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.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact our Privacy Officer at the address below.
Who Will Follow This Notice
This notice describes Golden Valley Health Center’s practices regarding the use of your medical information and that of:
- Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your health center chart or medical record.
- All departments and clinic locations you may visit.
- All employees, staff, volunteers, and other personnel who may need access to your information.
- Clinic locations that may share medical information with each other for treatment, payment or health care purposes described in this notice.
Our Pledge Regarding Medical Information
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. Protecting medical information about you is important. We create a record of the care and services you receive. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements. This notice applies to all of the records of your care generated by Golden Valley Health Centers, whether made by health care professionals or other personnel.
This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. We also describe your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information.
We are required by law to:
- keep medical information that identifies you private;
- give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and
- follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information about You
The following categories describe different ways that we may use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the following categories:
We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, training doctors, or other health care professionals who are involved in taking care of you. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different health care professionals also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different care you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the health center who may be involved in your medical care after you leave the health center or that provide services that are part of your care.
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, your insurance may need to know about services you received so they will pay us or reimburse you for the service. We may also use and disclose medical information about you to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your insurance will cover the treatment.
For Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose medical information about you for health care operations. This is necessary to make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, training doctors, and other health center personnel for review and learning purposes. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.
Health Information Exchanges
In order to facilitate the coordination of your care and disclosure of your medical information with other health care providers or health care entities involved in your care, we participate in Health Information Exchanges (HIEs). By having timely access to a more complete, up-to-date, and accurate electronic health record, your care providers can make more informed decisions about your care. We may electronically share your medical information for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations purposes with other participants in the HIEs in accordance with applicable law.
You may choose to opt-out of HIEs by contacting our Privacy Officer at the address below.
Appointment & Healthcare Reminders
We may contact you through telephone, text message, or email to remind you that you have an upcoming appointment or to remind you of healthcare related matters.
We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Health-Related Benefits and Services
We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care
We may release medical information about you to a friend, family member, or personal representative who is involved in your medical care or helps pay for your care. We may also tell your family or friends your general condition and that you are in the health center. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes, subject to the confidentiality provisions of federal and state law. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients’ need for privacy of their medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process. We may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs, so long as the medical information they review does not leave the health center.
As Required by Law
We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health and Safety
We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.
We may use your contact information to communicate with you about fundraising activities for Golden Valley Health Center. You have the right to opt out of receiving fundraising communications. If we do contact you about fundraising, we will provide opt-out instructions in the communication.
Marketing and Sale
Most uses and disclosures of medical information for marketing purposes, and disclosures that constitute a sale of medical information, are limited and require your authorization.
Military and Veterans
If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities.
We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks
We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:
- to prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
- to report births and deaths;
- to report child abuse or neglect;
- to report reactions to medications or problems with products;
- to notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
- to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
- to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
Lawsuits and Disputes
We may disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful order from a court.
We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official as part of law enforcement activities; in investigations of criminal conduct or of victims of crime; in response to court orders; in emergency circumstances; or when required to do so by law.
Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors
We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the health center to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
Protective Services for the President, National Security, and Intelligence Activities
We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations, or for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
Special Categories of Information
In some circumstances, your health information may be subject to restrictions that may limit or preclude some uses or disclosures described in this notice. For example, there are special restrictions on the use or disclosure of certain categories of information – e.g., tests for HIV or treatment for mental health conditions or alcohol and drug abuse. Government health benefit programs, such as Medi-Cal, may also limit the disclosure of beneficiary information for purposes unrelated to the program.
Your Rights Regarding Medical Information About You
You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:
Rights to Inspect and Copy
You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes.
To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to our Privacy Officer at the address below. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a reasonable fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.
We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by Golden Valley Health Centers will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
Right to Amend
If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept.
To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to our Privacy Officer at the address below. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request.
We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
- Was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment;
- Is not part of the medical information kept by Golden Valley Health Centers;
- Is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
- Is accurate and complete.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures
You have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures.” This is a list of the disclosures we made of your medical information in the six years prior to your request.
To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to our Privacy Officer at the address below. Your request must state a time period that may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper, electronically). The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free. For additional lists, 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.
Right to Request Restrictions
You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend.
We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment or for certain disclosures permitted or required by law.
To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to our Privacy Officer at the address below. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply.
Right to Request Confidential Communications
You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail.
To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to our Privacy Officer at the address below. We will not ask you the reason for your request, but your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.. We will accommodate all reasonable requests.
Right to a Paper Copy of this Notice
You have the right to a paper copy of this notice at any time., even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically.
To obtain a paper copy of this notice, please request one in writing from our Privacy Officer at the address below.
Right to be Notified of a Breach
You have the right to be notified of a breach of your medical information. If a breach occurs, we will notify you in accordance with state and federal breach notification laws.
Changes To This Notice
We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you, as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice on our website and in our health centers. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right-hand corner, the effective date.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with Golden Valley Health Centers or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with Golden Valley Health Centers, contact our Privacy Officer at the address and phone number below. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
Other Uses of Medical Information
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, thereafter we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.
Golden Valley Health Centers
2926 G Street, Ste 201
Merced, CA 95340
Effective Date: April, 2003
Revised: April, 2020