What is HIPAA?
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996) is a broad federal law that addresses many
healthcare issues, including insurance benefits, medical savings accounts, and
fraud and abuse. The Portability focus of HIPAA is to let people take their
health insurance benefits with them when they change jobs or leave the
workforce. The Accountability focus of HIPAA is to protect the confidentiality
of Protected Health Information (PHI). While the law outlines broad
requirements for healthcare organizations, more detailed requirements are found
in the federal regulations. These regulations are being developed by the Center
For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and enforced by a combination of the
Office of Civil Rights and CMS, all within the Department of Health and Human
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
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 Practice describes how we (including other healthcare providers
affiliated with us) may use and release protected health information about you
that we maintain.
Permitted and Required Disclosures of Protected Health
Payment and Healthcare Operations. As one of your healthcare providers, we may
use and disclose protected health information (“PHI”) about you for
treatment, payment and healthcare operations without your authorization. Some
examples of these types of uses/disclosures are:
Treatment. We may use or disclose PHI about you to provide your prescribed
products, equipment or services. We may consult and coordinate with your
physician. We may remind you of medication or supply refills and scheduled
visits/appointments. We may provide you information about treatment
alternatives or other health benefits and services that may be of interest to
you through newsletters or other means. We may also disclose your PHI to other
healthcare providers (such as physicians and pharmacies) involved in your
We may use or disclose your PHI to bill and collect payment for the products,
equipment or services we provide you. We may contact your insurer or other
payor to obtain eligibility and coverage information. We may also disclose your
PHI to health plans, healthcare clearinghouses or other healthcare providers
involved in your care for their payment activities.
Healthcare Operations. We may use or disclose your PHI for quality assessment
activities, evaluation of our employees’ performance, business planning
and development, and management and general administrative purposes. We may
disclose your PHI to health plans or other healthcare providers for their
quality assessment, employee evaluation or healthcare compliance activities.
We also engage
consultants and contractors to perform certain services for us. When the nature
of these services involves PHI disclosure, the consultants/contractors are
required to appropriately safeguard the PHI they receive.
Other Permitted and Required Uses and Disclosures. We may use or disclose your PHI for the following reasons without
Involved in Care/Payment. We may disclose relevant parts of your PHI to family
members or other persons involved in your care and its payment. We may notify
such persons or public or private entities involved in disaster relief efforts
of your location, general condition or death.
Marketing Purposes. From time to time, we may also provide promotional items of
nominal value or marketing information communicated to you in person (face to
Oversight Activities. We may disclose parts of your PHI to regulatory authorities
for purposes of monitoring the healthcare system and compliance with civil
rights laws and government regulations and healthcare program requirements.
or Safety. We may use or disclose parts of your PHI if we believe it is
necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your health and
safety or the health and safety of another person or the public. In certain
circumstances, this may include disclosing parts or your PHI to local utility
companies or emergency services so that they may provide appropriate assistance
in the event of an emergency or power outage.
Neglect or Domestic Violence. We may disclose parts of your PHI to appropriate
governmental agencies if we believe you may be a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic
violence and such disclosure is authorized by applicable law or regulation.
Health Activities. We may disclose parts of your PHI to public health
authorities for purposes of controlling disease, injury or disability. We may
also release parts of your PHI to the Food and Drug Administration to report
adverse events, track products, enable recalls, conduct post-marketing
surveillance and other activities in connection with its regulation of the
quality, safety and effectiveness of certain products or activities.
Research. Subject to certain restrictions, we may disclose parts of your PHI to
facilitate research when an individual authorization waiver is approved by an
institutional review or privacy board.
De-Identified Information. We may use or disclose parts of your PHI that do not
personally identify you or reveal who you are.
Compensation. To the extent authorized by applicable law, we may disclose your
PHI to workers compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related
injuries or illnesses.
Correctional Institutions. If you are incarcerated or otherwise in the custody
of law enforcement officials, we may disclose certain of your PHI to the
correctional institution or facility or its authorized personnel.
Proceedings. We may disclose parts of your PHI in any judicial or
administrative proceeding pursuant to an order of a court or administrative
tribunal or to meet other legal requirements.
Enforcement. We may disclose parts of your PHI to locate or identify a suspect,
fugitive, material witness or missing person; to comply with laws such as those
requiring reporting of certain injuries or death; or to report certain crimes.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. We may disclose parts of
your PHI to coroners and medical examiners for identification purposes, to
determine cause of death or as otherwise required by law. We may also disclose,
consistent with applicable law, parts of your PHI to funeral directors to
permit them to carry out their duties.
• Organ or
Tissue Donation Purposes. We may disclose parts of your PHI to organ
procurement organizations or other entities to facilitate organ or tissue
procurement, banking or transplantation.
Specialized Government Functions. Under certain circumstances we may disclose
parts of your PHI to Armed Forces personnel and to Department of State and
other federal officials in connection with specialized governmental functions
(including military missions, national security and protective services).
Governmental Agencies. We may disclose parts of your PHI to governmental
authorities entitled to receive such information, including the Secretary of
Health and Human Services.
or Permitted by Law. We may disclose parts of your PHI in other situations not
mentioned above when required or permitted by law.
Uses of PHI for
marketing purposes and disclosures that constitute the sale of PHI require your
written authorization. Other uses and disclosures of your PHI not described
above will be made only with your written authorization.
The following is
a statement of your rights regarding your PHI and a brief description of how
you may exercise these rights:
You have the right to inspect and copy the PHI we maintain about you except
for: psychotherapy notes, information compiled in anticipation of a legal
proceeding or other PHI to which your access is limited by federal law.
Requests to inspect and copy records must be in writing directed to our Privacy
Officer and provide specific information to assist us in fulfilling your
request. We may charge a reasonable fee for copying and mailing copies. If we
deny your request for access, under most circumstances, you have the right to
have the denial reviewed. Please contact our Privacy Officer if you have
questions concerning your right to inspect and copy your records.
Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that PHI be sent to
you by alternate means or at alternative locations. For instance, you can ask
that we send mail to a post office box rather than to your home address. We
will accommodate all reasonable requests. Please make this request in writing
to our Privacy Officer.
Restrictions. You have the right to request restrictions on how we use or
disclose your PHI for our treatment, payment and healthcare operations
activities. You also have the right to request that we not release any part of
your PHI to family members or others who may be involved in your care. Your
request must be in writing to our Privacy Officer and must specify what parts
of your PHI you do not want released and to whom you do not want it released. However,
you have the right to restrict certain disclosures of PHI to a health plan if
the purpose of the disclosure is to carry out payment or health care operations
and the PHI pertains to a service for which you have paid out of pocket in
We are not
required to agree to your request and only our Privacy Officer is authorized to
agree to such requests. If we agree to your request, we will abide by the
restriction unless the restricted PHI is needed to provide you emergency
Amendment. You have the right to request that we amend the PHI we maintain
about you. Requests for amendment must be in writing directed to our Privacy
Officer and provide a reason to support your requested amendment. If we deny
your request for amendment, you may file a written statement of disagreement
with our Privacy Officer and we will include it in your PHI when used and disclosed.
• Breach. You have the right to or will
receive notifications of breaches of your unsecured PHI.
• Accounting. You have the right to
receive an accounting of certain disclosures of PHI made by us. Your request
for accounting must be in writing directed to our Privacy Officer and must not
request an accounting for more than six years. Certain disclosures are not
required to be included in the accounting including: disclosures for our
treatment, payment and healthcare operations activities, incidental
disclosures, disclosures for national security, disclosures to correctional
institutions, certain disclosures of PHI without personally identifying
information; and any disclosures made prior to April 14, 2003.
• Copy of
Notice of Privacy Practices. You have the right to receive a paper copy of our
Notice of Privacy Practices even if you agreed to receive our Notice of Privacy
Practices electronically. You may obtain a copy from your local service center
or by contacting our Privacy Officer and requesting a copy by mail or visiting
our website at www.lincare.com.
We are required
by law to maintain the privacy of protected health information and to provide
you notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected
We are required
to abide by the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices or applicable state
laws which provide for more restrictions on the use and disclosure of your PHI.
to Notice of Privacy Practices:
We may change
the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices at any time. The new Notice of
Privacy Practices will apply to all PHI that we maintain on or after the
effective date of the new Notice of Privacy Practices. Upon request to your
local service center, we will give you a copy of a new Notice of Privacy
Practices. You may also obtain this information by calling our Privacy Officer
and requesting a copy by mail.
If you believe
your privacy rights have been violated, you may lodge a complaint by contacting
our Privacy Officer. You may also complain to the Secretary of Health and Human
Services. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
If you need
additional information about our Privacy Practices, please contact our Privacy
19387 U.S. 19 North
Clearwater, FL 33764