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Notice of Privacy Practices

City of Torrance, Fire Department

Notice of Privacy Practices

IMPORTANT: THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY.

As part of our commitment to you our customer, Torrance Fire Department maintains the privacy of certain confidential health care information about you, known as Protected Health Information or PHI. We are required by law to protect your health care information and to provide you with our Notice of Privacy Practices

The Notice outlines our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your PHI. It not only describes our privacy practices and your legal rights, but lets you know, among other things, how Torrance Fire Department is permitted to use and disclose PHI about you, how you can access and copy that information, how you may request amendment of that information, and how you may request restrictions on our use and disclosure of your PHI.

Torrance Fire Department is also required to abide by the terms of the version of this notice in effect. In most situations we may use this information as described in this Notice without your permission, but there are some situations where we may use it only after your written authorization, if we are required by law to do so.

We respect your privacy, and treat all health care information about our patients with care under strict policies of confidentiality that all of our staff are committed to following at all times.

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DETAILED NOTICE. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT IT, PLEASE CONTACT OUR PRIVACY OFFICER AT (310) 781-7035.

 

Uses and Disclosures of PHI:  Torrance Fire Department may use PHI for the purpose of treatment, payment, and health care operations in most cases without your permission. Examples of our use of your PHI:

For Treatment. This includes such things as verbal and written information that we obtain about you and use pertaining to your medical condition and treatment provided to you by us and other medical personnel (including doctors and nurses who give orders to allow us to provide treatment to you). It also includes information we give to other health care personnel to whom we transfer your care and treatment, and includes transfer of PHI via radio or telephone to the hospital or dispatch center as well as providing the hospital with a copy of the written record we create in the course of providing you with treatment and transport.

For Payment. This includes any activities we must undertake in order to get reimbursement for the services we provide to you, including such things as organizing you PHI and submitting bills to insurance companies (either directly or through a third party billing company), management of billed claims for services rendered, medical necessity determinations and reviews, and collection of outstanding accounts.

For Health Care Operations. This includes quality assurance/improvement activities, licensing, and training programs to ensure that our personnel meet our standards of care and follow established policies and procedures, obtaining legal and financial services, conducting business planning, processing grievances and complaints, creating reports that do not individually identify you for data collection purposes, and certain marketing activities.

Use and Disclosure of PHI Without Your Authorization. Torrance Fire Department is permitted to use PHI without your written authorization in certain situations, including:

  • For our use in providing treatment to you or in order for others to provide treatment to you. For example, we may disclose your PHI to other health care personnel, such as physicians or nurses who may be involved in your care;
  • To your insurance carrier for obtaining payment for services provided to you. For example, we may use your PHI when submitting bills to the insurance company, or we may disclose certain portions of your PHI to our business associates who perform billing and claims processing or other services for us. We may also disclose your PHI to another health care provider or insurance for their payment-related activities;
  • For our operations related to health care. For example, we may use your PHI to evaluate the quality of service you received from us, or to evaluate the performance of those involved with your care. Our attorneys, accountants and other consultants may also use your PHI to ensure that we are complying with the laws that affect us. In addition, we may disclose your PHI to another health care provider, health insurance carrier, or health care clearinghouse for purposes of their operations related to health care;
  • For health care fraud and abuse protection or for activities related to compliance of the law;
  • To a family member, other relative, or close personal friend or other individual involved in your care if we obtain your verbal agreement to do so or if we give you an opportunity to object to such a disclosure and you do not raise an objection. We may also disclose health information to your family, relatives, or friends if we infer from the circumstances that you would not object. In situations where you are not capable of objecting (because you are not present or due to your incapacity or medical emergency) we may, in our professional judgment, determine that a disclosure to your family member, relative, or friend is in your best interest. In that situation, we will disclose only health information relevant to that persons involvement in your care;
  • To a public health authority in certain situations such as reporting a birth, death or disease as required by law, as part of a public health investigation, to report child or adult abuse or neglect or domestic violence, to report adverse events such as product defects, or to notify a person about exposure to a possible communicable disease as required by law;
  • For health oversight activities including audits or governmental investigations, inspections, disciplinary proceedings, and other administrative or judicial actions undertaken by the government (or their contractors) by law to oversee the health care system;
  • For judicial and administrative proceedings as required by a court or administrative order, or in some cases in response to a subpoena or other legal process;
  • For law enforcement activities in limitied situations, such as when there is a warrant for the request, or when the information is needed to locate a suspect or stop a crime.
  • For military, national defense and security and other special government functions;
  • To avert a serious threat to the health and safety of a person or the public at large;
  • For workers' compensation purposes, and in compliance with workers compensation laws;
  • To coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors for identifying a deceased person, determining cause of death, or carrying on their duties as authorized by law;
  • If you are an organ donor, we may release health information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ donation and transplantation;
  • For research projects, but this will be subject to strict oversight and approvals and health information will be released only when there is a minimal risk to your privacy and adequate safeguards are in place in accordance with the law;
  • We may use or disclose health information about you in a way that does not personally identify you or reveal who you are.

Any other use or disclosure of PHI, other than those listed above or permitted by law, will only be made with your written authorization, (the authorization must specifically identify the information we seek to use or disclose, as well as when and how we seek to use or disclose it) You may revoke your authorization at any time, in writing, except to the extent that we might have already used or disclosed medical information in reliance on that authorization.

Patient Rights: As a patient, you have a number of rights with respect to the protection of your PHI, including:

The right to access, copy or inspect you PHI. This means you may come to our offices and inspect and copy most of the medical information about you that we maintain. We will normally provide you with access to this information within 30 days of your request. We may also charge you a reasonable fee for you to copy any medical information that you have the right to access. In limited circumstances, we may deny you access to your medical information, and you may appeal certain types of denials.

We have available forms to request access to your PHI and we will provide a written response if we deny you access and let you know your appeals rights. If you wish to inspect and copy your medical information, you should contact the privacy officer listed at the end of this notice.

The right to amend your PHI. You have the right to ask us to amend written medical information that we may have about you. We will generally amend your information within 60 days of your request and will notify you when we have amended the information. We are permitted by law to deny your request to amend your medical information only in certain circumstances, like when we believe the information you have asked us to amend is correct. If you wish to request that we amend the medical information we have about you, you should contact the privacy officer listed at the end of this Notice.

The right to request an accounting of our use and disclosure of your PHI. You may request an accounting from us of certain disclosures of your medical information that we may have made in the last six years prior to the date of your request. We are not required to give you an accounting of information we have used or disclosed for purposes of treatment, payment or health care operations, or when we share your health information with our business associates, like our billing company or a medical facility from/to which we have transported you.

We are also not required to give you an accounting of our uses of protected health information for which you have already given us written authorization. If you wish to request an accounting of the medical information about you that we have used or disclosed that is not exempted from the accounting requirement, you should contact the privacy officer listed at the end of his Notice.

The right to request that we restrict the uses and disclosure of your PHI. You have the right to request that we restrict how we use and disclose your medical information that we have about you for treatment, payment or health care operations, or to restrict the information that is provided to family, friends and other individuals involved in your care. But if you request a restriction and the information you asked us to restrict is needed to provide you with emergency treatment, then we may use the PHI or disclose the PHI to a health care provider to provide you with emergency treatment. Torrance Fire Department is not required to agree to any restrictions you request, but any restrictions agreed upon by Torrance Fire Department are binding on the Torrance Fire Department.

The right to request a copy of this Notice. To obtain a paper copy of this Notice contact the privacy officer listed at the end of this Notice. The Notice is also available on our city website (http://www.torrnet.com/).

Revisions to the Notice; Torrance Fire Department reserves the right to change the terms of this Notice at any time, and changes will be effective immediately and will apply to all PHI that we maintain. Any material changes to the Notice will be promptly posted in our facilities and posted on our web site. You can get a copy of the latest version of this Notice by contacting the privacy officer identified below.

Your Legal Rights and Complaints: You also have the right to complain to us, or to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services if you believe your privacy rights have been violated. You will not be retaliated against in any way for filing a complaint with us or to the government. Should you have any questions, comments or complaints you may direct all inquires to the privacy officer listed at the end of this Notice. Individuals will not be retaliated against for filing a complaint.

If you have any questions or if you wish to file a complaint or exercise any rights listed in this Notice, please contact:

Privacy Officer
Torrance Fire Department
1701 Crenshaw Boulevard
Torrance, California 90501
Telephone number (310) 781-7035
Effective Date of this Notice: April 14, 2003