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Notice of Privacy Practices

Effective April 14, 2003
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.


Understanding your Health Record/Information

Pathologists' Regional Laboratory is committed to protecting your health information and understands that this information is personal.  Each time we perform testing, a record is made.  Typically, this record contains your test order, result and the diagnosis provided by your physician.  This "protected health information" (PHI) serves as a:

  • Means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care.
  • Legal document describing the care you received.
  • Means by which your insurance company and/or you can verify that services billed were actually provided.
  • A tool in educating health professionals.
  • A source of data for medical research.
  • A source of information for public health officials charged with improving the health of the nation.
  • A tool with which we can assess and continually work to improve the services we provide to you and your clinician.


Your Health Information Rights

Although your Laboratory record is the physical property of Pathologists' Regional Laboratory, you do have the right to:

  • Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information, but we are not required to agree to your request.
  • Obtain a paper copy of the notice of privacy practices. 
  • Request an accounting of disclosures of your health information except the following:
    • Treatment, payment and health care operations.
    • National security or intelligence purposes.
    • Correctional institutions or law enforcement having custody of the patient that took place before April 14, 2003.
  • To request an accounting of disclosures, submit your request in writing to Pathologists' Regional Laboratory Attn: Privacy Officer.
  • If you would like to obtain a copy of your laboratory results, please contact your health care provider.  Laboratory results are protected from disclosure by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 and are exempt from disclosure requirements.


Our Responsibilities

Pathologists' Regional Laboratory is a company which provides laboratory services to clinicians and hospitals in order to manage care for patients.  A physician or other authorized health care provider orders tests and results of those tests are communicated back to that individual.  The ordering of tests and these results are communications permitted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations.


The Laboratory and our employees are required to:

  • Maintain the privacy of your health information.
  • Provide you with a notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you.
  • Abide by the terms of this notice.
  • Notify you if we are unable to accommodate a requested restriction.
  • Accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.

We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain.  Should our information practices change, we will provide you with a revised notice upon request at the Laboratory Registration desk.


Examples of Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Operations

We will use your health information for treatment.

As a health care provider that provides laboratory testing for ordering physicians, Pathologists' Regional Laboratory uses your PHI as part of our testing process and discloses your PHI to physicians and other authorized health care professionals who need access to your laboratory results in order to treat you.  In addition to your treating physician, we may provide a specialist-consulting physician with information about your results to further validate the results before release to your physician.  Occasionally, we may contact you to arrange for a redraw of specimens.

We will use your health information for payment.

We will use your PHI in our billing departments and disclose your PHI to insurance companies, hospitals, physicians, and health plans for payment purposes, or to third parties to assist us in creating bills, claim forms, or getting paid for our services.  For example, we may send your name, date of service, test performed, diagnosis code, and other information to a health plan so the plan will pay us for the services we provided.  In some cases, we may contact you to obtain billing information or for other billing purposes.  When required, we may use an outside collection agency to obtain payment.

We will use your health information for regular health care operations.

We may use or disclose your PHI in the course of activities necessary to support our health care operations, such as performing quality checks on our testing, for teaching purposes, or for developing normal reference ranges for tests that we perform.

Workers Compensation

We may disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.

Business Associates

Pathologists' Regional Laboratory may disclose your PHI to contracted business associates who need your PHI in order to provide specific services to us.  To protect your health care information, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information.  For example, we may disclose your PHI to temporary employees or the College of American Pathologists (CAP) or other private accrediting organizations that inspect and certify the quality of our Laboratory.

Public Health

We may disclose your PHI when reporting communicable disease results to public health departments as required by law, such as, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  We may disclose your PHI for FDA reporting purposes.

Public Safety

When the appropriate conditions apply, we may use or disclose PHI to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.

Funeral Directors & Coroners

We may disclose health information, such as final diagnosis, to the funeral directors consistent with applicable law in order for them to carry out their duties.

Organ Procurement Organizations

Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.

Fundraising and Marketing

We do not utilize your PHI for fundraising or marketing purposes.

Law Enforcement

We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena or search warrant.

Correctional Institutions

We may disclose PHI to correctional institutions, should you be an inmate thereof, and the information is necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.

Federal Law

Federal law makes provisions for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public.

Release of Information

To release health information to parties for reasons not covered in this notice, you may be asked to sign a form authorizing the release.

This notice of privacy practices describes the practices of Pathologists' Regional Laboratory at all locations. 

 

For More Information or to Report a Problem

If you have any general questions regarding this notice, or you have concerns about the privacy of your health information, you may contact the Privacy Officer at (208) 746-0516.  You may also file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Pathologists' Regional Laboratory will not retaliate against any individual for filing a complaint.