Meritus Health Notice of Privacy Practices
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and
disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review
Understanding Your Health Records
Your health or medical record is a collection of your personal information
related to your health care. This record may include, but is not limited to:
- Information your doctors, nurses, and other health care providers put in
- Conversations your doctor has about your care or treatment with nurses
- Billing information about you maintained by your provider
- Other health information about you that identifies or can readily be associated
with you and is maintained in your record.
Although your health record is the physical property of the health care
provider, the information belongs to you.
When it comes to your health information, you have certain rights.
This section explains your rights and some of our responsibilities to help you.
Get an electronic or paper copy of your medical record
- You can ask to see or get an electronic or paper copy of your medical record
and other health information we have about you. Ask us how to do this.
- We will provide a copy or a summary of your health information, usually
within 30 days of your request. We may charge a reasonable, cost-based fee.
Ask us to correct your medical record
- You can ask us to correct health information about you that you think is
incorrect or incomplete. Ask us how to do this.
- We may say "no" to your request, but we'll tell you why in
writing within 60 days.
Request confidential communications
- You can ask us to contact you in a specific way (for example, home or office
phone) or to send mail to a different address.
- We will say "yes" to all reasonable requests.
Ask us to limit what we use or share
- You can ask us not to use or share certain health information for treatment,
payment, or our operations. We are not required to agree to your request,
and we may say "no" if it would affect your care.
- If you pay for a service or health care item out-of-pocket in full, you
can ask us not to share that information for the purpose of payment or
our operations with your health insurer. We will say "yes" unless
a law requires us to share that information.
Get a list of those with whom we've shared information
- You can ask for a list (accounting) of the times we've shared your
health information for six years prior to the date you ask, who we shared
it with, and why.
- We will include all the disclosures except for those about treatment, payment,
and health care operations, and certain other disclosures (such as any
you asked us to make). We'll provide one accounting a year for free
but will charge a reasonable, cost-based fee if you ask for another one
within 12 months.
Get a copy of this privacy notice
You can ask for a paper copy of this notice at any time, even if you have
agreed to receive the notice electronically. We will provide you with
a paper copy promptly.
Choose someone to act for you
- If you have given someone medical power of attorney or if someone is your
legal guardian, that person can exercise your rights and make choices
about your health information.
- We will make sure the person has this authority and can act for you before
we take any action.
File a complaint if you feel your rights are violated
- You can complain if you feel we have violated your rights by contacting
us using the information on page 1.
You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office for Civil Rights by sending a letter to 200 Independence Avenue,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201, calling 1-877-696-6775, or visiting
- We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
For certain health information, you can tell us your choices about what we share.
If you have a clear preference for how we share your information in the
situations described below, talk to us. Tell us what you want us to do,
and we will follow your instructions.
In these cases, you have both the right and choice to tell us to:
- Share information with your family, close friends, or others involved in your care
- Share information in a disaster relief situation
- Include your information in a hospital directory. You may choose not to
share your information by informing us at the time of registration or
contacting our Privacy Officer.
If you are not able to tell us your preference, for example if you are
unconscious, we may go ahead and share your information if we believe
it is in your best interest. We may also share your information when needed
to lessen a serious and imminent threat to health or safety.
In these cases we never share your information unless you give us written
- Marketing purposes
- Sale of your information
- Most sharing of psychotherapy notes
In the case of fundraising:
- We may contact you for fundraising efforts, but you can tell us not to
contact you again.
Our Uses and Disclosures
How do we typically use or share your health information?
We typically use or share your health information in the following ways.
We can use your health information and share it with other professionals
who are treating you.
Example: A doctor treating you for an injury asks another doctor about your overall
Run our organization
We can use and share your health information to run our practice, improve
your care, and contact you when necessary.
Example: We use health information about you to manage your treatment and
Bill for your services
We can use and share your health information to bill and get payment from
health plans or other entities.
Example: We give information about you to your health insurance plan so
it will pay for your services.
Health Information Exchange or HIE
We can use and share your health information through the Chesapeake Regional
Information System for Our Patients (CRISP), a secure internet-based,
Maryland-approved exchange. An HIE is a way of sharing health information
with other participating health care providers or entities for treatment,
payment and health care operations purposes.
You may opt-out and prevent your medical information from being searched
through CRISP, or prevent the sharing of your information with your health
plan or health insurance company, by contacting CRISP at 1-877-952-7477,
or by submitting a completed Opt-Out form to CRISP by mail, fax, or their
website at www.crisphealth.org
Example: We may share your health information through CRISP so that your
participating caregivers will have your most recent information available
from your other participating caregivers when taking care of you.
We can use your health information for appointment reminders
Example: We may contact you to remind you of upcoming appointments for
treatment or medical care at one of our facilities.
Treatment Alternatives, Benefits and Services
We can use and share your health information to keep you informed on treatment
alternatives and other benefits we offer.
Example: We may contact you to recommend possible treatment options or
alternatives or to inform you of health-related benefits or services that
may be of interest to you.
We can share your health information with third parties who are providing
services, under contract, for or on behalf of Meritus
Example: We may contract others to assist us in providing certain medical
services, transcription services, or billing services. We may share your
health information with these business associates so they may perform
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody
of a law enforcement official, we may share your health information with
the institution or official as authorized or required by law.
Example: If you are an inmate, for your health and the health and safety
of others, we may share your health information with those responsible
for your care.
How else can we use or share your health information?
We are allowed or required to share your information in other ways –
usually in ways that contribute to the public good, such as public health
and research. We have to meet many conditions in the law before we can
share your information for these purposes. For more information see:
Help with public health and safety issues
We can share health information about you for certain situations such as:
- Preventing disease
- Helping with product recalls
- Reporting adverse reactions to medications
- Reporting suspected abuse, neglect, or domestic violence
- Preventing or reducing a serious threat to anyone's health or safety
We can use or share your information for health research.
Comply with the law
We will share information about you if state or federal laws require it,
including with the Department of Health and Human Services if it wants
to see that we're complying with federal privacy law.
Respond to organ and tissue donation requests
We can share health information about you with organ procurement organizations.
Work with a medical examiner or funeral director
We can share health information with a coroner, medical examiner, or funeral
director when an individual dies.
Address workers' compensation, law enforcement, and other government requests
We can use or share health information about you:
- For workers' compensation claims
- For law enforcement purposes or with a law enforcement official
- With health oversight agencies for activities authorized by law
- For special government functions such as military, national security, and
presidential protective services
Respond to lawsuits and legal actions
We can share health information about you in response to a court or administrative
order, or in response to a subpoena.
Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Sexual Assault, HIV/AIDS
There are special state and federal rules relating to these care areas.
If you have concerns about how information is used and shared relating
to these areas, please contact our Health Information Management department
- We are required by law to maintain the privacy and security of your protected
- We will let you know promptly if a breach occurs that may have compromised
the privacy or security of your information.
- We must follow the duties and privacy practices described in this notice
and give you a copy of it.
- We will not use or share your information other than as described here
unless you tell us we can in writing. If you tell us we can, you may change
your mind at any time. Let us know in writing if you change your mind.
For more information see:
Changes to the Terms of this Notice
We can change the terms of this notice, and the changes will apply to all
information we have about you. The new notice will be available upon request,
in our office, and on our web site.
Effective Date: September 23, 2013
Questions about Your Privacy Rights & Complaints
For questions about your privacy rights, or to report a complaint, you
may contact our Privacy Officer using the information below or you may
call our confidential GUIDEline at 301.790.7950 or toll-free at 888-847-9247.
Lauren Klemm, Associate Compliance Officer & Privacy Officer
Meritus Medical Center
11116 Medical Campus Road
Hagerstown, MD 21742
Scope of Our Privacy Practices
This Notice of Privacy Practices covers all Meritus Health service delivery
sites and its providers practicing at those locations. If you are unsure
whether a delivery site is part of our system, please contact the Privacy Officer.