Notice of Privacy Practices
Ability Montana Knowledge Base
Ability Montana is dedicated to maintaining your privacy. This notice describes how Private Health Information (PHI) about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.
This Privacy Notice tells you about your rights about your health care records. You get a copy to keep for yourself. You can look at this copy anytime to see what use is made of your health care records and who gets to see them. A new government rule requires that Ability Montana give you this Privacy Notice to sign.
Ability Montana’s policy has always been to keep your records safe. Your records are usually kept in a folder of papers with your name on it. Your records can also be stored in a computer. Your records may or may not contain information about what treatments and tests you have had, and what decisions your doctors have made.
A. Federal law (Health Insurance Portability Authorization Act – HIPAA) requires Ability Montana to maintain the privacy of Protected Health Information (PHI) of past and current consumers.
Ability Montana is also required to tell you how it will maintain reasonable safeguards to protect any information about you that Ability Montana creates or receives while providing you with services and identifying benefits to which you are entitled. At Ability Montana your Protected Information includes any records about the services you receive and any files that contain your Personal Health Information (PHI). Such information may be in the form of written or electronic record, and this policy includes the ways in which any such information is stored or electronically transmitted.
B. What information Ability Montana can or must share and with whom it is shared.
Ability Montana may collect, maintain, use, transmit, share and/or disclose PHI to the extent needed to administer Ability Montana programs, services and activities. Ability Montana also releases non-specific information about its consumers to governmental agencies for program planning and statistical research. Ability Montana will limit the use and disclosure of personal information about you.
In addition to providing consumers access to their Consumer Service Record (CSR) at Ability Montana (see #2 under “Your rights about your PHI,” the following are other reasons Ability Montana might share personal information:
- To share your PHI with any person or entity not listed under 3, below, you must sign a “Release of Information” authorizing that Ability Montana share only certain information with certain people or organizations. This Release may be cancelled by you at any time but must be done so in writing.
- To bill and collect payment for services, such as those provided to consumers in Ability Montana’s Self-Directed Personal Assistance Service (SDPAS) program, Ability Montana may use and disclose your PHI to Medicaid to determine if you are eligible for the program and to the Mountain Pacific Quality Health (MPQH) about other eligibility and service delivery criteria.
- Ability Montana follows laws that tell us when to share information, even if you do not sign an authorization form: Ability Montana always reports:
- to the police when required by law and when the courts order us to do so;
- to governmental agencies, such as Medicaid, who review how Ability Montana’s programs are working;
- to Workers’ Compensation for work related injuries;
- to Adult Protective Services for suspected abuse or neglect;
- to the federal government when it is investigating something important to protect our country, the President and other government workers;
- and to any official or agency involved with after-death matters: coroners, funeral directors, or workers involved with averting serious threats to health or safety.
C. Your rights about your PHI
You have the following rights regarding the PHI that Ability Montana maintains about you.
- To request that Ability Montana communicate with you in confidence. You have the right to request that Ability Montana communicate with you about your association with this agency in a specific way or at a certain location. In order to request this type of confidential communication, you must make a written request to Ability Montana’s Privacy Officer specifying the requested method of contact, or the location where you wish to be contacted. Ability Montana will accommodate reasonable requests. You do not need to give a reason for your request.
- To have access to and/or a copy of your health information. You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of PHI in your Consumer Service Record (CSR), excluding any correspondence Ability Montana may have had relating to psychological matters. To inspect or to get copies of your PHI you must submit your request in writing to Ability Montana’s Privacy Officer. Ability Montana may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing, labor and supplies associated with your request. Ability Montana may deny your request to inspect and/or copy in certain limited circumstances; however, you may request a review of that denial by writing to Ability Montana’s CEO. As an alternative, Ability Montana may provide you with a summary or explanation, instead of providing access to your PHI, if you agree. Ability Montana must comply with your request within 30 days of receiving it in writing and may request one 30-day extension if unable to comply within the time limit.
- To request that Ability Montana amend (correct) your health information. You may ask to amend your CSR if you believe it is incorrect or incomplete. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to Ability Montana’s Privacy Officer. You must give a reason that supports your request for amendment. Ability Montana will deny your request if you fail to submit your request and reason in writing. Also, Ability Montana may deny your request if you ask to amend information that is (a) in Ability Montana’s opinion accurate and complete; (b) not part of the PHI kept by or for Ability Montana; (c) not part of the PHI which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; (d) not created by Ability Montana, unless the individual or entity that created the information is not available to amend the information; or (e) located in a file that no longer exists.
- To receive an accounting of certain disclosures Ability Montana has made of your health information. All Ability Montana consumers have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures” which is a list of non-routine disclosures Ability Montana has made of your PHI for non-service or non-operations purposes. All requests for an “accounting of disclosures” must state a time period, which may not be longer than six (6) years from the date of disclosure and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. The first list you request within a 12-month period is free of charge, but Ability Montana may charge you for additional lists within the same 12-month period. Ability Montana will notify you of the costs involved with additional requests, and you may withdraw your request before you incur any costs.
- To complain if you believe your privacy rights have been violated. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with Ability Montana, the Montana Advocacy Program’s “CAP” staff person, (406-449-2344) or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20201 within 180 days of when the problem happened. To file a complaint with Ability Montana, contact Ability Montana’s Privacy Officer. All complaints must be submitted in writing. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.