We respect our legal obligation to keep health information that identifies you private. We are obligated by law to give you notice of our privacy practices.
Generally, we cannot use your health information in our office or disclose it outside of our office without your written permission. Sometimes the written permission will be called a consent form, and sometimes it will be called an authorization form. The type of permission form will depend upon the kinds of uses or disclosures that are involved. In some limited situations, the law allows or requires us to disclose your health information without either a written consent or authorization.
We will ask you to sign a consent form allowing us to use and disclose your health information for purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations at this office. We are allowed to refuse to treat you if you do not sign the consent form.
We use information for treatment purposes, when, for example, we set up an appointment for you, when our technician or doctor tests your eyes, when the doctor prescribes glasses or contact lenses, when the doctor prescribes medication, when our staff helps you select and order glasses or contact lenses, and when we show you low vision aids. We may disclose your health information outside of our office for treatment purposes if, for example, we refer you to another doctor or clinic for eye care or low vision aids or services, if we send a prescription for glasses or contacts to another to be filled, when we provide a prescription for medication to a pharmacist, or when we phone to let you know that your glasses or contacts are ready to be picked up. Sometimes we may ask for copies of your health information from another professional that you may have seen before us.
We use your health information for payment purposes when, for example, our staff asks you about health or vision care plans that you may belong to, or about other sources of payment for our services, when we prepare bills to send to you or your health or vision care plan, when we process payment by credit card, and when we try to collect unpaid amounts due. We may disclose your health information outside of our office for payment purposes when, for example, bills or claims for payment are mailed, faxed, or sent by computer to you are your health or vision plan, or when we occasionally have to ask a collection agency or attorney to help us with unpaid amounts due.
We use and disclose your health information for health care operations in a number of ways. Health care operations means those administrative and managerial functions that we have to do in order to run our office. We may use or disclose your health information, for example, for financial or billing audits, for internal quality assurance, for personal decisions, to enable our doctors to participate in managed care plans, for the defense of legal matters, to develop business plans, and for outside storage of our records.
In some limited situations, the law allows or requires us to use or disclose your health information without your permission. Not all of these situations will apply to us; some may never come up at our office at all. Such uses or disclosures are:
The law gives you many rights regarding your health information. You can:
By law, we must abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices until we choose to change it. We reserve the right to change this notice at any time in compliance with and as allowed by law. If we change this Notice, the new privacy practices will apply to your health information that we already have as well as to such information that we may generate in the future. If we change our Notice of Privacy Practices, we will post the new notice in our office, have copies available in our office, and post it on our Web site.
If you think that we have not properly respected the privacy of your health information, you are free to complain to us or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. We will not retaliate against you if you make a complaint. If you want to complain to us, send a written complaint to EYE-I-DEALS at the address, fax or E-Mail shown at the beginning of this Notice. If you prefer, you can discuss your complaint in person or by phone.