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.
This Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) describes how we may use and disclose your protected health information to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations. It also describes your rights to access and control the disclosure of your protected health information. “Protected health information” (PHI) is information about you, including demographic information, that may identify you and that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health condition and related health care services.
We understand that information about you and your health is very personal and therefore, we will make every effort to protect your privacy as required by law. We will only use and disclose your PHI as allowed by applicable law.
We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices and provide you with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your PHI. A copy of our notice is being provided to you and is available upon request by accessing our website, www.thekentcenter.org, calling the office and requesting a copy, or asking for one at the time of your next appointment. We may change our notice at any time. This new notice will be effective for all PHI that we maintain at that time.
The Kent Center uses/disclosures of PHI- for treatment, payment & operations and progress in treatment:
Each time you visit The Kent Center, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your history, symptoms, diagnoses, treatment, test results, plans for treatment and creates your PHI. Understanding what is in your record and how your PHI is used helps you to:
- ensure information in your recovery is correct.
- better understand who, what, when, where, why and how others may access your PHI.
- make more informed decisions when authorizing others access to your PHI.
The following describes the various ways in which we may use or disclose your PHI.
- for planning, providing, coordinating or managing your care and treatment.
- a means of communication among the health care professionals involved in your care/center treatment (e.g. team members, specialists, laboratory, pharmacy).
- coordination or management of your health care with a third party that has already obtained your permission to have access to your PHI (authorization to release information or with a qualified business associates agreement). (e.g. primary care physician)
- a means by which you or a third party payor can verify that services billed were actually provided.
- making a determination of eligibility/coverage of insurance benefits for health care services we recommend.
- reviewing services for medical necessity and/or utilization review activities (e.g., obtaining approval for a hospital stay may require review of PHI to obtain approval for the admission).
- forwarding psychiatric or substance information regarding your treatment to your insurance company to arrange payment for services provided to you or to prepare a bill to send to you or to the person responsible for your payment.
- to support the business activities of The Kent Center, these may include, but are not limited to quality assessment, program improvement, employee review activities, training, licensing, marketing and fundraising activities, facility planning and conducting or arranging for other business activities.
- we may use a sign-in sheet at the registration desk where you will be asked to sign your name.
- we may call you by name in the waiting room.
- to contact you to remind/confirm your appointment or follow up on your visit.
- to inform you of treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
- sharing PHI with third party “business associates”. There are some services provided in our organization through contracts . Examples include laboratory testing, the liaison for inpatient treatment related services, drug/alcohol detoxification, legal counsel and transcription services. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your PHI to our business associate so that they can perform the job we have asked them to do. These disclosures do not constitute a sale of PHI . To protect your PHI, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard your information and abide by all requirements of the privacy rule.
- We may contact you, at times to donate to a fundraising effort on our behalf. If we contact you for fundraising purposes, you will be provided with the opportunity to opt out of receiving further solicitations.
Use/disclosure of PHI based upon your written authorization
Other uses and disclosures of your PHI will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law as described below. You may revoke an authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that your clinician or The Kent Center has take action in reliance on the use or disclosure indicted in the authorization.
You have the opportunity to agree or object to the use/disclosure of all or part of your PHI. If you are not present or able to agree or object to the use/disclosure of the PHI, then your clinician may, using professional judgment, determine whether the disclosure is in your best interest such as an emergent assessment. In this case, only the PHI that is relevant to your health care will be disclosed.
Permitted and required use/disclosure of PHI that may be made without your consent, authorization or opportunity to object.
Emergencies: We may use or disclose your PHI in an emergency treatment situation and would be limited to only the information necessary. If this happens, The Kent Center shall try to obtain your consent as soon as reasonably practicable after the delivery of treatment. We may also disclose limited PHI to a public or private entity that is authorized to assist in disaster relief efforts in order for that entity to locate a family member or other persons that may be involved in some aspect of caring for you.
Required by Law: We may use/disclose your PHI to the extent that the use/disclosure is required by state law. The use/disclosure will be made in compliance with the law and will be limited to the relevant requirements of the law.
Required Reporting: State Law mandates reporting when there is:
- suspected child abuse and/or neglect to appropriate individuals. (CANTS-Child Abuse & Trauma Tracking System DCYF -Department for Children, Youth & Families)
- suspected elderly abuse and/or neglect to appropriate individuals. (DEA-Department of Elderly Affairs)
Health Oversight: To a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Oversight agencies seeking this information include accreditation and government agencies that oversee the healthcare system, government benefit programs, other government regulatory programs and civil rights laws.
Legal Proceedings: In the course of any kind of judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to an order of the court or administrative tribunal (to the extent disclosure is expressly authorized), in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): We may disclose to the FDA health information concerning adverse effects with respect to medication, supplements and products.
Workers Compensation: We may disclose health information to Workers Compensation or other similar programs established by law to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with these laws.
Public Health: As required by law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
Coroners/Funeral Directors: We may disclose PHI to coroner or medical examiner for identification purposes, determining cause of death or for the coroner/medical examiner to perform other duties authorized by law. We may also disclose PHI to a funeral director, as authorized by law, in order to permit the funeral director to carry out their duties.
Communicable Diseases: If authorized by law, to a person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or may otherwise be at risk of contracting or spreading the disease or condition.
Criminal Activities: Consistent with applicable federal/state laws, we may disclose your PHI, if we believe that the use or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public.
Correctional Institution: Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, we may disclose to the institution or agents thereof health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.
Law Enforcement: We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law, in response to a valid subpoena and/or court order, or when a crime has been committed on the premises or against The Kent Center personnel.
Participation-Health Information Exchange: We will disclose your health information when you voluntarily sign up to participate in Rhode Island’s Health Information Exchange (currentcare) computerized network.
Your Personal Health Information Rights.
Although your record is the physical property of The Kent Center, the information within it belongs to you. You have the right as provided in the Federal Privacy Regulations (45 CFR 160.522-528) to:
- ask that we restrict on how we use and disclose your information related to treatment, payment and operations. Although we consider each request for client information, we are not legally required to accept it, but will attempt to accommodate reasonable requests when appropriate. When we accept your request, we will put any limits in writing and will follow your limitations except in uses/disclosures we are legally required to make. The Kent Center retains the right to terminate an agreed-to restriction if we believe such termination is appropriate. In the event we have terminated an agreed upon restriction, we will notify you of such termination.
- obtain a paper copy of this privacy notice upon request or review our notice on our website. (www.thekentcenter.org)
- access, inspect and/or obtain a copy of your PHI for as long as we maintain the PHI, however, you must make this request in writing. All requests will be responded to within 30 days of receiving your written request. There may be a situation in which we may deny your request. If a request is denied we will tell you in writing of our reason for denial and your right to have the denial reviewed. If you request a copy of your PHI, we have the right to charge a nominal fee for the copying services.
- amend/correct your PHI. All requests to change any information contained within the record must be made in writing. We are not obligated to make all requested amendments but will give each request careful consideration. All amendment requests, in order to be considered by The Kent Center, must be in writing, signed by you or your representative, and must state the reason for the amendment/correction. There may be a situation in which we deny your request. If a request is denied we will tell you in writing of our reason for denial. You have the right to submit a notice of disagreement , which will be included in the record. Please note that even if we accept your request, we may not delete any information already documented in your medical record.
- obtain a list of individuals to whom your PHI has been disclosed. This list will not include uses/disclosures for treatment, payment or healthcare operations or for certain other limited exceptions. This list will not include uses/disclosures made for national security purposes, as required by law, or before April 14, 2003. All requests for this list must be made in writing and signed by you or your representative. All requests for Accounting of Disclosure will be responded to within 60 days. This list will include the disclosures made in the last six (6) years. The first request for this list will be free of charge . Any further requests made in a twelve (12) month period will have a fee attached.
- request how we send PHI so long as we can easily provide it in the format requested.
- revoke your authorization to use or disclose PHI except when we have already processed the request.
- Complaints: You may file a complaint with us by notifying our Privacy Officer of your complaint. Please be assured that we will not retaliate against you, in any way, in filing a complaint. We would appreciate your advising us of any of your concerns first so that we may address them. You may contact our Privacy Officer at (401) 691-6000 ext. 229 for further information regarding the complaint process. You may file a compliant with us and/or the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): http://hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/index.html if you believe your rights have been violated by us.
Revised January 2022