Privacy Policy

HIPAA Privacy Policy

This notice describes how health information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.  Please review carefully.

Rice Home Medical is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information and the information that identifies you.  This information may be information about the healthcare and item(s)/services provided to you or payment for the item(s)/services provided to you.  It may also be information about your past present or future health condition.

Rice Home Medical is required to provide you with this notice that describes Rice Home Medical’s legal duties and privacy practices and your privacy rights with respect to your health information.  Rice Home Medical will follow the privacy practices described in this notice.

Rice Home Medical reserves the right to change the privacy practices described in this notice in the event that the practices need to be changed to be in compliance with the law.  Rice Home Medical will make the new notice provisions effective for all the protected health information that we maintain.  If we change our privacy practices, we will have them available upon request.  The Notice of Privacy Practice is posted at the location of service, and the Rice Home Medical Website.

If at any time, you have questions about information in this Notice or about Rice Home Medical privacy policies, procedures, or practices, you can contact Aaron Olson, Director, at 1-800-637-7795

Rice Home Medical understands that health information about you and your health is personal.  We are committed to protecting your information, as part of our service we maintain records of claims and health records. This notice relates to those documents and information that we maintain and how the protected health information may be used and shared.  It describes our obligations and your rights regarding the use and disclosure of information.   We are required by law to:

  • Make sure the information that identifies you is kept private
  • Follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect
  • Describe how and where you may file a privacy related complaint.

Rice Home Medical may use or disclose your health information in several circumstances.

Rice Home Medical uses and disclose health information about customers every day.  This section of our Notice explains in some detail how we may use and disclose health information about you in order to provide service, obtain payment for that service, and operate our business efficiently.  This section briefly mentions several other circumstances in which Rice Home Medical may use or disclose health information about you.

Treatment

Rice Home Medical may use and disclose health information about you to provide services.  In other words, Rice Home Medical may use and disclose health information about you to provide, coordinate or manage your healthcare related services.  This may include communicating with other health care providers regarding your treatment and coordinating and managing your healthcare with others.   For example, information obtained by a respiratory therapist or other member of your healthcare team will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you.   Different personnel in our office may share information about you and disclose information to people who do not work in our office in order to coordinate your care, such as phoning in an order to a fabrication lab, or contacting our suppliers of components for consultation regarding a specific application. 

Payment

Rice Home Medical may use and disclose health information to obtain payment for your services.  This means that Rice Home Medical may use health information about you to arrange for payment (such as preparing bills and managing accounts).  Rice Home Medical also may disclose health information about you to others (such as insurers, collection agencies, and consumer reporting agencies).  In some instances, we may disclose health information about you to an insurance plan before you receive certain services.  For example:  Your physician orders an item, The Rice Home Medical billing clerk will use health information about you when the claim is filed to the insurance company for payment. 

Health Care Operations

Rice Home Medical may use or disclose health information about you while performing a variety of business activities that we call “healthcare operations.” These “healthcare operations” activities allow us to improve the quality of service we provide.  For example, we may use or disclose health information about you in performing the following activities, which include but are not limited to:

  • Providing training programs for trainees, healthcare providers or non-healthcare professionals to help them practice or improve their skills.
  • Cooperating with outside organizations that evaluate, certify or license providers, staff or facilities in particular field or specialty.
  • Reviewing and improving the quality and efficiency of service that Rice Home Medical provides to you and our other customers.
  • Cooperating with outside organizations that assess the quality of the service others and Rice Home Medical provide, including government agencies and private organizations.
  • Planning Rice Home Medical’s future operations.
  • Resolving grievances within the Rice Home Medical organization.
  • Working with others (such as lawyers, accountants and other providers) who assist us to comply with this Notice and other applicable laws.

For example:  A customer complained that he did not receive the appropriate service.  Rice Home Medical reviewed the customer’s record to evaluate the service provided to the customer.

Person’s Involved in Your Care

Rice Home Medical may disclose health information about you to a relative, close personal friend or any other person you identify, if that person is involved in your care and the information is relevant to your care.  If the customer is a minor, we may disclose health information about the minor to a parent, guardian or other person responsible for the minor except in limited circumstances.  We may use or disclose health information about you to a relative, another person involved in your care or possibly a disaster relief organization, if we need to notify someone about your location or condition.  You may ask us at any time not to disclose health information about you to persons involved in your care.  We will agree to your request and not disclose the information except in certain limited circumstances (such as emergencies) or if the customer is a minor.  If the customer is a minor, we may or may not be able to agree to your request.

For example:  A customer’s husband regularly comes to Rice Home Medical with the customer and the customer invites the husband to be a part of the education or discussion of service provided, Rice Home Medical has understanding that the customer has consented information be shared.  Or a customer’s daughter has become involved with customers care due to customer being unable to make the decisions alone, we may share information with daughter to continue to provide that service when needed.

Required by Law

Rice Home Medical will use information about you whenever we are required by law to do so.  There are many state and federal laws that require us to use and disclose health information.  For example:  State law requires us to report gunshot wounds and other injuries to the police and to report known or suspected abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Services.  We will comply with those state laws and with all other applicable laws.


How Rice Home Medical may use or disclose your health information without your written authorization

Rice Home Medical may use or disclose health information about you without your permission for the following purposes, subject to all applicable legal requirements and limitations:

Threat to health or Safety

We may use and disclose your health information to appropriate persons to prevent a serious threat to the health or safety of a particular person or the general public.

Public Health Activities

We may use or disclose health information about you for public health activities.  Public health activities require the use of health information for various activities, including, but not limited to, activities related to investigating diseases, reporting child abuse and neglect, monitoring drugs or devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and monitoring work-related illnesses or injuries.  For example: If you have been exposed to a communicable disease we may report it to the State and take other actions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Health Oversight Activities

We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for audits, investigations, inspections, or licensing purposes.  These disclosures may be necessary for certain state and federal agencies to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.

Court Proceedings

We may disclose health information about you to a court or an officer of the court (such as an attorney).  For example, we would disclose health information about you to a court if the judge orders us to do so.

Law Enforcement

We may release health information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process, subject to all applicable legal requirements.  For example, a police officer needs information to find a missing person.

Coroners, Funeral Directors, and Organ Donation

We may disclose protected health information to a coroner or health examiner for identification purposes, determining cause of death or to perform other duties authorized by law.  Protected health information may be used and disclosed for cadaveric organ, eye or tissue donation purposes.

Workers’ Compensation

We may disclose health information, about you in order to comply with workers’ compensation laws.

Research

We may use or disclose health information about you to research organizations if the organization has satisfied certain conditions about protecting the privacy of health information.

Certain government functions

We may use or disclose health information about you for certain government functions, including but not limited to military and veterans activities and national security and intelligence activities.  We may also use or disclose health information about you to a correctional institution in some circumstances.


When Rice Home Medical is required to obtain an authorization to use or disclose your health information

Except as described above in this Notice of Privacy Practices we will not use or disclose your health information without written authorization from you.  For example, uses and disclosures made for the purpose of psychotherapy, marketing and the sale of protected health information require your authorization.  If your provider intends to engage in fundraising, you have the right to opt out of receiving such communications.  If you do authorize us to use or disclose your health information for another purpose, you may revoke your authorization in writing at any time.  If you revoke your authorization, we will no longer be able to use or disclose health information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization, though we will be unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission.

You Have Rights with Respect to Health Information about You

You have several rights with respect to health information about you.  This section of the Notice will briefly mention each of these rights.

Right to copy of notice

You have a right to have a paper copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices at any time.  In addition, a copy of this Notice will always be posted in our store, or on our website.  If you would like to have a copy, ask a Rice Home Medical representative for a copy.

Right to inspect and copy

You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, such as health and billing records, that we use to make decisions about your service for as long as we maintain the protected health information.  You must submit a written request to Rice Home Medical in order to inspect and/or copy your health information.  If we maintain your health records in and Electronic Health Record system, you may obtain an electronic copy of your records.  You may also instruct us in writing to send an electronic copy of your records to a third party. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other associated supplies.  If you are denied access to your health information, you may ask that the denial be reviewed.  If such a review is required by law, we will select a licensed health care professional to review your request and our denial.  The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request, and we will comply with the outcome of the review.

Right to Amend

You have the right to request that Rice Home Medical amend your health information that you believe is incorrect or incomplete.  For example, if you believe the date of a doctor’s visit is incorrect, you may request that the information be corrected.  We are not required to change your health information and if your request is denied, we will provide you with information about our denial and how you can disagree with the denial.  To request an amendment you must make that request in writing, including a reason for the request.

Right to request restrictions  

You have the right to request that Rice Home Medical limit the use and disclosure of health information about you for payment from your insurance company and healthcare operations.  Under federal law, we must agree to your request and comply with your requested restriction(s) if:

  • Except as otherwise required by law, the disclosure is to a health plan for purpose of carrying out payment of healthcare operations (and is not for purpose of carrying out treatment); and,
  • The health information pertains solely to a healthcare item of service for which the healthcare provided involved has been paid out-of-pocket in full.

Once we agree to your request, we must follow your restrictions (except if the information is necessary for emergency treatment).  You may cancel the restrictions at any time.  In addition, we may cancel a restriction at any time as long as we notify you of the cancellation and continue to apply the restriction to information collected before the cancellation.

You also have the right to request that we restrict disclosures of your health information and healthcare treatment(s) to a health plan (insurer) or other party, when the information relates solely to a healthcare or service for which you, or another person on your behalf (other than an insurer) has paid Rice Home Medical in full.  Once you have requested such restriction(s) and your payment in full has been received, we must follow your restriction(s).

Right to Request an Alternative Method of Contact

Rice Home Medical will contact you by telephone (includes voice mail), mail or e-mail regarding your service, and to provide you information.

You have the right to request to be contacted at a different location or by a different method.  For example, you may prefer to have all written information mailed to your work address rather than to your home address.

Rice Home Medical will agree to any reasonable request for alternative methods of contact.  If you would like to request an alternative method of contact you must provide us with a request in writing.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures We Have Made

You have the right to receive an accounting (which means a detailed listing) of disclosures that we have made for the previous six years.  If you would like to receive an accounting, the request must be in writing.

The accounting will not include several types of disclosures, including disclosures for treatment payment or healthcare operations.  If we maintain your health records in an Electronic Health Record system, you may request that include disclosures for treatment, payment or healthcare operations.  The accounting will also not include disclosures made prior to April 14, 2003.

If you request an accounting more than once every twelve months, we may charge you a fee to cover the costs of preparing the accounting.

Right to Notification if a Breach of Your Health Information Occurs

You have the right to be notified in the event of a breach of health information about you.  If a breach occurs, and if information is unsecured (not encrypted), we will notify you promptly with the following information.

  • A brief description of what happened.
  • A description of the health information that was involved.
  • Recommended steps you can take to protect yourself from harm.
  • What steps we are taking in response to the breach, and
  • Contact procedures so you can obtain further information.

Right to Opt-Out of Fundraising Communications

If we conduct fundraising and we use communication like the U.S. Postal Service or electronic email for fundraising, you have the right to opt-out of receiving such communications from us.  Please contact Rice Home Medical to opt-out, if you chose to do so.

We reserve the right to change this notice, and to make the revised or changed notice effective for health information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future.  We will post a summary of the current notice in the office with its effective date in the top right hand corner.


You May File a Complaint About Our Privacy Practices

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, or if you are dissatisfied with our privacy policies or procedures, you may file a written complaint with with us or with the federal government.  Rice Home Medical will not take any action against you or change our service we provide to you in any way if you file a complaint.

To file a written complaint with us, this complain can be given to:
Aaron Olson, Director
1033 19th Avenue SW
Willmar, MN  56201
1.800.637.7795

To file a written complaint with the federal government, please use the following contact information:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, D.C. 20201
1.877.696.6775
Email: OCRComplaint@hhs.gove

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your privacy rights or the information in this notice, please contact Rice Home Medical, 1.800.637.7795.