Notice of Privacy Practices
Towson Orthopaedic Association
Notice of privacy practices: 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.
Understanding Your Health Record/Information
Each time you visit a hospital, physician, or other healthcare provider, a record of your visit is made. Typically, this record contains your symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as your health or medical record, serves as a basis for planning your care and treatment and serves as a means of communication among the many health professionals who contribute to your care. Understanding what is in your record and how your health information is used helps you to ensure its accuracy, better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information, and make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosure to others.
Your Health Information Rights
Unless otherwise required by law your health record is the physical property of the healthcare practitioner or facility that compiled it, the information belongs to you. You have the right to request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information, and request amendments to your health record. This includes the right to obtain a paper copy of the notice of information practices upon request, inspect, and obtain a copy of your health record. Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information, request communications of your health information by alternative means or at alternative locations, revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken.
This organization is required to maintain the privacy of your health information. In addition, provide you with a notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect and maintain about you. This organization must abide by the terms of this notice, notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction, accommodate reasonable requests you may have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations. We reserve the right to change our practices and to make the new provisions effective for all protected health information we maintain. Should our information practices change, we will mail a revised notice to the address you’ve supplied us. If we maintain a Web site that provides information about our customer services or benefits we will post our new notice on that Web site. We will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization, except as described in this notice.
For More Information or to Report a Problem
If you have questions and would like additional information, you may contact our office at 410-337-7900. If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a written complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
Examples of Disclosures for Treatment, Payment, and Health Operations
We will use your health information for treatment.
For example: Information obtained by a healthcare practitioner will be recorded in your record and used to determine the course of treatment that should work best for you. By way of example, your physician will document in your record their expectations of the members of your healthcare team. Members of your healthcare team will then record the actions they took and their observations (example varies by practitioner type). We will also provide your other practitioners with copies of various reports that should assist them in treating you.
We will use your health information for payment.
For example: A bill may be sent to you or a third-party payer. The information on or accompanying the bill may include information that identifies you, as well as your diagnosis, procedures, and supplies used.
We will use your health information for regular health operations.
For example: Members of the medical staff, the risk or quality improvement manager, or members of the quality improvement team may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in your case and others like it. This information will then be used in an effort to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and service we provide.
There may be some services provided in our organization through contracts with Business Associates. Examples include physician services in the emergency department and radiology, certain laboratory tests, and a copy service we use when making copies of your health record. When these services are contracted, we may disclose some or all of your health information to our Business Associate so that they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do. To protect your health information, however, we require the Business Associate to appropriately safeguard your information.
We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or another person responsible for your care, your location, and general condition.
Communication With Family
Health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relatives, close personal friends or any other person you identify, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
We may disclose information to researchers when an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal, and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your health information has approved their research.
We may disclose health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law to carry out their duties.
Organ Procurement Organizations
Consistent with applicable law, we may disclose health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking, or transplantation of organs for the purpose of tissue donation and transplant.
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.
Cookies & Third-party Service Providers
Tracking cookies are used to collect personally unidentifiable information such as your IP address, operating system type, location, etc. In addition, Google Analytics Advertising features are enabled to track audience demographics and interests to help us better understand our users. This data may be used along with Facebook remarketing pixels to allow us to create a better experience for our visitors and to present special offers to you via ads.
Tracking tools include:
We may contact you as part of a fund-raising effort.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
As required by law, we may disclose to the FDA health information relative to adverse events with respect to food, supplements, product and product defects, or post marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacement.
We must disclose health information to the extent authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with Maryland law relating to workers compensation or other similar programs established by law.
As required by Maryland law, we may disclose your health information to public health or legal authorities charged with tracking birth and deaths, as well as with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability.
Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, we may disclose to the institution or agents thereof health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals. An inmate does not have the right to the Notice of Privacy Practices.
We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena. Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a work force member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards and are potentially endangering one or more patients, workers or the public.
Notice of Privacy Practices Availability
This notice will be prominently posted in the office where registration occurs. Patients will be provided a hard copy and the notice will be maintained on our Web site for downloading.
ADDITIONAL POLICIES & PROCEDURES
Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday (4:00 pm on Friday), however, please note the physicians do have varying clinical hours. Allow one business day for return phone calls. Please call 410-337-7900 between 8:00 am and 4:30 PM for an appointment. If you cannot keep an appointment, please notify the office within 48 hours, or a $25.00 cancellation fee will apply. We respect your time and make every effort to see each patient promptly. However, because occasional unforeseeable problems can develop, unavoidable delays can occur. We sincerely appreciate your cooperation at these times.
Calls for Physicians and Refills
Calls for physicians will usually be directed to the physician’s secretary. Please fully explain the problem to your physician’s secretary, who will relay the message to the doctor and return the response to you. Please request prescriptions early in the day so that the secretary will have a chance to contact your doctor and the pharmacy. Prescription refill requests will only be handled during office hours. If you are taking narcotic pain medication, the doctor on call at night or on the weekend will not authorize refills. Please plan your refill needs in advance.
Hospital Admissions and Surgery Scheduling
If your doctor recommends surgery or hospitalization, a surgery scheduler or secretary will make the arrangements for you and answer any questions you may have.
After your examination, your doctor may give you prescriptions, instructions, or other recommendations. We encourage you to ask any questions at that time. At the conclusion of your visit, the doctor will give you a charge slip for services provided that day, as well as information regarding your next appointment, if one is necessary. When your visit is completed, please stop to see your doctor’s secretary before you leave.
Good medical care is enhanced by mutual understanding, respect and trust. At Towson Orthopaedic Associates, P.A., we are proud of our experienced staff; each one of whom plays an important role in quality patient care. Every member of our team, in all departments, is available to answer your questions and to offer assistance promptly and courteously. Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality orthopaedic services possible. Should you have any questions, comments or suggestions on how we may improve our service, please let us know. We have enjoyed a close relationship with our patients for the past 70 years.
Our Towson & Bel Air offices provide free and convenient parking. For patients seen at our St. Joseph office, parking is provided in the parking garage next to the O’Dea Medical Arts Building, located on the campus of University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.
We are required by our contracts with your insurer to collect payment of deductibles and CO-payments for services at the time they are rendered. Towson Orthopaedic Associates accepts cash, personal checks, American Express, Visa, Discover, MasterCard. As a courtesy, we will file your insurance at no charge. In order to provide this service for you, we must have all of your insurance data, along with a signed authorization. Our financial coordinators are available to discuss your account and any payment arrangements which may be necessary. It is important to note that you are ultimately responsible for payment of your account. We participate in most area insurance plans, HMO’s and PPO’s. A referral is usually required from your primary physician. If your insurance plan requires a written authorization or referral, you must bring it with you to your appointment. If a telephone referral is required, be sure that your referring physician’s office has done so prior to your visit. See “Insurance” for a list of participating insurance plans.
We try to pre-register all new patients by telephone prior to their arrival for their first visit. Patients still must report to the registration desk to confirm all necessary information. Any needed referrals must be brought with the patient and any telephone referrals verified before the patient can be seen. Please bring ALL up-to-date insurance cards, as we need to copy them. Please be prepared to pay any CO-pay or we cannot see you. Please remember, these are the rules put in place by the insurance companies. We also reregister returning patients every six months or, more frequently, if you have new problems or if any information should change.
For your convenience, X-ray services are available at all of our offices. You are assured of receiving the finest treatment possible from our specially-trained and licensed staff, using the most up-to-date equipment. Due to some insurance requirements, an additional authorization may be required for X-ray services performed in our offices; however, your insurer may require you to go to an alternative site that is contracted by them.