Purpose

Patients deserve to know about this office’s policies as they relate to confidentiality. Moreover, federal regulations demand that we make a good faith effort to obtain a patient’s written acknowledgment of receiving a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices.

POLICY
The Notice currently in effect will be prominently posted in an area accessible to patients. On a prospective patient’s initial visit, or a current patient’s first visit following April 14, 2003, the Receptionist will provide the patient with a copy of the Notice of Privacy Practices that is currently in effect.

The patient will be asked to review the Notice, and then sign a form that acknowledges he or she has reviewed our privacy policy. This form will be filed in the patient’s record. A copy of the Notice will be offered to the patient. If any patient requests further information on the contents of the Notice, that person will be directed to the Privacy Officer or other designated staff member.

If the patient refuses to sign or acknowledge receiving the Notice, care will still be provided to the patient and the events surrounding the refusal will be documented in the patient’s file.

MODIFICATION/DOCUMENTATION OF THE PRIVACY NOTICE
All acknowledged Notices will be retained by the practice for six years from the date they were last in effect, as required by the practice’s retention policy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If the patient-physician relationship has been terminated, the Notice must be maintained for six years from the last date of treatment.

The Privacy Officer will ensure that reviews and updates are made to the Notice so that it continues to accurately describe the office’s policies concerning how protected health information is used or disclosed. At a minimum, reviews will take place every two years.

When the Notice is updated, the practice will post along with the Notice, conspicuous statements that the Notice has been updated and that a copy is available on request.

If the physicians in the practice are part of an Organized Health Care Arrangement (OHCA), as defined by HIPAA, the practice will maintain copies of the joint notice of privacy practices as well as any written understanding between the OHCA and the physician and/or practice.

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