As federally funded Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, NorCal’s LEAD-K Family Services program complies with the following federal laws.
· Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
· Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, Title XIII of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HITECH)
HIPAA and HITECH are federal laws designed to protect Personal Health Information (PHI). PHI is defined as individually identifiable health information, transmitted, or maintained in any form or medium held by covered entities or their business associates. Specifically, PHI is information about a health condition or treatment in connection with the identity of the person such as a name, date of birth, address, or social security number. Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) is individually identifiable health information that is created, maintained, or transmitted electronically.
As a state EHDI program, one of the functions of LEAD-K Family Services is to receive referrals from audiologists of infants identified Deaf or hard of hearing and make referrals to IDEA Part C programs (Early Start) as operated by local education agencies or the Department of Developmental Services Regional Centers. By providing referrals to Early Start, NorCal’s LEAD-K Family Services personnel may receive PHI such as pertinent patient information and medical conditions. The sharing of protected health information is intended for the specific purpose for connecting families to Early Start services.
NorCal accepts responsibility for maintaining the privacy and security of PHI in compliance with HIPAA and HITECH and shall not use or further disclose the protected health information other than as permitted or required by the agreement or as required by law.
PUBLIC HEALTH PURPOSE
HIPAA recognizes the need for sharing personal information for public health purposes such as surveillance of newborn hearing screening and follow-up intervention. Since EHDI is considered a public health authority, EHDI programs can obtain personally identifiable screening information without signed consent from hospitals and health care providers who perform the screening or diagnostic as permitted by and in compliance with HIPAA law. Although signed consent is not needed, records must be kept documenting the specific information that was shared. Similarly, no prior written authorization is needed to refer a child who is identified Deaf or hard of hearing to IDEA Part C programs.
RELEASE AND HANDLING OF INFORMATION
When we receive PHI, we follow the law to protect the privacy of your information. NorCal also adhere to laws that provide specific instances when medical information must be shared, even without your written authorization. As required by law, we only share the minimum necessary PHI that is needed by the provider or agency to accomplish the authorized purpose. We do not use PHI for marketing and/or fundraising activities, nor do we sell PHI to any individual or organization.
1. You are entitled to see your PHI. You may also receive your PHI in an electronic format, if requested and the provider or agency has the PHI available in that format.
2. If you think information is wrong, you may request in writing that it be changed or that new information be added. You may request that the changes be sent to others who have received your PHI.
3. You can request and receive a list showing where your PHI has been sent.
4. You have the right to request in writing that we limit the use and sharing of information about you. We will comply with such requests as much as possible.
5. You will be notified if there is an improper disclosure. Notification will include if PHI is improperly disclosed and the incident is deemed a breach, by accident or for any other reason, including who received the PHI in error, a description of the PHI, and the steps we are taking to mitigate the disclosure and prevent future improper disclosures.
TO CONTACT US OR TO FILE A COMPLAINT
For further information about our privacy practices, to exercise your rights described in this notice, or to file a complaint, contact our HIPAA Compliance Officer Susan Jerome, NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing, 4044 N. Freeway Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95834. Email: SJerome@norcalcenter.org, or by telephone (916) 349-7500 general; or mobile: (916) 298-4748.