Privacy and Confidentiality
HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices
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.
This Notice of Privacy Practices describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information (PHI) to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations (TPO) 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.
Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information
Your protected health information may be used and disclosed by your physician, our office staff and others outside of our office that are involved in your care and treatment for the purpose of providing health care services to you, to pay your health care bills, to support the operation of the physician’s practice, and any other use required by law.
Treatment: We will use and disclose your protected health information to provide, coordinate, or manage your health care and any related services. This includes the coordination or management of your health care with a third party.
For example, we would disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to a home health agency that provides care to you. For example, your protected health information may be provided to a physician to whom you have been referred to ensure that the physician has the necessary information to diagnose or treat you.
Payment: Your protected health information will be used, as needed, to obtain payment for your health care services. For example, obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require that your relevant protected health information be disclosed to the health plan to obtain approval for the hospital admission.
Healthcare Operations: We may use or disclose, as-needed, your protected health information in order to support the business activities of your physician’s practice. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality assessment activities, employee review activities, training of medical students, licensing, and conducting or arranging for other business activities. For example, we may disclose your protected health information to medical school students that see patients at our office. We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to contact you to remind you of your appointment.
We may use or disclose your protected health information in the following situations without your authorization. These situations include: as Required By Law, Public Health issues as required by law, Communicable Diseases: Health Oversight: Abuse or Neglect: Food and Drug Administration requirements: Legal Proceedings: Law Enforcement: Coroners, Funeral Directors, and Organ Donation: Research: Criminal Activity: Military Activity and National Security: Workers’ Compensation: Inmates: Required Uses and Disclosures: Under the law, we must make disclosures to you and when required by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate or determine our compliance with the requirements of Section 164.500.
Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures Will Be Made Only with Your Consent, Authorization or Opportunity to object unless required by law.
You may revoke this authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your physician or the physician’s practice has taken an action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicated in the authorization.
Following is a statement of your rights with respect to your protected health information.
You have the right to inspect and copy your protected health information. Under federal law, however, you may not inspect or copy the following records; psychotherapy notes; information compiled in reasonable anticipation of, or use in, a civil, criminal, or administrative action or proceeding, and protected health information that is subject to law that prohibits access to protected health information.
You have the right to request a restriction of your protected health information. This means you may ask us not to use or disclose any part of your protected health information for the purposes of treatment, payment or healthcare operations. You may also request that any part of your protected health information not be disclosed to family members or friends who may be involved in your care or for notification purposes as described in this Notice of Privacy Practices. Your request must state the specific restriction requested and to whom you want the restriction to apply.
Your physician is not required to agree to a restriction that you may request. If physician believes it is in your best interest to permit use and disclosure of your protected health information, your protected health information will not be restricted. You then have the right to use another Healthcare Professional.
You have the right to request to receive confidential communications from us by alternative means or at an alternative location. You have the right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from us, upon request, even if you have agreed to accept this notice alternatively i.e. electronically.
You may have the right to have your physician amend your protected health information. 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.
You have the right to receive an accounting of certain disclosures we have made, if any, of your protected health information.
We reserve the right to change the terms of this notice and will inform you by mail or email of any changes. You then have the right to object or withdraw as provided in this notice.
You may complain to us or to the Secretary of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated by us. You may file a complaint with us by notifying our privacy contact of your complaint. You may file a complaint with us by notifying our Privacy Manager. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
This notice was published and becomes effective on/or before April 14, 2003.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of, and provide individuals with, this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information. If you have any objections to this form, please ask to speak with our HIPAA Compliance Officer in person or by phone at 713 660-0001.
HOW VIRTUAL ERs TELEMEDICINE HANDLES SECURITY
VIRTUAL ERs Telemedicine follows HIPPAA standards to protect the Personal Information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. These measures are in place to protect the security of your Personal Information and to ensure that your choices for its intended use are honored. We take strong precautions to protect your data from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration, or destruction.
When you place orders or access your personal account information, you’re utilizing secure server software SSL, which encrypts your personal information before it’s sent over the Internet. SSL is one of the safest encryption technologies available.
Sharing your personally identifiable information enables us to offer you a number of benefits. It will make it easier and more convenient for you to:
Request information specific to your interests;
Purchase and subscribe to the VIRTUAL ERs service online;
Receive personalized messages and special offers that are relevant to your interests;
Save time by storing your preferences;
We carefully protect your data from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration, or destruction. Your Personal Information is not shared outside the company without your permission. Inside the company, data is stored in HIPAA compliant, password-controlled servers with limited access. Your Personal Information may be stored and processed in different sites or locations where VIRTUAL ERs or its subsidiaries is located.
You also have a significant role in protecting your information. Other than VIRTUAL ERs personnel that provide you with our services, no one can see or edit your personal information without knowing your user name and password, so do not share these with others.
HOW YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION WILL BE USED AND DISCLOSED:
INFORMATION COLLECTED ABOUT YOU
VIRTUAL ERs collects two kinds of information: (1) Personally identifiable medical information (“Personal Information”) voluntarily provided by visitors or subscribers to our services through optional registration or other methods and (2) non-personally identifiable information routinely gathered as visitors navigate through our Website.
You are free to visit and use our Website without providing any Personal Information. However, VIRTUAL ERs offers services on our Website that require registration and submission of Personal Information. In order to register or otherwise take advantage of the products and personalized services that we offer on our Website, you will have to provide Personal Information. The Personal Information we might request from you may include your name, address, email address, phone number and, if you are making a purchase of products or services, personal medical data and your billing / debit / credit card information.
By way of example only, some situations in which we may request Personal Information include: when you register to become a subscriber to the VIRTUAL ERs service(s); when you register to receive informational Newsletter(s); when you participate in a survey on our Website; or to when you wish to participate in one of our interactive forums, including chat rooms or posting boards. The ways in which we collect Personal Information are described in more details below.
Emails & Newsletters
You may receive email subscriptions and newsletters from VIRTUAL ERs. A member of the VIRTUAL ERs team may contact members via email, telephone or postal mail for potential offerings, interviews, surveys or feature stories. Your cooperation with or participation in such activity is strictly voluntary and you are free to refuse to participate by clicking on the unsubscribe link located on the footer or all email correspondence.
Non-personally Identifiable Information:
You may use our Website without registering or submitting any Personal Information. In that case, the only information we will collect from you is general, aggregated, demographic, or other non-personal information.
Your browser may be set to reject all cookies. Most browsers offer instructions on how to reset the browser to reject cookies in the “Help” section of the toolbar.
As is true of most websites, we may gather certain information automatically and store it in log files. This information includes internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp, and click stream data. We use this information (which does not identify individual users) to analyze trends, to administer the Website, and to identify and solve hardware and software problems as they arise. We may link this automatically-collected data to your Personal Information for the purpose of determining your interests and to offer you services that we believe may be of interest to you.
CONTACT US WITH PRIVACY-RELATED QUESTIONS