosures of your health related information made by WestCare during the six years prior to your request. You also have the right to receive a paper copy of this notice.

WestCare's Duties
WestCare is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information, provide you with notice of its legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your health information, and to notify you if you are affected by any breach of your unsecured health information. WestCare is required by law to abide by the terms of this notice. WestCare reserves the right to change the terms of this notice and to make new notice provisions effective for all protected health information it maintains. [Should revisions be made, WestCare will provide all clients will the revised information and notice.]

Complaints and Reporting Violations
You may complain to WestCare and the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services if you believe that your privacy rights have been violated under HIPAA. You will not be retaliated against for filing such a complaint. Violation of the Confidentiality Law by a program is a crime. Suspected violations of the Confidentiality Law may be reported to the United States Attorney in the district where the violation occurs. Complaints and inquiries to WestCare shall be directed to WestCare's Privacy Officer at the following address:
Robert Neri, Senior Vice President,
Privacy Officer, WestCare Foundation, Inc.,
P. O. Box 12019, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-2019
Phone: (727) 490-6767 ext. 30105


WestCare Notice of Privacy Practices
Our practice is dedicated to protecting your medical information. We are required by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information and to provide you with this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information. Our practice is required by law to abide by the terms of this Notice.

This Notice of Privacy Practices describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations and for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. It also describes your rights to access and control your protected health information. "Protected Health Information" is information about you, including demographic information, that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health or condition and related health care services.

Our office is required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices. We may change the terms of our notice, at any time. The new notice will be effective for all protected health information that we maintain at that time. Upon your request, we will provide you with any revised Notice of Privacy Practices. To request a revised notice you may call the office and request that a revised copy be sent to you in the mail or asking for one at the time of your next appointment.

How We May Use and Disclose your Medical Information
We will use your medical information as part of rendering patient care. For example, your medical information may be used by the doctor or nurse treating you, by the business office to process your payment for the services rendered and in order to support the business activities of the practice, including, but not limited to, use by administrative personnel reviewing the quality of the care you receive, employee review activities, training of medical students, licensing, contacting or arranging for other business activities.

We may also use and/or disclose your information in accordance with federal and state laws for the following purposes:
  1. Appointment Reminders
    We may contact you to provide appointment reminders.
  2. Treatment Information
    We may contact you with information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
  3. Disclosure to Department of Health and Human Services
    We may disclose medical information when required by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as part of an investigation or determination of our compliance with relevant laws.
  4. Family and Friends
    With your consent, we may disclose your medical information to family members, other relatives or close personal friends when the medical information is directly relevant to that person's involvement with your care.
  5. Notification
    With your consent, we may use or disclose your medical information to notify a family member, a personal representative or another person responsible for your care of your location, general condition or death.
  6. Disaster Relief
    We may disclose your medical information to a public or private entity, such as the American Red Cross, for the purpose of coordinating with that entity to assist in disaster relief efforts.
  7. Health Oversight Activities
    We may use or disclose your medical information for public health activities, including the reporting of disease, injury, vital events and the conduct of public health surveillance, investigation and/or intervention. We may disclose your medical information to a health oversight agency for oversight activities authorized by law, including audits, investigations, inspections, licensure or disciplinary actions, administrative and/or legal proceedings.
  8. Abuse or Neglect
    We may disclose your medical information when it concerns abuse, neglect or violence to you in accordance with federal and state law.
  9. Legal Proceedings
    We may disclose your medical information in the course of certain judicial or administrative proceedings.
  10. Law Enforcement
    We may disclose your medical information for law enforcement purposes or other specialized governmental functions.
  11. Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors
    We may disclose your medical information to a coroner, medical examiner or a funeral director.
  12. Organ Donation
    If you are an organ donor, we may disclose your medical information to an organ donation and procurement organization.
  13. Research
    We may use or disclose your medical information for certain research purposes if an Institutional Review Board or a privacy board has altered or waived individual authorization, the review is preparatory to research or the research is on only decedent's information.
  14. Public Safety
    We may use or disclose your medical information to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the health or safety of another person or to the public.
  15. Workers' Compensation
    We may disclose your medical information as authorized by laws relating to workers' compensation or similar programs.
  16. Business Associates
    We may disclose your health information to a business associate with whom we contract to provide services on our behalf. To protect your health information, we require our business associates to appropriately safeguard the health information of our patients.
  17. Authorizations
    We will not use or disclose your medical information for any other purpose without your written authorization. Once given, you may revoke your authorization in writing at any time. To request a Revocation of Authorization form, you may contact our Privacy Officer at the address and phone number provided on this page.

Your Rights Regarding Your Medical Information
You have the following rights with respect to your medical information:

  1. You may ask us to restrict certain uses and disclosures of your medical information. We are not required to agree to your request, but if we do, we will honor it.
  2. You have the right to receive communications from us in a confidential manner.
  3. Generally, you may inspect and copy your medical information. This right is subject to certain specific exceptions, and you may be charged a reasonable fee for any copies of your records.
  4. You may ask us to amend your medical information. We may deny your request for certain specific reasons. If we deny your request, we will provide you with a written explanation for the denial and information regarding further rights you may have at that point.
  5. You have the right to receive an accounting of the disclosures of your medical information made by our practice during the last six (6) years (or following April 14, 2003), except for disclosures for treatment, payment or healthcare operations, disclosures which you authorized and certain other specific disclosure types.
  6. You may request a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices for Protected Health Information.
  7. You have the right to complain to us and/or to the United States Department of Health and Human Services if you believe that we have violated your privacy rights. If you choose to file a complaint, you will not be retaliated against in any way. To complain to us, please contact our Privacy Officer at the address and phone number on the back of this brochure.

If you would like further information regarding your rights or regarding the uses and disclosures of your medical information, you may contact our Privacy Officer at the address and phone number below.
Robert Neri, Senior Vice President,
Privacy Officer, WestCare Foundation, Inc.,
P. O. Box 12019, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-2019
Phone: (727) 490-6767 ext. 30105


Revision Of Notice Of Privacy Practices
We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice, making any revision applicable to all the protected health information we maintain. If we revise the terms of this Notice, we will post a revised notice at our office and will make paper copies of the revised Notice of Privacy Practices available upon request.