Flathead City-County Health Department

To our patients: This notice describes how health information about you may be used and disclosed, and how you can get access to your health information. Please review it carefully.   This is required by the Privacy Regulations created as a result of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Our commitment to your privacy

The Health Department is dedicated to maintaining the privacy of your health information. State and Federal law require us to maintain the confidentiality of your health information and inform you about our privacy practices by providing you with this Notice.   We must follow the privacy practices as described below.   This Notice took effect on 4/14/2003 and will remain in effect until it is amended or replaced by us.  The law permits changes in our privacy practices, however before we make a significant change, this Notice will be amended to reflect the changes and we will make the new Notice available upon request.  

Use and disclosure of your health information in certain special circumstances

 We will keep you health information confidential, using it only for the following purposes:

TREATMENT:   We may use your health information to provide you with our professional services.   Everyone on our staff is required to sign a confidentiality statement.   We may also disclose and/or share your healthcare information with other health care professionals who provide treatment and/or service to you.   These professionals will have a privacy and confidentiality policy like this one.

PAYMENT:   We may use and disclose your health information to seek payment for services we provide to you.   This disclosure may include insurance organizations or other businesses that may become involved in the process of mailing statements and/or collecting unpaid balances.

HEALTHCARE OPERATIONS: We will use and disclose your health information to keep our Department in compliance with Federal and State requirements.   This may include audits and reviews by State funding agencies.

The following circumstances may require us to use or disclose your health information:

1.         Required by Law:   We may use or disclose your health information when we are required to do so by the law. (Court orders, subpoena, etc.,)   We will use and disclose your information when requested by national security, intelligence and other State and Federal officials and/or if you are an inmate or otherwise under the custody of law enforcement.

2.        Abuse or Neglect:   We may disclose your health information to appropriate authorities if we reasonably believe that you are a possible victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.   This information will be disclosed only to the extent necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health or safety or that of others.

3.  Public Health Responsibilities: We will disclose your health care information to report problems with products, disease/infection exposure and to prevent and control disease, injury and/or disability.

4.  National Security:   The health information of Armed Forces personnel may be disclosed to military authorities under certain circumstances.   If the information is required for lawful intelligence, counterintelligence or other national security activities, we may disclose it to authorized federal officials.

5.  Appointment Reminders:   We may use or disclose your health information to provide you with appointment reminders, including, but not limited to voicemail messages, postcards or letters.

6.  Workers Compensation claims:   For work related injuries.

Your rights regarding your health information:

1.   Communications: You can request that our Department communicate with you about your health and related issues in a particular manner or at a certain location. For instance, you may ask that we contact you at home, rather than work. We will accommodate reasonable requests.

2.   Restrictions: You have the right to request that we place additional restrictions on our use or disclosure of your health information.   We are not required to agree to your request; however, if we do agree, we are bound by our agreement except when otherwise required by law, in emergencies, or when the information is necessary to treat you.   Please contact our Privacy Officer if you want to further restrict access to your health care information.   This request must be submitted in writing.

3.   Access: You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of the health information that may be used to make decisions about you, including patient medical records and billing records, but not including psychotherapy notes. You must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer.   A minimal fee will be charged for copying any requested medical records.

4.  Amendment: You have the right to amend your healthcare information, if you feel it is inaccurate or incomplete.   Your request must be in writing and must include an explanation of why the information should be amended.   Under certain circumstances your request may be denied.

 5.  Complaints: You have the right to file a complaint with us if you feel we have not complied with our Privacy Policies.   Your complaint should be directed to our Privacy Officer. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint .

6.   Non-Routine Disclosures: You have the right to receive a list of non-routine disclosures we have made of your health care information.   (When we make a routine disclosure of your information to a professional for treatment and/or payment purposes, we do not keep a record of routine disclosures: therefore these are not available.)   You can request non-routine disclosures going back 6 years starting on April 14, 2003 .   Information prior to that date would not have to be released.

You are entitled to receive a copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices.   To obtain a copy of this notice, contact our front desk receptionist.   If you have any questions regarding this notice or our health information privacy policies, please contact the Privacy Officer, Flathead City-County Health Dept., 1035 1 st Ave. West , Kalispell , MT   59901 -