Privacy

Reviewed and Updated: April 4, 2017

This notice describes how your protected health information may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information at New Haven Youth and Family Services.

Please review it carefully.

New Haven is required by law to provide you with this Notice so that you will understand how we may use or share your information from your Designated Record Set.  The Designated Record Set includes, but is not limited to health information referred to in this Notice as “Protected Health Information” (“PHI”) or simply “health information.”  We are required to adhere to the terms outlined in this Notice.  If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer at New Haven 760.630.4035 EXT 432 or bwiscons@newhavenyfs.org .

Understanding your Health Record and Information

A record of services and contacts provided to New Haven clients, including youth and other immediate family members is made containing health, mental health, and other information such as financial information as it pertains to eligibility for services.  Typically, this record contains information about the clients’ condition, treatment we provide, and payment for the treatment.  We may use and/or disclose information to:

  • plan care and treatment for our clients;
  • communicate with other health professionals involved in client care;
  • document the care clients receive;
  • educate health professionals;
  • provide information for medical research;
  • provide information to public health officials;
  • evaluate and improve the care we provide;
  • obtain payment for the care we provide.

Understanding what is in client records and how health information is used helps our clients to:

  • ensure the record is accurate;
  • better understand who may access health information;
  • make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.

How we may use and disclose protected health information about our clients

The following categories describe the ways that we use and disclose health information.  Not every use or disclosure in as category will be listed.  However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall into one of the categories.

  • For Treatment.  We may use or disclose health information about you to provide our clients with medical, including mental health treatment.  We may disclose PHI about our clients to our doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, teachers, ort other New Haven personnel who are involved in taking care of our clients.  Different departments of New Haven also may share health information about our clients in order to coordinate care, provide medications, lab work, and x-rays.  For example, our example our psychiatrist prescribing medications needs to know behavioral, therapeutic, and other information to ensure that he or she is providing the best care possible.  Another example is that the teachers at our school may need to know specifics from a client’s treatment plan to ensure that treatment and behavioral expectations are consistent between our residential and school programs.  We may also disclose health information about our clients to people outside of New Haven who may be involved in care after our clients leave us.  This may include family members, other treatment providers, or schools.
  • For Payment.  We may use and disclose PHI  so that the treatment and services provided at New Haven may be paid.  For example, by contract, we may tell a placing and funding agency about our clients’ treatment so they can pay us for our expenses.
  • For Healthcare Operations.  We may use and disclose health information about our clients for our day-to-day operations.  This is necessary to ensure that all clients receive quality care.  For example, we may use PHI for quality assessment and improvement activities and for developing and evaluating clinical protocols.  We may also combine health information about many clients to help determine what additional services we should offer, what services to discontinue, and whether certain new clinical treatments are effective.  Health information about our clients may be used by our corporate office for business development and planning, cost management analyses, claims management, risk management activities, and in developing and testing information systems and programs.  We may also use and disclose information for professional review, performance evaluation, and for training programs.  Other aspects of healthcare operations may require use and disclosure of client health information including accreditation, certification, licensing, and credentialing activities, review and auditing, including compliance reviews, medical reviews, legal services, and quality and compliance programs.  Client health information may be used and disclosed for the business management and general activities of New Haven including resolution of circumstances, we may disclose client health information to another entity subject to HIPAA for its own health care operations.  We may remove information that identifies our clients so that the health information may be used to study health care and health care delivery without learning the identities of clients.  We may disclose client age, birthdate and general information about clients in the New Haven newsletter, on activity calendars, and to entities in the community that wish to acknowledge client birthdays or commemorate client achievements on special occasions.  We may post client photographs and general information about progress.

Other Allowable uses of Client Health Information

  •  Business Associates.  There are some services provided at New Haven through contracts with business associates.  Examples include medical directors, outside attorneys, file archiving, and a copy service we use when making copies of health records.  When these services are contracted, we may disclose health information so that they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do  and bill for services rendered.  To protect health information, however, we require the business associate to appropriately safeguard PHI.
  • Providers. Some of the services provided to our clients as part of their care at New Haven are offered by other providers.  These providers include providers such as physicians (such as MDs, DOs, Dentists, Optometrists, etc.) therapists (such as Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, etc.), clinical labs, pharmacies, hospitals, psychologists, suppliers ( for example prosthetic, orthotics, etc.).
  • Treatment Alternatives.  We may use and disclose PHI to tell you about possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
  • Health- Related Benefits and Services and Reminders.  We may contact you to provide appointment reminders or information about treatment alternatives or other health- related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
  • Fundraising Activities.  We may use health information to contact you in an effort to raise money as part of a fundraising effort.  We may disclose health information to a foundation related to New Haven so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for New Haven.  We will only release contact information, such as name, address, and phone number and the dates of service at New Haven.
  • Facility Directory.  We may include information about our clients in a New Haven directory while active clients in our program.  This information may include name, program(s), location, and general condition (phase and level or status).
  • Individuals Involved in Client Care. We may give information to someone who helps pay for client care or client support services.  In addition, we may disclose health information about our clients to an entity assisting in disaster relief efforts so that emergency care can be provided and so that clients’ families can be notified about the clients’ condition, status, and location.
  • As Required by Law.  We will disclose health information about our clients when required to do so by federal, state, or local law.
  • To Avert Serious Threat to Health or Safety.  We may use and disclose health information about a client to prevent a serious threat to client safety or health or the safety and health of other persons.  We would only do this to help prevent the threat.
  • Research. Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose PHI about clients for research purposes.  For example, a research project may involve comparing treatment outcomes for clients who received a certain treatment to those who received another for the same condition.  All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process.  This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of health information, trying to balance the research needs with the client’s need for privacy of health information.  Before we use or disclose health information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process.  We may, however, disclose health information about our clients to people preparing to conduct a research project so long a s the health information they review does not leave New Haven.
  • Workers’ Compensation.  We may disclose health information about our clients for workers’ compensation or similar programs.  These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.
  • Reporting.  Federal and state laws may require or permit New Haven and its employees, volunteers, business associates, and trainees to disclose certain health information related to the following:
    • Public Health Risks.  We may disclose PHI for public health purposes, including:
      • Prevention or control of disease, injury, or disability
      • Reporting deaths
      • Reporting child or elder abuse
        • Every person who works for New Haven is a mandated reporter, meaning that by law we are required to report any potential neglect, abuse, or maltreatment of a child or elderly person that is brought to our attention regardless of whether we believe the report to be true of false and regardless if there is any proof or indication.  This includes but is not limited to
          • Failure to provide or enforce age-appropriate rules and supervision for any child in your home.
      • Failure to provide a safe living environment for any child living in your home.
      • Failure to protect any child in your home from harm inflicted by another sibling or caregiver.
      • Failure to provide medical insurance or medical attention for any child in your home.
      • Failure to provide any prescribed or recommended medication and/or treatment for any child in your home.
      • Signs, symptoms, or suspicions of neglect or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse to any child in your home.
      • Claims or reports (even if likely to be false) of neglect or emotional, physical, financial, or sexual abuse by any person regardless of the situation.
      • Misuse of drugs and/or alcohol by any adult in the home to the extent that he or she loses self-control, acts lewdly or inappropriately in front of any child in the home, is unable to adequately supervise any child in the home, or is likely to harm or cause harm to any child in the home.
      • Supplying or allowing the use of drugs and/or alcohol to any minor in the home.
      • Notifying the appropriate government authority if we believe a client has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if the parent/legal guardian agrees or when required by law.
      • Reporting reactions to medications or problems with products
      • Notifying people of recalls of products
      • Notifying a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease
      • Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities may include audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with laws, including civil rights laws.
      • Judicial and Administrative Proceedings. If a client or his family is involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, New Haven may disclose PHI in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or attempting to protect the information requested.
  • Law Enforcement. We may disclose health information when requested by a law enforcement official:
    • In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons, or similar process
    • To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person
    • About a client or his/her family, the victim of a crime, if under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain parent or legal guardian agreement
    • About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct
    • About criminal conduct at or around New Haven
    • In emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description, or location of the persons who committed the crime.
  • National Security and Intelligence Activities. We may disclose health information about our clients and their family to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
  • Correctional Institution. Should a client be under the jurisdiction of a correctional institution, New Haven may disclose to the institution or its agents, PHI necessary for the client’s health and the health and safety of others.

 

Other Uses of Health Information

Other uses and disclosures of health information not covered in this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with our minor clients’ parental or legal guardian written permission or the written permission of our non-minor clients.  If permission is granted to us to disclose PHI by the client or parent or legal guardian, they may revoke this permission, in writing, at any time.  If permission is revoked, we will no longer use or disclose that client’s health information for the reasons covered by the written authorization.  Please understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of care for each client we served.

Client Rights Regarding Health Information

Although a client’s health record is the property of New Haven, the information belongs to non-minor clients or to the parents or legal guardian of minor clients.  The non-minor client or the parent or guardian have the following rights regarding their health information:

  •  Right to Inspect and Copy.  With some exceptions, the client or legal guardian have the right to review and copy their health information.  Requests must be in writing to:  Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199.  We may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with the request.
  • Right to Amend.  If the client or legal guardian feel that health information in the record is incorrect or incomplete, thy may ask to amend the information.  The client or legal guardian has this right as long as the information is kept by or for New Haven.  Requests must be in writing to:  Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199 and must include a reason for your request.
    • We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing, if you are no longer the legal guardian, or does not include a reason to support the request.  In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
      • Was not created by New Haven;
      • Is not part of the health information kept by or for New Haven; or
      • Is accurate and complete.
  • Right to an Accounting of Disclosures.  You have the right to request an “accounting of disclosures.”  This is a list of certain disclosures we made of your health information, other than those made for purposes of treatment, payment, or health care operations.
    • You must submit your request in writing to: Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199.  Your request must state a time period which may not be longer than six years from the date the request is submitted and may not include dates before April 14, 2003.  Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, on paper or electronically).  The first list you request within a twelve month period of time will be free.  For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list.  We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
  • Right to Request Restrictions.  You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the health information we use or disclose about the client.  For example, you may request that we limit the health information we disclose to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care.
    • We are not required to agree to your request.  If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide emergency treatment.
    • You must submit your request in writing to:Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199.  In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure, or both; (3) to whom you want the limits to apply.
  • Right to Request Alternate Communications.  You have the right to request that we communicate with you about PHI in a confidential manner or at a specific location.  For example, you may ask that we only contact you via mail to a post office box.
    • You must submit your request in writing to: Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199.  We will not ask you the reason for your request.  Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.  We will accommodate all reasonable requests.
  • Right to a Paper Copy of this Notice.  You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice of Privacy Practices even if you agreed to receive the Notice electronically.  You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time.
  • You may obtain a copy of this Notice at our website: http://www.newhavenyfs.org/privacy/
  • To obtain a paper copy of this Notice, contact: Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199.

 School Records at New Haven

School records at New Haven are protected under the Family Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Use and disclosure of school records for students at New Haven are governed by FERPA.

Changes to this Notice

We reserve the right to change this Notice.  We reserve the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for health information we already have about our clients as well as any information we receive in the future.  We will post a copy of the current Notice at New Haven and on our website.  The Notice will specify the effective date on the first page in the top right hand corner.  In addition, if material changes are made to this Notice, the Notice will contain an effective date for the revisions and copies can be obtained by contacting: Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199.

Complaints

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with New Haven or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  To file a complaint with New Haven, contact: Brad Wiscons, Chief Quality Officer and Privacy Officer, New Haven PO Box 1199 Vista, CA 92085-1199.  All complaints must be submitted in writing.  You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.