I. Our Commitment To You
Panhandle Orthopaedics is committed to maintaining the privacy of your health information. During your treatment with us, physicians, nurses, and other personnel may collect information about your health history and your current health status. This Notice explains how that information, called "Protected Health Information" may be used and disclosed to others. The terms of this Notice apply to health information produced or obtained by Panhandle Orthopaedics.

The U.S. HIPAA Privacy Law requires us to provide this Notice to you regarding our privacy practices, our legal duties to protect your private information and your rights in regard to health information about you. We are required to follow the privacy practices described in this Notice whenever we use or disclose your protected health information. Other companies or persons that perform services on our behalf (called Business Associates) must also protect the privacy of your information. Business Associates are not allowed to release it to anyone else unless specifically permitted by law. There may be other state and federal laws that we will follow that provide additional protections related to communicable disease, mental health, substance or alcohol abuse, or other health conditions.

III. Your Health Information May Be Used And Disclosed
Panhandle Orthopaedics is permitted by HIPAA Privacy Law to make uses and disclosures of your health information for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations.

  • Treatment: We will use and may share health information about you for your health care and treatments. For example, a nurse or medical assistant will obtain treatment information about you and record it in a medical record. Alternatively, one of our physicians may use information about you for a consultation with or a referral to another physician to diagnose your illness and determine which treatment option, such as surgery or medication, will best address your health needs.

  • Payment: We may use and disclose health information about you to obtain payment for the care and services that we have provided to you. For example, we may need to provide your health plan provider with information about you, your diagnosis, and the treatment provided to you at PanhandleOrthopaedics so that your health insurer will pay us or reimburse you for the treatment. We may also contact your health insurance provider to obtain prior approval about a potential treatment.

  • Health Care Operations: We may use and share health information about you for Panhandle Orthoapedics' health care operations, which include planning, management, quality assessment, and improvement activities for the treatments that we deliver. For example, we may use your health information to evaluate the skills of our physicians, nurses, and other health care providers in caring for you. We also may use your information to review quality and health outcomes.

  • Appointment Reminders: We may use your health information to contact you by phone to confirm an appointment, or to change one, or to send you reminders of a future appointment. For example, we may let you know that it is time for a follow-up appointment or a regular check-up.

  • People Assisting in Your Care: In certain limited situations, and after your approval, Panhandle Orthopaedics may disclose essential health information to people such as family members, relatives, or close friends who are helping care for you or helping you pay your health care bills. We will disclose information to them only if these people need to know the information to help you. For example, we may provide limited information to a family member so that they may pick up a prescription for you. Generally, we will ask you prior to making disclosures if you agree to such disclosures. If you are unable to make health-related decisions or it is an emergency, Panhandle Orthopaedics will determine if it would be in your best interest to disclose pertinent health information about you to the people assisting in your care, if you have approved of that disclosure.

  • As Required by Law: We must disclose health information about you if we are required by federal,state, or local law.

  • Serious Threat to Health or Safety: We may use and disclose your health information when necessary to avert a serious threat to your health and safety, or the health and safety of the public or another person. We will only disclose your information to someone reasonably able to help prevent the threat, such as law enforcement, and when the disclosure is specifically required by law, including the limited circumstances in which Panhandle Orthopaedics' health care professionals have a "duty to warn."