This notice applies to all affiliate member organizations described at the end of this notice.
This notice describes how medical information about you will be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review this notice carefully.
Tufts Medicine, and all affiliates, including Lowell General Hospital, MelroseWakefield Healthcare, Tufts Medical Center, and all the companies of Home Health Foundation Inc. (Collectively referred to as “Tufts Medicine”) understand that your medical information is personal. Tufts Medicine is committed to protecting your privacy.
Tufts Medicine is required by law to protect the privacy of health information that may reveal your identity, and to provide you with a copy of this notice, which describes the health information privacy practices of our hospital and our affiliated health care providers. This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose health information about you, your family member or your child. We also describe your rights and our duties regarding the use and disclosure
of health information.
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION
Tufts Medicine has the right to use and disclose health information for your treatment, to pay for your health care and to operate our business. Not every use or disclosure in each category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
For Treatment: We may use or disclose health information to aid in your treatment or the coordination of your care. For example, we may disclose information to your doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other health care personnel who care for you at a Tufts Medicine hospital, other Tufts Medicine provider, or outside of a hospital/provider. We may disclose medical information about you to providers at our Affiliates who care for you at the Affiliate facility or office location. A list of our Affiliates can be found at the end of this notice. We may also disclose medical information about you to people (family members, friends, clergy, home health or other support agencies) involved in maintaining your health or well-being to ensure that everyone caring for you has the information they need.
For Payment: We may use and disclose your health information for purposes of billing for treatment and services you received and collecting payment from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, we may tell your health insurer about a treatment you are going to receive in order to get prior approval or to verify if your plan will cover the treatment. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care.
For Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose your health information for health care operations. Health care operations are activities that are necessary to run the agency, hospital, physician offices, or other provider. For example, we may use and disclose your information for assessing the quality of care and outcomes in your cases and similar cases, evaluate the performance of our staff, identify risk, ensure completeness and accuracy of medical records, teach health professionals and perform continuous improvement to our agencies/facilities and services. Some of the information is shared with outside parties who perform these health care operations or other services on behalf of Tufts Medicine. We refer to these parties as “business associates” and they must also take steps to keep your health information private. Also, if the ownership of Tufts Medicine or any affiliates changes as a result of business mergers and acquisitions, your medical information may be disclosed to the new entity.
Tufts Medicine may use and disclose health information to contact you:
Other Examples of Health Care Operations
USES AND DISCLOSURES OF YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION THAT REQUIRE YOUR WRITTEN PERMISSION (AUTHORIZATION)
Using or disclosing your health information for purposes other than treatment, payment and operations requires your specific approval called “authorization.” For example, unless you give your authorization, Tufts Medicine may not sell your health information or disclose such information in exchange for payment to a third party for purposes of marketing their products or services to you. In addition, certain information in your medical record is considered by state and/or federal law to be highly confidential. For example, HIV testing or test results, certain clinical psychotherapy documentation, and certain genetic information receives additional protection from disclosures, and at times, requires your authorization before further disclosure to third parties for treatment, payment or health care operations.
Health Information Exchanges: We may participate in Health Information Exchanges (HIE) which enables the electronic movement of health related information among diverse organizations such as physicians’ offices, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, skilled nursing facilities, and insurance companies. Patient participation is intended to enhance coordination of care among multiple providers and may avoid the need for you to undergo duplicate tests. The information provided to an HIE includes both your medical and demographic information. Participation is optional and in some instances we may be required to obtain your written authorization prior to disclosing any of your health information to an HIE.
You may opt out of participation in an HIE at any time in writing, except to the extent that the providers have already acted upon your previously provided authorization.
YOUR RIGHTS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION AND HOW TO EXERCISE THEM
Although your health record is the physical property of the healthcare practitioner or facility that compiled it, you have the right to:
Request Limits on the Use and Sharing of Your Health Information. You have the right to ask for certain restrictions on the use and sharing of your health information for treatment, payment or health care operations. You can also ask for certain restrictions on using this information to notify you about appointments or other services. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing and it must include details of exactly what information you want to limit; whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and what information is affected by the limits
Tufts Medicine is not required to agree to your request unless the following conditions are met: If you pay for a health care product or service in full
(out-of-pocket), you may request that we not share health information pertaining only to the product or service with your health insurance plan for purposes of carrying out payment or health care operations (and is not for purposes of carrying out treatment).
If we agree to your request, we must put the restriction in writing to you and abide by it except if you need to be treated in an emergency. You may not ask us to restrict uses and sharing of health information that we are legally required to make.
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 may request that we contact you only at work or by mail. To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to the entity Privacy Officer listed at the end of this notice. We will not ask you the reason for the request and we will agree to the request to the extent that it is reasonable for us to do. Your request must tell us how and where you wish to be contracted.
Inspect and Obtain a Copy. You have the right to look at and get a paper or electronic copy of your health information and/or bills. You may also request your test results directly from the lab(s) where your tests were done. To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the entity Privacy Officer (see contact information at the end of the notice.) If you request copies of your information, there may be a charge applied for the costs associated with your request. If your request is for an electronic copy of your records, we will work with you to provide you with a format of your choice, if it is readily available. We will respond to your requests within thirty (30) days from receipt of your request. If necessary, we may ask for an extension of thirty (30) days by providing a written notification to you with the reason for the delay and expected date to fulfill your request. If your request is denied, we will explain the reason for the denial in writing and explain any additional right for appeal.
Change or Amend your Health Information. You have the right to ask us to change your health information related to your treatment and bills if you think that there has been a mistake or that there is information missing. You must make your request in writing to the entity Privacy Officer listed at the end of this notice and give the reason for why you want the change. We have 60 days to respond to your request. If we deny your requests, we must give you a written statement with the reasons for the denial and explain any additional rights for appeal. If we grant your request, we will ask you to tell us the persons you want to receive the changes. You must agree to have us notify them along with any others who received the information before corrections were made, and who may have relied on the incorrect information to give you treatment.
Receive an Accounting of Disclosures (Record of when your health information was shared without your written authorization). You have the right to get a record of the times that your health information has been shared outside the sharing for the purposes of treatment, payment, and operations or disclosures you previously authorized. You must make this request in writing to the entity Privacy Officer listed at the end of the notice. You may request this listing as far back as six (6) years. We have sixty (60) days to respond to your request. Your first request for an accounting of disclosures in any 12-month period is free. For additional lists, we may charge you the cost 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.
Choose Someone to Act for You. You have the right to choose a person to act on your behalf. If you have given someone medical power of attorney or if someone is your legal guardian or designated representative, that person can exercise your rights and make choices about your health information. We will ensure the person has the authority and can act for you before we honor any requests.
Ask for a Printed Copy of the Notice. You have the right to receive a paper copy of this Notice from the contacts listed at the end of this Notice. You can ask for a paper copy even if you agreed to receive the Notice by email.
TUFTS MEDICINE DUTIES WITH RESPECT TO YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION
Tufts Medicine is required by law to keep your health information private. Tufts Medicine will notify you in the event of a breach or your health information. We are required to give people notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your health information. Tufts Medicine must abide by the terms of the Notice currently in effect. Tufts Medicine reserves the right to make the new Notice provisions effective for all protected health information that it maintains. If we do update the Notice, the new Notice will be posted on all Tufts Medicine entity websites and in all registration areas for public viewing.
Records Management. Tufts Medicine is required to comply with state law and maintain your medical records in accordance with applicable state and federal regulations. A copy of the Medical Record Retention Policy can be requested at the contact numbers below.
HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT (WHEN YOU BELIEVE YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED)
If you think that Tufts Medicine may have violated your privacy rights or you disagree with any action we have taken with regard to your health information, we want you and/or your representative to speak with us. If you present a complaint, your care will not be affected in any way.
You may file a complaint by contacting the Tufts Medicine Compliance department through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also send a written complaint to:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
J.F.K. Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203
Tufts Medicine will take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about our privacy practices.
TUFTS MEDICINE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS
This Notice applies all Tufts Medicine organizations including, but not limited to, the following organizations*:
Tufts Medicine Member Organizations
Effective date: March 1, 2022
MelroseWakefield Healthcare Corporation
Chief Privacy Officer
585 Lebanon Street
Melrose, MA 02176
Phone: (781) 979-3477
Fax: (781) 338-7696
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
J.F.K. Federal Building – Room 1875
Boston, MA 02203
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