We have a legal duty to safeguard your Protected Health Information (PHI).
As a healthcare organization, we are legally required to protect the privacy of your health information. We call this information Protected Health Information
, or PHI
for short. PHI includes information that can be used to identify you; information that we've created or received about you; information regarding your present, past or future health or condition; information regarding the payment for your healthcare and information regarding the provision of the care you've received.
Additionally, we are legally required to provide you with this notice on our privacy practices that explains how, when and why we may use and/or disclose your PHI.
With few specific exceptions, we will only disclose the amount of PHI that is necessary to accomplish the purpose of the use or disclosure. KVH is legally held to and is in support of the PHI privacy practices that are described in this notice.
We do reserve the right to change the terms of this notice as well as our privacy policies at any time. Changes will apply to the PHI we already have collected. Prior to making PHI policy changes, this notice will be updated and a new notice will be posted within the organization.
You may request a copy of all PHI notices by contacting the admissions desk in the main lobby, or you may contact the Privacy Officer at 962-7306.
How We May Use and Disclose Your Protected Health Information
We use and disclose health information for many different reasons. For some of these uses or disclosures, we need your prior consent or specific authorization. Below, we describe the different categories of our uses and disclosures and give you some examples for each category.
A. Uses and disclosures relating to your treatment, payment or health
We may use and disclose your PHI with your consent for the following reasons:
B. Certain uses and disclosures that DO NOT require your consent
- For treatment.
We may disclose your PHI to physicians, nurses, medical students, and other medical personnel who provide you with healthcare services or are involved in your care. For example: If you're being treated for a knee injury, we may disclose your PHI to the physical rehabilitation department in order to coordinate your care.
- To obtain payment for treatment.
We may use and disclose your PHI in order to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided to you. For example: We may provide portions of your PHI to our billing department and your insurance provider to receive payment for the healthcare services we provide. We may also provide your PHI to our business associates, such as billing companies, claims processing companies, and others that process our healthcare claims.
- For healthcare operations.
We may disclose your PHI in order to operate this hospital. For example: We may use your PHI to evaluate the quality of healthcare services that you received or to evaluate the performance of the healthcare professionals who provided healthcare services to you. We may also provide your PHI to our accountants, attorneys, consultants and others to make sure we're complying with the laws that affect us.
We may use and disclose your PHI without your consent or authorization for the following reasons:
C. Two uses and disclosures require that you are given the opportunity to object
- When a disclosure is required by federal, state or local law, judicial or administrative proceedings or law enforcement. For example: We make disclosures when a law requires that we report information to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of abuse, neglect or domestic violence; when dealing with gunshot and other wounds; or when ordered in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement officer, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary for the institution to provide you with healthcare, to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others or for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
- For public health activities.
For example: We report information about births, deaths and various diseases to government officials in charge of collecting that information, and we provide coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors necessary information relating to an individual's death.
- For health oversight activities.
For example: We will provide information to assist the government when it conducts an investigation or inspection of a healthcare provider or organization.
- For purposes of organ donation.
We may notify organ procurement organization(s) to assist them in organ, eye, tissue donation and transplants.
- For research purposes.
In certain circumstances, we may provide PHI in order to conduct medical research.
- To avoid harm.
In order to avoid a serious threat to the health or safety of a person or the public, we may provide PHI to law enforcement personnel or persons able to prevent or lessen such threat of harm. For example: Victims of animal bites.
- For specific government functions.
We may disclose the PHI of military personnel and veterans under certain situations, and we may also disclose PHI for national security purposes, such as protecting the President of the United States or for agencies conducting intelligence operations.
- For workers compensation purposes.
We may provide PHI in order to comply with workers compensation laws.
- Appointment reminders and health-related benefits or services.
We may use PHI to provide appointment reminders or give you information about treatment alternatives, or other healthcare services or benefits we offer.
- Fundraising activities.
We may use PHI to contact you about your interest in supporting philanthropic efforts through The Foundation at KVH. The Foundation raises funds to enhance programs that promote, encourage, and assist the improvement and expansion of healthcare services at KVH. If you do not wish to be contacted regarding fundraising, please contact our Privacy Officer at 509.962.7306.
- Exceptions to consent requirement for treatment, payment and healthcare operations.
Although your consent is required for numbers 1 through 3 of section 1A of this section, we may disclose your PHI to others without your consent in certain situations. Your consent is not required if you need emergency treatment, as long as we attempt to get your consent following treatment or we try to obtain your consent but you are unable to communicate with us. For example: You are unconscious or in severe pain.
D. Other uses and disclosures require prior written authorization
- Patient directories.
We may include in our patient directories, for use by clergy and visitors, your name, location in our facility, a general condition report and your religious affiliation. This information will be disclosed only if the requestor asks for you by your name. You have the right to object to having this PHI disclosed either in part or in whole. You will be asked about your right to object to this disclosure at the time that you are being registered into our facility. In certain emergency situations, your consent may be obtained retroactively.
- Disclosures to family, friends or others.
Unless you object in whole or in part, we may provide your PHI to a family member, friend or other person that you indicate is involved in your care or with the payment for your healthcare. The opportunity to consent may be obtained retroactively in certain emergency situations.
In any other situation not described in the sections proceeding, we will ask for your written authorization before using or disclosing any of your PHI. If you choose to sign an authorization to disclose your PHI, you can later revoke that authorization in writing. This will stop any future uses and disclosures.
What Rights You Have Regarding Your PHI
You have the following rights with respect to your PHI:
A. The right to request limits on uses and disclosures of your PHI
You have the right to request that we limit how we use and disclose your PHI. You may not limit, however, the uses and disclosures that we are legally required or authorized to make.
We will always consider your request, but we are not required by law to accept it. If your request is accepted, we will put any limitations on disclosure in writing. Emergency situations may prevent us from upholding your request.
B. The right to choose how we send PHI to you
You have the right to ask that we send information to you at an alternate address. For example: Sending information to your work address rather than your home address or by alternate means (i.e., email instead of regular mail). We must agree to your request so long as we can easily provide your information in the format you requested.
C. The right to see and get copies of your PHI
In most cases you have the right to look at or get copies of your PHI. We require that you make this request in writing. If we don't have your PHI, but we know who does, we will tell you how to access it.
D. The right to get a list of the disclosures we have made
You have the right to get a list of instances in which we have disclosed your PHI. The list will include the date of the disclosure, to whom PHI was disclosed (including their address, if known), a description of the information disclosed and the reason for the disclosure.
This list will not include uses or disclosures that you have already consented to, such as those made for treatment, payment or healthcare operations or disclosures made directly to you, to your family or in our facility directory. The list also won't include uses and disclosures made for national security purposes, to corrections or law enforcement personnel or before January 1, 2003.
We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request. The list we will provide will include disclosures made in the last six years unless you request a shorter time period. We will provide the list to you at no charge, unless you make more than one request in the same year and then we will charge for each additional request.
E. The right to correct or update your PHI
If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI or that a piece of important information is missing, you have the right to request that we correct the existing information or add the missing information. You must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. We will respond within 10 days of receiving the request. We may deny your request in writing if the PHI is determined to be:
- Correct and complete
- Not created by us
- Not allowed to be disclosed
- Not part of our records
Our written denial will state the reasons for the denial and explain your right to file a written statement of disagreement. If you don't file a written statement of disagreement to the denial, you have the right to ask that your request and our denial be attached to all future disclosures of your PHI. If we approve your request, we will make the change to your PHI, inform you of the change and inform those who need to know about the change to your PHI.
F. The right to get this notice by email
You have the right to get a copy of this notice by email. Even if you have agreed to receive this notice via email, you also have the right to request a paper copy of this notice.
Contact information about this notice or to inquire about our privacy practices
Please contact our Privacy Officer at:
603 S. Chestnut St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926
You may also send written comments to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Effective Date of This Notice
This notice was effective on April 1, 2003.