Privacy Policy

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) is a federal program that requires that all medical records and other individually identifiable health information used or disclosed by us in any form, whether electronically, on paper, or orally, are maintained properly confidential. This Act gives you, the patient, significant new rights to understand and control how your health information is used. HIPAA provides penalties for covered entities that misuse personal health information.

As required by HIPAA, we have prepared this explanation of how we are required to maintain the privacy of your health information and how we may disclose your health information.

TREATMENT, PAYMENT AND HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS

We may use or disclose your health information only for the following reasons:

Treatment

Examples of how we use or disclose information for treatment purposes are:

  • Scheduling an appointment for you;
  • Communicating results of a physical examination to a referred specialist;
  • Prescribing medications, glasses, or contact lenses and faxing them to be filled; or
  • Obtaining copies of your health information from another physician that has treated you.
Payment

Examples of how we use or disclose information for payment purposes are:

  • Asking you about your health or vision insurance plans or other sources of payment;
  • Preparing or sending bills or claims; and
  • Collecting unpaid amounts by ourselves or through a collection agency or attorney.

PLEASE NOTE: If a patient elects to pay “out of pocket” for a procedure, service, or visit, and request that the practice does NOT disclose this information to a health plan, then VisionFirst must accommodate this request unless required by law to disclose the information.

Health care operations

“Heath care operations” mean those administrative and managerial functions that we have to do in order to run our office. Examples of how we use or disclose your health information for health care operations are:

  • Financial or billing audits;
  • Defense of legal matters;
  • Business planning;
  • Participation in managed care plans; and
  • Outside storage of our medical records.

VisionFirst Eye Center uses electronic medical records, so in most cases your medical information will be transmitted electronically in order to better facilitate treatment and/or payment.

USES AND DISCLOSURES FOR OTHER REASONS WITHOUT PERMISSION

Any other uses and disclosures of your health information will be made only with your written authorization, unless otherwise permitted or required by law. Disclosures of health information without your written authorization permitted or required by law include:

Public Health Authority

Examples include: We may disclose medical information about you for the purpose of controlling diseases, injury, or disability; to report births and deaths; to report child abuse or neglect; to report reactions to medications or problems with products; to notify people of recalls of products they may be using; and to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence.

Health Oversight Agency

Examples include: We may release medical information about you for government authorized audits, investigations, and inspections.

Disaster Relief Organizations

Examples include: We may release information about you to relief organizations to coordinate care and/or locate family members in the event of a disaster.

Legal Proceedings

Examples include: If you are involved in a lawsuit, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful purpose by someone else involved in the dispute.

Law Enforcement

Examples include: We may release medical information to a law enforcement official in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, or summons; to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; about the victim of a crime; about a death that may be the result of criminal conduct; about criminal conduct at the practice, and in emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description, or location of the person who committed the crime.

Coroners, Funeral Directors, and Organ Donation as authorized by law

Examples include:

  1. We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. For example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death.
  2. We may also release medical information about patients to funeral directors as necessary to carry out
    their duties.
  3. If you are an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ
    procurement or organ, eye, or tissue transplantation, or to an organ donation bank.
Research approved by an institutional review board

Examples include comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received on medication to those who received another, for the same condition and research for incurable disease.

Fundraising efforts

Examples include: If and when applicable, the patient would be contacted prior to sharing any PHI. All patients have the right to “opt out” of receiving any fundraising communications.

Military Activity and National Security

Examples include:

  1. If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by
    military command authorities.
  2. We may release medical information about you to authorize federal officials for intelligence,
    counterintelligence, and other national security activities by law.
Workers’ Compensation

Examples include: We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation programs, which provide benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses.

Inmates

Examples include: If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official.

You may revoke the authorization, at any time, in writing, except to the extent that we have already taken actions relying on your authorization. Unless you object, we will also share relevant information about your care with your family or friends who are helping you with your care.

APPOINTMENT REMINDERS

We may call, write, email or text to remind you of scheduled appointments, or that it is time to make a routine appointment. We may also call, write, email or text to notify you of other treatments, services, or products available at our office that might help you.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION

You have the following rights with respect to your health information, which you can exercise by presenting a written request to the Privacy Officer:

  • The right to request restrictions on uses and disclosures of heath information for purposes of treatment, payment,  or health care operations. We do not have to do this, but if we agree, we must honor the restrictions that you
    have requested.
  • The right to reasonable requests to receive confidential communications of health information from us by
    alternative means or alternative locations.
  • The right to inspect and copy your health information.
  • The right to amend your protected information.
  • The right to receive an accounting of disclosures of health information.
  • The right to obtain a paper copy of this notice upon request.
  • The right to a summary or explanation of uses of your PHI that are not described in the NPP, made available solely upon receipt of written authorization.
  • The right to an electronic copy of health care records.
  • The right to be notified if a breach of confidentiality occurs that involves your PHI. The extent of information
    regarding the breach will vary depending on the nature and extent of the breach.
ACCESS TO YOUR HEALTH CARE INFORMATION

Patients may request a copy of their health information. It is the policy of VisionFirst Eye Center that all patients complete a “release of medical information” for our records in order to obtain a copy of their health information.

MARKETING

Marketing is defined as ” a communication about a product or service that encourages recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service.” If communications meet this definition, then communication will only occur with the patient’s written authorization. VisionFirst Eye Center will not sell PHI to a business associate or any third party for that party’s own purpose.

OUR NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

This notice is effective as of August 1, 2013. By law, we must abide by the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices until we choose to change it. We reserve the right to change this notice at any time as allowed by law. If we change this Notice, the new privacy practices will apply to your health information that we already have as well as to such information that we may generate in the future. If we change our Notice of Privacy Practices, we will post the new notice in our office, have copies available in our office, and post it on our Web site.

COMPLAINTS

If you think we have not properly respected the privacy of your health information, you are free to complain to us by reporting to our Privacy Officer or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights. We will not retaliate against you if you make a complaint. If you want to complain to us, send a written complaint, “Attention: Privacy Officer” at the address at the beginning of this Notice. If you prefer, you can discuss your complaint in person or by phone.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For further information about the complaint process, you may contact our Privacy Officer at

VisionFirst Eye Center
3240 Edwards Lake Pkwy. Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35235
205.949.2020

For more information about HIPAA or to file a complaint

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Civil Rights
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
202.619.0257 Toll Free: 1.877.696.6775


INFORMATION

Our eye care practice gathers personal information data from this website including, but not limited to, the following:

  • email address
  • telephone number(s)
  • mailing address

We gather this information data for contact purposes only. We will not sell your information to anyone.

DATA USES

We respect your privacy to the highest of ethical and moral standards. Under no circumstances whatsoever will we ever publish, give, trade, or sell the personal information data we gather from you on this website to any other outside party, unless authorized to do so by you.

USER CHOICES

If you feel uncomfortable, for any reason, about providing your personal information through any one of the contact forms on this website, please use our telephone number listed above for expedited service.

OPT-OUT POLICY

If, at any time, you change your mind about receiving information from us, please contact us with your new choice.

ADVERTISING

We leverage cookie-based technology to group users into re-marketing audiences who have expressed an interest in our procedures by accessing key pages throughout our website. We do not collect any personally identifying information with this cookie. Audience members may be shown text and/or image ads on any Google or 3rd party Internet sites for a limited period of time.

THIRD PARTIES ON OUR WEBSITE AND OUR ADVERTISER’S WEBSITES

In order to allow AdRoll and our Advertisers to reach the best inventory online, we work with third party advertising companies (our “Advertising Partners”) to help us recognize you and serve relevant advertisements to you when you visit a website or online service in their network. We also work with Advertising Partners who help us recognize you across different devices in order to show you relevant advertisements. Our Advertising Partners may collect information about your activities on our website, our Advertisers’ websites, and other websites or online services in their networks. We also work with third party companies to assist us with website analytics such as evaluating the use and operation of our website so that we can continue to enhance the website and our services.

TECHNOLOGIES WE AND OUR THIRD PARTY ADVERTISING PARTNERS USE

AdRoll uses technologies such as cookies and pixels to keep track of your activities on our website and our Advertiser’s websites, and to serve you more relevant advertisements. A cookie is a small text file that is stored on your device for record-keeping purposes. Session cookies expire when you close your browser. Persistent cookies remain on your device for an extended period of time. We and our third party partners use session cookies and persistent cookies to make it easier for you to navigate and enhance the experience of our site, and to monitor and evaluate our website’s operation and use.

We use persistent cookies to keep track of your activities when you visit our website or our Advertisers’ websites, and to serve you relevant advertisements. Our Advertising Partners also place persistent cookies on your device when you visit our website or our Advertisers’ websites in order to help us recognize you and serve relevant advertisements to you when you visit their website or online service or websites in their networks. AdRoll’s policy is that our Advertising Partners only collect information that does not personally or directly identify you via these cookies and we will cease working with partners found violating this policy. You can remove cookies by following directions provided in your Internet browser’s “help” file. You may also decline our cookies if your browser permits, but doing so may interfere with your use of our website.

YOUR CHOICES REGARDING RELEVANT ADVERTISEMENTS

We believe in giving you control over which ads you see. You may opt out of having your data collected from this browser on this device for the purpose of receiving targeted or retargeted ads from AdRoll (whether served by us or on our behalf). You may also opt out of receiving relevant ads from some of our Advertising Partners. If you delete your cookies you will need to opt out again. Further, if you use multiple browsers or devices, you will need to execute this opt out on each browser or device.

Click here to adjust your advertising preferences.

AdRoll is a member in good standing of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI). If you prefer, you may use the NAI opt out tool. We also comply with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising as managed by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). You may opt out via the DAA website at http://www.aboutads.info/choices/. We also adhere to the European Interactive Advertising Digital Alliance (EDAA). You may opt out via the Your Online Choices website. Where required by applicable law, we obtain individuals’ consent for storing and receiving information collected via technologies such as cookies and pixels to keep track of your activities on our website and our Advertiser’s websites, and to serve you more relevant advertisements.

The benefits of interest based advertising:

  • Save Money: Relevant ads can offer you deals and discounts that will interest you and save you money.
  • Free Your Inbox: Brands can market to you without clogging your email inbox with messages.
  • Keep Content Free: Free online content is made possible by effective online advertising, like targeting and retargeting.

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this site, you can contact us and we will gladly assist you.

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