Revision Date: February 1, 2014

Mindoula Health, Inc. (“MH”) respects the privacy of its members and of its web site users. We are happy to share our policy regarding privacy information that is collected and how that data is used.

MH has developed all systems and manages the data for this web site (www.mindoula.com). All data is stored in encrypted format that exceeds standards defined by HIPAA. All data transfer is executed using similar standards that meet or exceed HIPAA, and no data is transferred to users that do not have specific data access keys.

The importance of security for all personal information associated with you is of utmost concern to us. At MH, we exercise state of the art care in providing secure transmission of your information from your personal computer to our servers. Personal information collected by our web site is stored in secure operation environments that are not available to the public. Only those employees who need access to your information in order to do their jobs are allowed access, each having signed confidentiality agreements. Any employee who violates our privacy or security policies is subject to disciplinary action, including possible termination and civil and/or criminal prosecution.

Any information that you submit to us through our web site whether a registration form, assessment, or e-mail will be used exclusively by our care managers and affiliated providers and only for the specific reason for which you submitted it.

We take every reasonable precaution to protect your personal information including encryption and passwords when appropriate.

MH is the sole owner of the information collected on this site. We will not sell, share or lease this information to others. MH does not sell any customer lists or email addresses cookies or other data.

Cookies are data stored on the user’s hard drive containing information about the user.

Usage of a cookie is not linked to any personally identifiable information while visiting the MH web site. Once users close their browser, cookies simply terminate. MH software never uses cookies to retrieve information from your computer that was not originally sent in a cookie. Except as described in this Privacy Policy, we do not use information transferred through cookies for any promotional or marketing purposes, nor is that information shared with any third parties whatsoever.

Acceptance

By using this site and the MH service, you signify your acceptance of this Privacy Policy. If you do not agree to this Privacy Policy, you should not use our service. If MH decides to change this Privacy Policy, we will post those changes prominently so users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. We do, however, recommend that you read this Privacy Policy each time you use our web site in case you missed our notice of changes to the Privacy Policy. Your continued use of the services and site following the posting of changes to these terms will mean you accept those changes.

MH welcomes your questions and comments about privacy and this policy. If you have any questions about our policies or our site, please contact us.

Notice of HIPAA Privacy Practices

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 AND REPORT ANY GRIEVANCE TO: MINDOULA HEALTH PRIVACY OFFICER, 1117 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal program that requires that all medical records and other individually identifiable health information used or disclosed by us in any form, whether electronically, on paper, or orally, are kept properly confidential. This Act gives you, the member, significant rights to understand and control how your health information is used. HIPAA provides penalties for covered entities that misuse personal health information.

We have prepared this Notice of HIPAA Privacy Practices to explain how we are required to maintain the privacy of your health information and how we may use and disclose your health information.

MH is committed to protecting health and personal information about you. MH and its affiliated providers collect information about you and create a record of the services and care you receive. We need this record to provide you with quality care management and to comply with certain legal requirements. This Notice of HIPAA Privacy Practices applies to all of the records of your care management and care generated or maintained by MH and its affiliated providers, including the following people and organizations:

  • Any case manager that is authorized to enter information in your record.
  • Any health care professional or practice that is authorized to enter information in your record.
  • Any student or volunteer that we allow to help you while you are receiving services.

MH is required by law to:

  • Make sure that health and treatment information that identifies you is kept private.
  • Make sure that you are given notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to health and treatment information about you.
  • Make sure that MH, its staff, and its contracted providers follow the terms of the privacy policy currently in effect.

How We May Use or Disclose Health and Treatment Information About You

We may use and disclose your health and treatment information and medical records for each of the following purposes:

Case Management: Case management means providing psychosocial rehabilitation and/or case management services, including member and family support, and provider scheduling, coordination, and collaboration. We may use health and treatment information about you to provide you with care management. We may disclose information about you to our behavioral health specialists, and to psychiatrists, therapists, primary care physicians, and other behavioral health professionals involved in your care. For example, your primary care physician may need to know what psychiatric medications you are using to coordinate care, or we may need to speak to the pharmacist about your prescriptions. Different departments or groups within MH may also share information in order to coordinate your services. We may also disclose information about you in order to schedule appointments with your behavioral health and medical providers, to coordinate and collaborate with them, and, with your prior authorization, to your designated family members, friends, and other members of your close support network. These disclosures may occur via our web site or directly by phone or in person.

Treatment: Treatment means providing, coordinating, and/or managing health care and related services by one or more health care providers. We may use health and treatment information about you to facilitate the provision to you of behavioral and/or medical health treatment or services, via our web site or directly by phone or in person. We may ask you to authorize a release of information for some treatment disclosures, even though it is not required, as a way to inform and involve you with the course of your treatment.

Payment: Payment means such activities as obtaining payment or reimbursement for services, billing or collection activities and utilization review. We may use and disclose health and treatment information about you so we may bill for the services you receive and collect from appropriate payers, Medicaid, an insurance company, or other third parties. We may also need to request prior approval or authorization to determine whether your insurance or the responsible payer will cover services.

Facilitation of Care: We have chosen to participate in the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, Inc. (CRISP), a regional health information exchange serving Maryland and D.C. As permitted by law, your health information will be shared with this exchange in order to provide faster access, better coordination of care and assist providers and public health officials in making more informed decisions. You may “opt-out” and disable all access to your health information available through CRISP by calling 1-877-952-7477 or completing and submitting an Opt-Out form to CRISP by mail, fax or through their website at http://www.crisphealth.org. Public health reporting and Controlled Dangerous Substances information, as part of the Maryland Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), will still be available to providers.

Health Care Operations: Health care operations include managing your Electronic Medical Record to facilitate informational and/or diagnostic medical consultations with participating physicians, as well as conducting quality assessment and improvement activities, auditing functions, cost management analysis and customer service.

Research: Under certain limited circumstances, we may use and disclose health treatment information about you for research purposes. All research projects are subject to special approval. We will ask for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals who you are. You may participate in research or not, as you wish, without jeopardizing your care management or care.

Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or services.

Health-Related Information or Resources: We may use and disclose information in order to tell you about other resources or treatment information that may be of interest to you, such as new groups or websites.

Special Circumstances: Federal and state laws allow or require MH to disclose health or treatment information about you, other than HIV information, without your written authorization in certain special circumstances, if they occur.

Public Health Risks (Health and Safety for You and/or Others): We may disclose health information about you for public health activities, when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or to the health and safety of another person or the general public. These activities generally include the following:

  • To prevent or control disease, injury, or disability
  • To report births or deaths
  • To report child abuse or neglect
  • To report abuse of the elderly or at-risk adults
  • To report reactions to medications
  • To notify people of recalls of medications they may be using
  • To notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or who may be at risk for contracting a disease
  • To avert a serious threat to the health or safety of a person or the public

When required by law, to inform the appropriate authorities if we believe a client has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence

Health Oversight Activities: We may disclose health information about you to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities may include audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the behavioral health care system, government-funded programs, and compliance with civil rights and other laws.

Lawsuits and Disputes: If you are involved in a lawsuit or legal action, we may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order from a judge. We may also disclose health information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process initiated by someone else involved in the dispute. If you have filed a complaint or lawsuit against your therapist or the Center, health information about you may be disclosed to resolve the matter.

Law Enforcement: We may disclose health information about you if asked to do so by law enforcement for one of the following reasons:

  • In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons, or similar lawful process
  • When limited information is needed to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person
  • About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s authorization
  • About a death we believe may have been the result of criminal conduct
  • About criminal conduct at any Center office, in any Center program, or against a staff member, visitor, or another client
  • In emergency circumstances to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description, or location of the person believed to have committed the crime

Coroners, Health Examiners, and Funeral Directors: We may disclose information to a coroner or health examiner. This may be necessary to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release health information about clients to funeral directors when necessary to carry out their duties.

National Security and Intelligence Activities: We may disclose health information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.

Protective Services for the President and Others: We may disclose health information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons, or foreign heads of state.

As Required By Law: We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state, or local law.

We may also create and distribute de-identified health information by removing all references to individually identifiable information.

We may contact you to provide information about our services or other health-related services that may be of interest to you.

Any other uses and disclosures will be made only with your written authorization. You may revoke such authorization in writing and we are required to honor and abide by that written request, except to the extent that we have already taken actions relying on your authorization.

Your Rights Regarding Health Information About You

You have the following rights with respect to your protected health information:

Right to Amend: If you believe that any health information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as your health information is kept by MH. To request an amendment, submit the request in writing to the Mindoula Health Privacy Officer. You must provide a reason that supports your request. We may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:

  • Is accurate and correct
  • Is not part of the health information kept by MH or its affiliated providers
  • Is not part of the health information which you would be permitted to inspect or copy
  • Was not created by us, unless the person/entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an accounting or list of disclosures of health information made about you. The list does not include information disclosed for the purposes of treatment, payment or health care operations, and it does not include information disclosed on the basis of a written authorization for release of information signed by you or someone authorized to act for you. To request this accounting, you must make your request in writing to the Mindoula Health Privacy Officer. Your request must state a period of time for the accounting that may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. If you ask for this information from us more than once every twelve months, we may charge you a fee.

Right to Request Restrictions: You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the health information disclosed about you. MH is not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide emergency treatment for you. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the Mindoula Health Privacy Officer. In your request, you must tell us what information to limit, and to whom you want the limit to apply.

Right to Request Confidential Communications: You have the right to request that we communicate with you in a certain way or at a certain location. You may ask that we only contact you at a certain telephone number or address. For example, you may ask that we only contact you at work or by mail. To request confidential communications, you must submit your request in writing to the Mindoula Health Privacy Officer. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must indicate when or where you wish to be contacted.

Right to A Paper Copy of this Notice: You have the right to receive a paper copy of this Notice. You may ask for a copy at any time.

Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to inspect and copy health information that may be used to make decisions about your care. This may include evaluations/assessments, service plans, treatment plans, progress notes, and billing information. To inspect or copy your health information, you must submit a request in writing to the Mindoula Health Privacy Officer, 1117 East-West Hwy Silver Spring, MD 20910. You may be charged a reasonable fee for the costs of copying your records.

Your request to inspect and copy your information may be denied in certain very limited circumstances. In those circumstances, MH retains the right to withhold information that may be detrimental to your health or safety or to the health or safety of others. If you are denied access to any part of your health information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Instructions on how to initiate that review process will be provided in writing at the time on any denial of your access to information.

Changes to This Notice

MH reserves the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the updated HIPAA Privacy Notice effective for all health information we already have about you, as well as for any information we receive in the future.

Complaints and Assistance

If you need assistance to understand this notice or your rights, and if you need assistance in filing requests, you may contact the Mindoula Health Member Center at (888) 879-9786. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, contact the Mindoula Health Privacy Officer by mail at 1117 East-West Hwy, Silver Spring, MD 20910, or by calling the Mindoula Health Member Center at (888) 879-9786. If we cannot resolve your concern, you have the right to file a written complaint with the United States Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This Notice is effective February 1, 2014.