Notice of Coastal Southeastern United Care’ Policies and Practices to Protect the Privacy of Your Health Information


This notice conforms to the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) effective March 26, 2013. It also conforms to the health care privacy laws of North Carolina. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.


I. Uses and Disclosures for Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE may use or disclose your protected health information (PHI), for treatment, payment, and health care operations purposes with your consent. To help clarify these terms, here are some definitions:

         “PHI” refers to information in your health record that could identify you.

         “Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations”

- Treatment is when we provide, coordinate or manage your health care and other services related to your health care. An example of treatment would be when we consult with another health care provider, such as your family physician or another psychologist.

- Payment is when we obtain reimbursement for your healthcare. Examples of payment are when we disclose your PHI to your health insurer to obtain reimbursement for your health care or to determine eligibility or coverage. - Health Care Operations are activities that relate to the performance and operation of my practice. Examples of health care operations are quality assessment and improvement activities, business-related matters such as audits and administrative services, and case management and care coordination.

“Use” applies only to activities within COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE’S OFFICE such as sharing, employing, applying, utilizing, examining, and analyzing information that identifies you.

“Disclosure” applies to activities outside of COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE’S OFFICE such as releasing, transferring, or providing access to information about you to other parties.

II. Uses and Disclosures Requiring Authorization

COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE may use or disclose PHI for purposes outside of treatment, payment, and health care operations when your appropriate authorization is obtained. An “authorization” is written permission above and beyond the general consent that permits only specific disclosures. In those instances when we are asked for information for purposes outside of treatment, payment and health care operations, we will obtain an authorization from you before releasing this information. We will also need to obtain an authorization before releasing your psychotherapy notes. “Psychotherapy notes” are notes we have made about our conversation during a private, group, joint, or family counseling session, which we have kept separate from the rest of your medical record. These notes are given a greater degree of protection than PHI.

Uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes, uses and disclosures of Protected Health Information PHI for marketing purposes, and disclosures that constitute a sale of PHI require an authorization.

            You may restrict certain disclosures of PHI to a health plan if you plan to pay cash for all services being rendered.

You may revoke all such authorizations (of PHI or psychotherapy notes) at any time, provided each revocation is in writing. You may not revoke an authorization to the extent that (1) we have relied on that authorization; or (2) if the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage, and the law provides the insurer the right to contest the claim under the policy.

III. Uses and Disclosures with Neither Consent nor Authorization

COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE may use or disclose PHI without your consent or authorization in the following circumstances:

Child Abuse: If you give us information which leads us to suspect child abuse, neglect, or death due to maltreatment, we must report such information to the county Department of Social Services. If asked by the Director of Social Services to turn over information from your records relevant to a child protective services investigation, we must do so.

Adult and Domestic Abuse: If information you give us gives us reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult is in need of protective services, we must report this to the Director of Social Services.

Health Oversight: The North Carolina Psychology Board has the power, when necessary, to subpoena relevant records should we be the focus of an inquiry.

Serious Threat to Health or Safety: COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE may disclose your confidential information to protect you or others from a serious threat of harm by you.

Worker’s Compensation: If you file a workers’ compensation claim, we are required by law to provide your mental health information relevant to the claim to your employer and the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Judicial or Administrative Proceedings: If you are involved in a court proceeding, and a request is made for information about the professional services that we have provided you and/or the records thereof, such information is privileged under state law, and we must not release this information without your written authorization, or a court order. This privilege does not apply when you are being evaluated for a third party or where the evaluation is court ordered. You will be informed in advance if this is the case.

Law enforcement purposes:  The facility may disclose PHI about you to law enforcement officials for authorized purposes as required by law or in response to a court order or subpoena.

Deceased:  The facility may disclose PHI about a decreased, or prior to, and in reasonable anticipation of an individual’s death, to coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors.

Cadaveric organ, eye or tissue donation purpose:  The facility may use and disclose PHI for the purpose of procurement, banking, or transplantation of cadaveric organs, eyes, or tissues for donation purposes.

Research Purposes:  The facility may use and disclose PHI about you for research purposes with a valid waiver of authorization approved by an institutional review board or a privacy board.  Otherwise, the facility will request a signed authorization by the individual for all other research purposes.

Disaster relief purposes:  The facility may disclose PHI about you as authorized by law to public or private entity to assist in disaster relief efforts.

Disclosure to business associates:  The facility may disclose PHI about you to Facility’s business associates for services that they may provide to or for the facility to assist the facility to provide quality health care.  To ensure the privacy of your PHI, we require all business associates to apply appropriate safeguards to any PHI they receive or create.

IV. Patient's Rights and Coastal Southeastern United Care's Duties Patient’s Rights:

Right to Request Restrictions –You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information about you. However, we are not required to agree to a restriction you request.

Right to Receive Confidential Communications by Alternative Means and at Alternative Locations – You have the right to request and receive confidential communications of PHI by alternative means and at alternative locations. (For example, you may not want a family member to know that you are seeing us. Upon your request, we will send your bills to another address.)

Right to Amend – You have the right to request an amendment of PHI for as long as the PHI is maintained in the record. COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE may deny your request. On your request, we will discuss with you the details of the amendment process.

Right to an Accounting – You generally have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of PHI for which you have neither provided consent nor authorization (as described in Section III of this Notice). On your request, we will discuss with you the details of the accounting process.

Right to Inspect and Copy – You have the right to inspect or obtain a copy (or both) of PHI in my mental health and billing records used to make decisions about you for as long as the PHI is maintained in the record. We may deny your access to PHI under certain circumstances, but in some cases, you may have this decision reviewed. On your request, we will discuss with you the details of the request and denial process.

Right to a Paper Copy – You have the right to obtain a paper copy of the notice from me upon request, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically.

The facility may contact you for the following purposes:

Information about treatment alternatives:  The facility may contact to notify you of alternative treatments and/or products.

Health related benefits or services:  The facility may use your PHI to notify you of benefits and services the facility provides.

Fundraising:  If the facility participates in a fundraising activity, the Facility may use demographic PHI to send you a fundraising packet, or the Facility may disclose demographic PHI about you to its business associate or an institutionally related foundation to send you a fundraising packet.  No further contact will be allowed by the business associates or an institutionally related foundation without your written authorization.

Coastal Southeastern United Care’s Duties:

COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE is required by law to maintain the privacy of PHI and to provide you with a notice of my legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI.

COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE reserves the right to change the privacy policies and practices described in this notice. Unless we notify you of such changes, however, we are required to abide by the terms currently in effect.

If we revise our policies and procedures, we will post a revised notice in our office and a copy will be available upon request.

V. Complaints

If you are concerned that Coastal Southeastern United Care has violated your privacy rights, or you disagree with a decision made about access to your records, please contact Coastal Southeastern United Care immediately.

You may also send a written complaint to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These addresses will be provided to you upon request.

VI. Effective Date, Restrictions and Changes to Privacy Policy

This notice will go into effect on July 17, 2013.

* COASTAL SOUTHEASTERN UNITED CARE reserves the right to change the terms of this notice and to make the new notice provisions effective for all PHI that we maintain. We will provide you with a revised notice by posting a revised notice in our office, on Coastal Southeastern United Care’s web site, and a copy will be available upon request.