NOTICE OF 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.
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 patient, significant new rights to understand and control how your health information is used. “HIPAA” provides penalties for covered entities that misuse personal health information.
As required by “HIPAA”, we have prepared this explanation of how we are required to maintain the privacy of your health information and how we may use and disclose your health information.
We may use and disclose your medical records only for each of the following purposes: treatment, payment and health care operations.
- Treatment means providing, coordinating, or managing health care and related services, by one or more health care providers. An example of this would include a physical examination.
- Payment means such activities as obtaining reimbursement for services; confirm coverage, billing or collection activities, and utilization review. An example of this would be sending a bill for your visit to your insurance company for payment.
- Health care operations include the business aspects of running our practice, such as conducting quality assessment and improvement activities, auditing functions, cost-management analysis, and customer service. An example would be an internal quality assessment review.
We may also create and distribute de-identified health information by removing all references to individually identifiable information.
We may contact you or leave a message at your home or on your telephone answering machine to provide appointment reminders, test results, treatment plans or information about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
We may disclose health information about you to your family members or friends if we obtain your verbal agreement to do so or if we give you an opportunity to object to such a disclosure and you do not raise an objection. We may also disclose health information to your family or friends if we can infer from the circumstances, based on our professional judgment that you would not object. For example, we may assume you agree to our disclosure of your personal health information to your spouse, family, friends or care givers when you bring them with you into the exam room during treatment or while treatment is discussed.
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.
You have the following rights with respect to your protected health information, which you can exercise by presenting a written request to the Privacy Officer:
- The right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information, including those related to disclosures to family members, other relatives, close personal friends, or any other person identified by you. We are, however, not required to agree to a requested restriction. If we do agree to a restriction, we must abide by it unless you agree in writing to remove it.
- The right to reasonable requests to receive confidential communications of protected health information from us by alternative means or at alternative locations.
- The Right to inspect and copy your protected health information. You must submit a written request to the Privacy Officer in order to inspect and/or copy your health information. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other associated supplies. We may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances. If you are denied access to your health information, you may ask that the denial be reviewed.
- The right to amend your protected health information if you believe health information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete.
- The right to receive an accounting of disclosures of protected health information. You must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. It must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. We may charge you for the costs of providing the list. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
- The right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from us upon request.
We are required by law to maintain the privacy of your protected health information and to provide you with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information.
This notice is effective as of April 14, 2003 and we are required to abide by the terms of the Notice of Privacy Practices currently in effect. We reserve the right to change the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices and to make the new notice provisions effective for all protected health information that we maintain. We will post and you may request a written copy of a revised Notice of Privacy Practices from this office.
You have recourse if you feel that your privacy protections have been violated. You have the right to file written complaint with our office, or with the Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, about violations of the provisions of this notice or the policies and procedures of our office. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
For more information about HIPAA or to file a complaint:
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Civil Rights
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
New Patients-Before Your Visit
We are pleased that you have chosen Desert Vision Center for your eye care. We will endeavor to make your visit as pleasant, convenient and stress-free as possible.
How Long Will You Be Here?
We request new patients to please arrive a few minutes before your appointment time. To expedite the check in process, complete the New Patient Forms we mail to you and mail them back to us.
The length of time of your office visit may vary. In order to check the overall health of the eye, dilation drops may be used. If you require dilating drops and/or special testing, please allow at least one and one-half hours (90 minutes) for your visit. If you do not require dilation of your eyes or other testing, please allow approximately one hour (60 minutes) for your visit.
What Do We Need To Know?
Whether you or a loved one are having a first eye exam, a repeat eye exam, or are seeing a new eye doctor for the first time, there are a number of routine questions you can expect. Because there are any number of factors in your medical history that may contribute to current or potential vision problems, please come prepared to discuss some vital information with us. Understanding your lifestyle and any visual problems you’re having helps us to point your eye exam in the right direction.
If you are currently using eye medications from another eye doctor or seeing another eye doctor for any eye condition, please let us know prior to your visit. We may require other information or records prior to your visit. If so, you may need to Request Medical Records from your other physician.
Please bring all of the following, if you use them:
- Glasses, sunglasses (if prescription) and original contact lens boxes (if available)
- Any eye drops you are using and a list of all prescription medication you take
Questions we may ask:
- What eye problems are you having now? Is your vision blurry or hazy at certain distances? Do you have problems in your side vision? Are you experiencing pain or discomfort in certain lighting situations?
- Do you have a history of any eye problems or eye injury? Do you have a current prescription for glasses or contact lenses? Are you wearing them regularly, and if so, are you still happy with them?
- Have you had any health problems recently, such as high blood pressure or heart disease? Are you diabetic? Are you overweight?
- Are you taking any medications? Do you have allergies to medications, food or other materials? Seasonal allergies?
- Has anyone in your family, including parents, suffered from eye problems or diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration?
- Has anyone in your family, including parents, suffered from high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes? What about other health problems that can affect the whole body like blood disorders or cancer?
We value and protect the privacy of your medical information in accordance with the Federal HIPAA Guidelines.
Prior to their visit, patients are responsible for obtaining any needed referral or approval required by your insurance. Our policy is to require payment of all deductibles and co-pays prior to each visit at check-in. Desert Vision Center accepts cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Changing Your Appointment
If you need to cancel or change your appointment, we appreciate at least 24 hours advance notice by telephone during business hours.