Notice of Privacy Practices
North Oaks Health System, North Oaks Medical Center LLC, North Oaks Rehabilitation
Hospital LLC, North Oaks Physician Group LLC
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND
DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW
North Oaks Health System, North Oaks Medical Center, L.L.C. and its Medical
Staff, North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital, L.L.C. and its Medical Staff,
North Oaks Physician Group L.L.C., North Oaks Hospice, and all of their
respective individual health care providers and departments providing
services to patients (all collectively referred to as “North Oaks”),
are part of an Organized Health Care Arrangement (“OHCA”)
as defined in the HIPAA Privacy Regulations (45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164).
As an OHCA, North Oaks provides patients with Joint “Notice of Privacy
This Notice describes how North Oaks will use and disclose your protected
health information. The policies outlined in this Notice apply to all
of your health information generated or received by us which includes,
but is not limited to, our medical record, invoices, payment forms, videotapes
or other ways.
USES AND DISCLOSURES OF YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION
In some circumstances we are permitted or required to use or disclose your
protected health information without obtaining your prior authorization
and without offering you the opportunity to object. These circumstances include:
Uses/disclosures for purposes relating to treatment, payment and health
- Treatment. We may use and/or disclose your protected health information
for the purpose of providing, or allowing others to provide, treatment
to you. An example would be if your primary care physician discloses your
health information to another doctor for the purposes of a consultation.
Also, we may contact you with appointment reminders or information about
treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that
may be of interest to you.
- Payment. We may use and/or disclose your protected health information for
the purpose of allowing us, as well as others, to secure payment for the
health care services provided to you. For example, we may inform your
health insurance company of your diagnosis and treatment in order to assist
them in processing our claim for payment for the health care services
provided to you.
- Health Care Operations. We may use and/or disclose your information for
the purposes of our day-to-day operations and functions. We may also disclose
your information to another covered entity to allow it to perform its
day-to-day functions related to quality assessment to the extent that
we both have a relationship with you. For example, we may compile your
protected health information, along with that of other patients, in order
to allow a team of our health care professionals to review that information
and make suggestions concerning how to improve the quality of care provided
at this facility. Also, we may contact you as part of our efforts to raise
funds for North Oaks. All fundraising communications will include information
about how you may opt out of future fundraising communications.
- To create material(s) that originally had any identifying information concerning
you deleted from the final material(s);
- To create materials that have most of the identifying information about
you deleted from the final materials, to allow other entities to conduct
research, public health, or health care operation activities;
- When required by law;
- For public health purposes;
- To disclose information about victims of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence;
- For health oversight activities, such as audits or civil, administrative
or criminal investigations;
- For judicial or administrative proceedings;
- For law enforcement purposes;
- To assist coroners, medical examiners or funeral directors with their official duties;
- To facilitate organ, eye or tissue donation;
- For certain research projects that have been evaluated and approved through
a research approval process that takes into account patients' need
- To avert a serious threat to health or safety;
- For specialized governmental functions, such as military, national security,
criminal corrections, or public benefit purposes; and
- For workers' compensation purposes, as permitted by law.
We may also use or disclose your protected health information in the following
circumstances. However, except in emergency situations, we will inform
you of our intended action prior to making any such uses and disclosures
and will, at that time, offer you the opportunity to object.
- Directories. We may maintain a directory of patients that includes your
name and location within the facility, your religious designation, and
information about your condition in general terms that will not communicate
specific medical information about you. Except for your religion, we may
disclose this information to any person who asks for you by name. We may
disclose all directory information to members of the clergy.
- Notifications. We may use and disclose your health information for the
purpose of locating and notifying your relatives or close personal friends
of your location and general condition or death, and to Organizations
that are involved in those tasks during disaster situations.
- To Persons Involved in Your Care. We may disclose to your relatives, friends,
or anyone else you designate as being involved in your care any protected
health information that is directly related to that person’s involvement
in the provision of, or payment for, your care. If you are not present
to voice your objection to us sharing information with these individuals,
we will use our professional judgment to decide whether it is in your
best interest for us to disclose your health information. For example,
if your spouse arrives to pick up your prescription, and you are not with
him or her, we may provide your prescription to your spouse.
Except as described above, disclosures of your protected health information
will be made only with your written authorization. In particular:
- Most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes require your written authorization.
“Psychotherapy notes” are the personal notes of a mental health
professional that analyze the contents of conversations during a counseling
session. They are treated differently under federal law than other mental
- Uses and disclosures for marketing require your written authorization.
“Marketing” is a communication that encourages you to purchase
a product or service. However, it is not marketing if we communicate with
you about health-related products or services we offer, as long as we
are not paid by a third party for making that communication.
- A disclosure that qualifies as a sale of your health information under
federal law may not occur without your written authorization. You may
revoke your authorization at any time, in writing, unless we have taken
action in reliance upon your prior authorization, or if you signed the
authorization as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage.
- To a Paper Copy of this Notice. You have the right to obtain a paper copy
of this Notice upon request.
- To Access and Copy Health Information. You have the right to inspect and
copy any protected health information about you, that we use to make decisions
about you, other than psychotherapy notes, information compiled in anticipation
of or for use in civil, criminal or administrative proceedings, or certain
information that is governed by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act.
To arrange for access to your records, or to receive a copy of your records,
you may contact the Health Information Management Department at (985)
230-6630. If you request copies, you will be charged a standard fee set
by HIPAA and Louisiana state law for copying and mailing the requested
information. Despite your general right to access your protected health
information, access may be denied in some limited circumstances. For example,
access may be denied if you are a participant in a research program that
is still in progress. Access may be denied if the federal Privacy Act
applies. In addition, access may be denied if (i) access to the information
in question is reasonably likely to endanger the life and physical safety
of you or anyone else, (ii) the information makes reference to another
person and your access would reasonably be likely to cause harm to that
person, or (iii) you are the personal representative of another individual
and a licensed health care professional determines that your access to
the information would cause substantial harm to the patient or another
individual. If access is denied for these reasons, you have the right
to have the decision reviewed by a health care professional who did not
participate in the original decision. If access is ultimately denied,
the reasons for that denial will be provided to you in writing.
- To Limit Communications. You have the right to receive confidential communications
about your own protected health information by alternative means or at
alternative locations. This means that you may, for example, designate
that we contact you only via e-mail, or at work rather than home. To request
communications via alternative means or at alternative locations, you
must submit a written request to the Contact listed on the final page
of this Notice. All reasonable requests will be granted.
- To Request Amendment. You may request that your protected health information
be amended. Your request may be denied if the information in question:
was not created by us (unless you show that the original source of the
information is no longer available to seek amendment from), is not part
of our records, is not the type of information that would be available
to you for inspection or copying (for example, psychotherapy notes), or
is accurate and complete. If your request to amend your protected health
information is denied, you may submit a written statement disagreeing
with the denial, which we will keep on file and distribute with all future
disclosures of the information to which it relates. Requests to amend
protected health information must be submitted in writing to the Contact
listed on the final page of this Notice or by contacting the Health Information
Management department at (985) 230-6630.
- To An Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to an accounting of
any disclosures of your protected health information made during the six-year
period preceding the date of your request. However, the following disclosures
will not be accounted for: (i) disclosures made for the purpose of carrying
out treatment, payment or health care operations, (ii) disclosures made
to you, (iii) disclosures of information maintained in our patient directory,
or disclosures made to persons involved in your care, or for the purpose
of notifying your family or friends about your whereabouts, (iv) disclosures
for national security or intelligence purposes, (v) disclosures to correctional
institutions or law enforcement officials who had you in custody at the
time of disclosure, (vi) disclosures that occurred prior to April 14,
2003, (vii) disclosures made pursuant to an authorization signed by you,
(viii) disclosures that are part of a limited data set, (ix) disclosures
that are incidental to another permissible use or disclosure, or (x) disclosures
made to a health oversight agency or law enforcement official, but only
if the agency or official asks us not to account to you for such disclosures
and only for the limited period of time covered by that request. The accounting
will include the date of each disclosure, the name of the entity or person
who received the information and that person's address (if known),
and a brief description of the information disclosed and the purpose of
the disclosure. To request an accounting of disclosures, submit a written
request to the Contact listed on the final page of this Notice.
- To Request Restrictions. You have the right to request restrictions on
the use and disclosure of your protected health information for treatment,
payment or health care operations purposes or notification purposes. We
are not required to agree to your request, with one exception: If you
have paid out of pocket and in full for a health care item or service,
you may request that we not disclose your health information related to
that item or service to a health plan for purposes of payment or health
care operations. If you make such a request, we will not disclose your
information to the health plan unless the disclosure is otherwise required
by law. If we do agree to a restriction, we will abide by that restriction
unless you are in need of emergency treatment and the restricted information
is needed to provide that emergency treatment. To request a restriction,
submit a written request to the Contact listed on the final page of this
Notice. North Oaks is not responsible for notifying subsequent healthcare
providers of your request for restriction on disclosures to health plans
for those items and services, so you will need to notify other providers
if you want them to abide by the same.
- We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your protected health
information and to provide you with this Notice of our legal duties and
- We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice. We reserve the right
to change the terms of this Notice and to make those changes applicable
to all protected health information that we maintain. Any changes to this
Notice will be posted on our website and at our facilities and will be
available upon request.
- We are required to notify you in writing if we improperly use or disclose
your health information in a manner that meets the definition of a “breach”
under federal law. Although there are some exceptions, a breach generally
occurs when health information about you is not encrypted and is accessed
by, or disclosed to, an unauthorized person.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint
by contacting North Oaks Privacy Officer and/or the Secretary of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. No action will be taken against
you for filing a complaint.
DESIGNATED CONTACT PERSON:
North Oaks Privacy Officer
P.O. Box 2668
Hammond, LA 70404
Phone (985) 230-6224
Fax (985) 230-6112
Effective Sept. 12, 2013