HIPAA Notice of Privacy

Effective Date: April 14, 2003
Revised: December 10, 2009

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.

A federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, requires us to give you this Notice of Privacy Practices. This Notice applies to health information about you called protected health information or PHI.

Anoka County provides many services. For some services, such as case management, Anoka County acts as a health care provider. The Anoka County Health Care Components [ACHCC] must protect the privacy of PHI.

This Notice describes uses and disclosures we may make and gives some examples. We will make reasonable efforts to limit PHI use and disclosure to the minimum necessary. This Notice also describes your rights to see PHI and other rights you have.

Anoka County may have information about you that is not PHI. This Notice only applies to PHI.

WHAT IS PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION (PHI)?

PHI is health information about you that can be used to identify you. This information relates to your past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition, related health care services, and payment. We must:
  1. Make sure we keep PHI private.
  2. Give you the Notice about our legal duties and privacy practices concerning PHI.
  3. Follow the terms of the current Notice.
  4. Make changes in the Notice available to you.
CURRENT NOTICE

We reserve the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of our Notice at any time. Any change is effective for PHI we have as well as future PHI.

We will post the current Notice. You can get a current copy by asking for one. You also can see a current copy of our Notice on the Anoka County website at www.anokacounty.us.

WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE

This Notice describes PHI privacy practices for the Anoka County Health Care Components or ACHCC. The Anoka County Health Care Components include the following:
  1. Community Corrections Department: Juvenile Probation Supervision Services.
  2. Community Health and Environmental Services Department: Family Home Visiting; Maternal/Child Health; Refugee/Immigrant Health, including TB program; and Home and Community Based programs, including Non-waiver funded programs.
  3. Community Social Services and Mental Health Department: Developmental Disabilities; Adult Mental Health; TBI Waiver; CAC/CADI Waiver; Alternative Care and Elderly Waiver; Long-Term Care Screening; Ongoing Child Protection; Children’s Mental Health; TEFRA; and Teen Parents.
  4. Related Services provided to health care components by other county departments, Such as accounting, audit, risk management, and legal services

HOW ACHCC MAY USE OR DISCLOSE PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION

Required Disclosures
By law, we must disclose PHI to you upon request. We also must disclose PHI to the Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for investigations or to determine compliance with laws protecting PHI.

Permitted Uses and Disclosures
Treatment We will use and disclose PHI when we are giving you services. This may include coordinating or managing your care with a third party. For example, we may disclose PHI to an Anoka County contractor who provides care to you. When allowed by Minnesota law, we may disclose PHI to another health care provider, such as a laboratory helping with your treatment, who is involved in your care. In emergencies, we will use and disclose PHI to provide treatment you require.
Payment We will use and disclose PHI to get paid for services. This includes finding out if you have medical assistance coverage. For example, Anoka County may disclose PHI to Minnesota Department of Human Services to get paid for services we provide you.
Health Care Operations We may use or disclose PHI to support activities in order to manage our programs. These activities may include:
  1. Quality assessment.
  2. Investigating and training employees.
  3. Employee performance reviews.
  4. Licensing or accreditation.
  5. Letting you know about a product or service.
  6. Other health care related activities.
For example, we may disclose PHI to a nursing student seeing an Anoka County client. We may share PHI with business associates (for example, an interpreter). We require business associates by agreement to protect PHI.

We may call you by name in the waiting area when your county staff person is ready to see you. We may use PHI to contact you to remind you about your appointment.

We may use PHI to tell you about treatment alternatives that might interest you. For example, we may use your name and address to send you a newsletter about Anoka County and the services we offer. We also may send other information we believe might help you.

Required by Law We may use or disclose PHI when a federal or state law or regulation requires.
Public Health We may disclose PHI to a public health authority as permitted by law. For example, we may disclose PHI to:
  1. Assist in preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
  2. Report child abuse or neglect.
  3. Report reactions to medications or problems with products.
  4. Notify a person who may be exposed or at risk to contract or spread a disease.
  5. Notify appropriate government authority if we believe someone is the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.
Health Oversight We may disclose PHI to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law, such as audits, investigations, and inspections. Health oversight agencies include government agencies that oversee the health care system, benefit programs, and other regulatory programs, such as civil rights laws.

Legal Proceedings We may disclose PHI during a judicial or administrative proceeding, in response to a court order or administrative tribunal (if such a disclosure is expressly authorized), and in certain conditions in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process. For example, a court order or law may require sharing PHI with the court and attorneys for a juvenile court proceeding.

Law Enforcement We may disclose PHI for law enforcement purposes when allowed by Minnesota law, including the following:
  1. Responses to legal proceedings.
  2. Circumstances pertaining to victims or to crimes occurring at Anoka County site.
  3. Medical emergencies.
Coroners We may disclose PHI to coroners or medical examiners: to identify the individual, to determine cause of death, or to perform other duties authorized by law.

Research We may disclose PHI to researchers when authorized by law. For example, if an institutional review board reviewed the research proposal, set privacy protocols, and approved the research. Under Minnesota law, a researcher also signs a nondisclosure agreement.

Criminal Activity We may disclose PHI when we believe necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a person or the public. When allowed by Minnesota law, we may disclose PHI needed for law enforcement to identify or apprehend an individual.

Specialized Government Functions, including National Security We may disclose PHI to Federal officials conducting national security and intelligence activities. This includes protective services to the President or others. We may disclose PHI for military and veterans’ activities if you are or were in the armed forces. We may disclose PHI for medical suitability decisions of the U.S. Department of State.

Inmates In some situations, we may disclose PHI about you to a correctional institution having lawful custody of you:
  1. For the institution to give you health care.
  2. For the health and safety of you or others.
  3. For the safety and security of the institution.
Parental Access Minnesota law requires us to disclose PHI to parents, guardians, and persons acting in a similar legal status in most situations. We will act consistent with Minnesota law.

Personal Representatives A personal representative is a legal guardian appointed by the court or someone you choose as power of attorney to act on your behalf. Anoka County will ask for written proof that a person qualifies before allowing them to see PHI.

USES AND DISCLOSURES TO WHICH YOU MAY OBJECT

Individuals Involved in Your Health Care – When allowed by Minnesota law
We may disclose PHI to a family member or other person you identify as directly involved in your health care. For example, you may wish to have someone in the room with you.

We may disclose PHI to notify a family member, personal representative, or any other person who is responsible for your care, about your location, general condition, or death. We may disclose PHI to assist in disaster relief efforts and coordinate disclosures to family or other individuals involved in your health care.

OTHER SITUATIONS REQUIRE YOUR AUTHORIZATION

Anoka County will ask you to give us written authorization before using or disclosing PHI for other situations. This is informed consent under Minnesota law. For example, if your county staff person talks about a program and wants to send PHI to make a referral, we will ask for your consent. You may revoke your consent in writing at any time for any future disclosure.

You may give any one you wish consent to see and have copies of your PHI. You must do this in writing.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION

You can exercise your rights by sending a written request to the Anoka County Privacy Official at Anoka County Government Center – 5th Floor Administration, 2100 Third Avenue, Anoka, MN 55303 or at hipaamail@co.anoka.mn.us.

Right to Inspect and Copy You may see and get a copy of your PHI as long as we have the PHI. This does not include investigative data for a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding or PHI subject to a law that prohibits access. You may have to pay for copies.

Right to Request Restrictions You may ask us to restrict uses or disclosures of any part of PHI for treatment, payment, or health care operations or for others involved in your care. In your request, you must tell us:
  1. What information you want restricted;
  2. Whether you want to restrict our use, disclosure, or both;
  3. To whom you want the restriction to apply; and
  4. An expiration date for the restriction.
If we do not think it is in your best interest or cannot conform to the request, we do not have to agree. If we agree, we will only use or disclose PHI as restricted, except to provide emergency treatment. You may revoke a restriction at any time, in writing.

Right to Request Confidential Communications You may ask us to contact you using different means or location. You must make the request in writing. You must specify an alternative address or other method of contact. We will not ask you why.

For example, you can ask us to send mail to a Post Office box or work address instead of home address. We will accommodate reasonable requests.

Right to Request Amendment If you think PHI is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend PHI. We do not have to amend PHI that we think is correct. You also can challenge data accuracy and completeness under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures You may ask in writing for an accounting of PHI disclosures we have made. This does not apply to disclosures: made for, or incidental to, treatment, payment, or health care operations; or made to you, to people involved in your care, or to others with your consent. Accounting only applies to disclosures after April 14, 2003, and no more than 6 years before the request date.

Right to Obtain a Copy of this Notice You may get a paper copy of the current Notice from the Anoka County employee who is working with you.

You may view it electronically at the Anoka County website www.anokacounty.us.

PRIVACY LAWS

We provide this Notice as required under federal law. Several other privacy laws also may apply, such as the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. We considered these laws in developing our privacy practices and this Notice. We also give you a notice about data practices when required to do so by Minnesota law.

COMPLAINTS

If you think we violated your privacy rights, you may file a written complaint with the Anoka County Privacy Official or with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Anoka County will not take action against you for filing a complaint or for exercising any other right.

To file a complaint with the Anoka County Privacy Official, you must send the complaint in writing to the Anoka County Privacy Official, Anoka County Government Center – 5th Floor Administration, 2100 Third Avenue, Anoka, MN 55303.

OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION

You may contact the Anoka County Privacy Official with questions by phone at 763-422-7193. You also may email questions to hipaamail@co.anoka.mn.us.