Notice of Privacy Practices

For Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital & All Children’s Health System

Effective Date: March 14, 2017

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.

Most patients treated by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Inc. are minors.  Please read the terms “you & your” to also mean your child. 

Your Healthcare Provider of Choice

This Notice applies to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Inc.; All Children’s Outpatient Care Centers; Kids Home Care, Inc.; West Coast Neonatology, Inc. and Pediatric Physician Services, Inc. (collectively “All Children’s Specialty Physicians”); All Children’s Research Institute, Inc., and associated retail pharmacies and other corporations owned or controlled by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Inc., or All Children’s Health System, Inc., if they provide health services (collectively referred to as “Johns Hopkins All Children’s”).  Johns Hopkins All Children’s may be referred to as “we”, “us”, or “our.”

Our Pledge Regarding Your Medical Information

Johns Hopkins All Children’s is committed to protecting the privacy of medical information we create or obtain about you. This Notice tells you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. It also describes your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of your medical information. We are required by law to: (i) make sure your medical information is protected; (ii) give you this Notice describing our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your medical information; and (iii) follow the terms of the Notice that is currently in effect.

Who Will Follow This Notice

The privacy practices described in this Notice will be followed by all health care professionals, employees, medical staff, trainees, students and volunteers of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s organizations specified in the first section of this Notice.

How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information About You


The following sections describe different ways we may use and disclose your medical information.  We abide by all applicable laws related to the protection of this information. Not every use or disclosure will be listed.

All of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information, however, will fall within one of the following categories:

Treatment. We may use or disclose medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. We may also share medical information about you with other Johns Hopkins All Children’s personnel or non-Johns Hopkins All Children’s health care providers, agencies or facilities in order to provide or coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and X-rays, or transportation.

Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at Johns Hopkins All Children’s or from others, such as an ambulance company, may be billed to you and payment collected from you, an insurance company or another third party. For example, we may need to give information to your health insurance company about surgery you received at Johns Hopkins All Children’s so your health insurance company will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery.

Health care operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for Johns Hopkins All Children’s operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, quality improvement, development of care guidelines, and education. These uses and disclosures are made to enhance quality of care and for medical staff activities, Johns Hopkins All Children’s health-sciences education and other teaching programs, and general business activities. For example, we may disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical and other students, and other Johns Hopkins All Children’s personnel for performance improvement and educational purposes or we may share information with Johns Hopkins All Children’s corporate security to maintain the safety of our facilities.                                                                                                                                            

Health information exchange. Johns Hopkins All Children’s participates in one or more Health Information Exchanges (“HIE”) that allow us to share information that we obtain or create about you with other health care providers or other health care entities,  as permitted by law. For example, information about your past medical care and current medical conditions and medications can be available to us or to your non-Johns Hopkins All Children’s primary care physician or hospital, if they participate in the same HIE. Exchange of health information can provide faster access, better coordination of care and assist providers and public health officials in making more informed decisions. You will have the chance to opt-in to participate in the HIE at the time of registration.

Fundraising activities. We may share information with the All Children’s Hospital Foundation (“Foundation”).  The Foundation may use this information to contact you to provide information about Johns Hopkins All Children’s-sponsored activities, including fundraising programs and events to support research, education or patient care at Johns Hopkins All Children’s. For this purpose, we may use your contact information, such as your name, address, phone number, the dates on which and the department  from which you received treatment or services at Johns Hopkins All Children’s, your treating physician’s name, your treatment outcome and your health insurance status. If we do contact you for fundraising activities, the communication you receive will have instructions on how you may ask for us not to contact you again for such purposes, also known as an “opt-out.”  If you prefer to opt-out and not be contacted for fundraising efforts, you may also notify the Local Privacy Officer in writing at the address listed at the end of this Notice

Hospital directory (hospitals only). If you are hospitalized, we may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory. Directory information is released to people who ask for you by name.  This is so that your family and friends can visit you in the hospital.  If you want to opt-out and do not want us to include your information in the directory, you must tell us during the registration process.  If you fail to tell us, you will be included in the directory.  If you decide to opt out after registration you may notify registration or the Local Privacy Officer in writing at the address listed at the end of this Notice. 

Research and related activities. Johns Hopkins All Children’s conducts research to improve the health of people throughout the world. All research projects conducted by Johns Hopkins All Children’ must be approved through a special review process to protect patient safety, welfare and confidentiality. We may use and disclose medical information about our patients for research purposes under specific rules determined by the confidentiality provisions of applicable law. In some instances, federal law allows us to use your medical information for research without your authorization, provided we get approval from a special review board. These studies will not affect your treatment or welfare, and your medical information will continue to be protected.

Additional uses and disclosures of your medical information. We may use or disclose your medical information without your authorization (permission) to the following individuals, or for other purposes permitted or required by law, including:

  • To tell you about, or recommend, possible treatment alternatives
  • To inform you of benefits or services we may provide
  • For public health purposes, including reporting suspected abuse or neglect
  • In the event of a disaster, to organizations assisting in a disaster- relief effort so that your family can be notified of your condition and location
  • As required by state and federal law
  • To prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person
  • To authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence or other national security activities
  • To coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors, as authorized or required by law as necessary for them to carry out their duties
  • To the military if you are a member of the armed forces and we are authorized or required to do so by law
  • For workers’ compensation or similar programs providing benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses
  • To authorized federal officials so they may conduct special investigations or provide protection to the U.S. President or other authorized persons
  • If you are an organ donor, to organizations that handle such organ procurement or transplantation or to an organ bank, as necessary to help with organ procurement, transplantation or donation
  • To governmental, licensing, auditing and accrediting agencies
  • To a correctional institution as authorized or required by law if you are an inmate or under the custody of law-enforcement officials
  • To third parties referred to as “business associates” that provide services on our behalf, such as billing, software maintenance and legal services
  • Unless you say no, to anyone involved in your care or payment for your care, such as a friend, family member, or any individual you identify
  • To courts and attorneys when we get a court order, subpoena or other lawful instructions from those courts or public bodies or to defend ourselves against a lawsuit brought against us
  • To law enforcement officials as authorized or required by law

Other uses of medical information. Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this Notice will be made only with your written authorization. Most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes and uses and disclosures for marketing purposes fall within this category and require your authorization before we may use your medical information for these purposes. Additionally, we are not allowed to sell your medical information without your written authorization. If you provide us authorization to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke (withdraw) that authorization, in writing, at any time. However, uses and disclosures made before your withdrawal are not affected by your action and we cannot take back any disclosures we may have already made with your authorization.

Use of e-mail and other electronic communications. If you choose to communicate with us via email, we may respond to you in the same manner in which the communication was received and to the same email address from which you sent your email. Before using email to communicate with us, you should understand that there are certain risks associated with the use of email. It may not be secure, which means it could be intercepted and seen by others. In addition, there are other risks associated with use of email, such as misaddressed/misdirected messages, email accounts that are shared with others, messages that can be forwarded on to others, or messages stored on portable electronic devices that have no security.  Text messaging presents similar risks and if you choose to contact us via text messaging, we may respond to you in the same manner or choose to refrain from text messaging with you or otherwise limit the information included if we are not able to verify your identity.  Additionally, you should understand that use of email and/or other electronic communications is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should never be used in a medical emergency.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s offers you the ability to access your health information via a secure online portal called “My Health Portal.”  Contact us for more information if you are not already enrolled in the My Health Portal.

Your Rights Regarding Medical Information About You

The records of your medical information are the property of Johns Hopkins All Children’s. You have the following rights, however, regarding medical information we maintain about you:

Right to inspect and copy. With certain exceptions, you have the right to inspect and/or receive a copy of your medical and billing records or any other of our records that are used by us to make decisions about you. You have the right to request that we send a copy of your medical or billing records to a third party.  You may also request copies of your medical and billing records in an electronic format. You can receive this information by submitting a written request to our Health Information Management Department.  We may charge you a reasonable fee for providing you a copy of your records. We may deny access, under certain circumstances. You may request that we designate a licensed health care professional to review the denial. We will comply with the outcome of the review.

Right to request an amendment. If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information.  You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for Johns Hopkins All Children’s in your medical and billing records or any other of our records that are used by us to make decisions about you. You are required to submit your request in writing to the Health Information Management Department with an explanation as to why the amendment is needed. If we accept your request, we will tell you we agree and we will amend your records. We cannot change what is in the record. We add the supplemental information by an addendum. With your assistance, we will notify others who have the incorrect or incomplete medical information. If we deny your request, within sixty (60) days we will give you a written explanation of why we did not make the amendment and explain your rights.

We may deny your request if the medical information (i) was not created by Johns Hopkins All Children’s (unless the person or entity that created the medical information is no longer available to respond to your request); (ii) is not part of the medical and billing records kept by or for Johns Hopkins All Children’s; (iii) is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or (iv) is determined by us to be accurate and complete.

Right to an accounting of disclosures. You have the right to receive a list of certain disclosures we have made of your medical information in the six years prior to your request. This list will not include every disclosure made, such as those disclosures made for treatment, payment, health care operations purposes, or those disclosures made directly to you or pursuant to an authorization.

You are required to submit your request in writing to the Local Privacy Officer. You must state the time period for which you want to receive the accounting. The first accounting you request in a 12-month period will be free, and we may charge you for additional requests in that same period.

Right to request restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations.

To request a restriction, you must contact the Local Privacy Officer using the contact information listed at the end of this Notice. In some cases, you may be asked to submit a written request. We are not required to agree to your request and may say “no” if it would affect your care. If we do agree, our agreement must be in writing, and we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment or we are required or permitted by law to disclose it. We are allowed to end the restriction if we inform you that we plan to do so. If you request that we not disclose certain medical information to your health insurer and that medical information relates to a health care product or service for which we have already received payment in full, then we must agree to that request.

Right to request confidential communications.  You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. If you want us to communicate with you in a special way, you will need to give us details about how to contact you. Your request must be submitted in writing to the Local Privacy Officer using the contact information listed at the end of this Notice. You also will need to give us information as to how billing will be handled. We will honor reasonable requests.

Right to be notified in the event of a breach. We will notify you if your medical information has been “breached,” which means that your medical information has been used or disclosed in a way that is inconsistent with law and results in it being compromised.

Right to a paper copy of this Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. Copies of this Notice will be available throughout Johns Hopkins All Children’s, or by contacting the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Privacy Office as explained at the end of this Notice, or you may obtain an electronic copy at the Johns Hopkins website, hopkinsallchildrens.org/about-us/important-notices.

Future Changes To Johns Hopkins All Children’s Privacy  Practices and This Notice

We reserve the right to change Johns Hopkins All Children’s privacy practices and this Notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current Notice on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s website, hopkinsallchildrens.org/about-us/important-notices. In addition, at any time you may request a copy of the Notice currently in effect.

Personal Representatives, Minors and Guardians 

You have the right to choose someone to act for you.  If you have given someone the legal authority to exercise your rights and choices about your health information, we will honor such requests once we verify their authority. This Notice also applies to minors and some disabled adults. They enjoy the same basic privacy protections for their medical information. However, because they usually cannot make health care decisions for themselves, a parent or a guardian can make decisions on their behalf. Parents or guardians can permit the use and release of this medical information. Parents or guardians may also hold all rights listed in this Notice including the right to inspect and copy and the right to amend.

There are, however, some situations where minors can make independent health care decisions without parental or guardian knowledge or permission. It is important to note in these situations that the minor may be the only one to permit the use and release of medical information. The minor may hold all rights listed in this Notice with respect to the independent health care decision.  If the minor chooses to inform the parent or guardian and obtains their permission for the independent health care decision, then all of the privacy rights regarding the medical information may transfer to the parent or guardian. There are also some situations where access, use and/or release of a minor’s health information may occur without the permission of the parent or guardian. These situations are usually when the health or safety of the minor is in danger and medical information is necessary to appropriately protect the minor.

Questions or Complaints

If you believe that your privacy rights have not been followed as directed by applicable law or as explained in this Notice, you may file a complaint with us. Please send any complaint to the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Privacy Office at the address provided below. You may also file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.

If you have questions or would like further information about this Notice, please contact:

All mail to our Local Privacy Officer should be sent to the following address:
 
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Inc.
ATTN:  Local Privacy Officer – Box 9080
501 Sixth Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Email:  achprivacyofficer@jhmi.edu
Phone:  727-767-4348
 
All mail to our Health Information Management Department should be sent to the following address:
 
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Inc.
ATTN: Health Information Management Department - Box 7680
501 Sixth Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
 
The Johns Hopkins All Children’s main telephone numbers are 727-898-7451 or 800-456-4543, if you are calling from out of area.

Disclaimer

The Johns Hopkins entities that follow this Notice are affiliated entities. However, each entity is independently responsible for providing medical services to patients in a professional manner and in compliance with applicable privacy laws.

Non-Discrimination Notice

Johns Hopkins All Children’s complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.

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