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Patient Bill of Rights

Notice of Privacy Practices


This notice describes the privacy practices of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island (RHRI). We are required by law to maintain the privacy of patients' protected health information ("PHI") and to provide our patients with this notice, which explains patients' rights about their PHI and how we use and disclose it. We are required by law to abide by the terms of this notice.

Protected Health Information
PHI includes information that we create or receive about a patient's past, present or future physical or mental health condition. It also includes information that relates to a patient's treatment or payment for the services provided to a patient.

How We May Use and Disclose Your PHI
Treatment: We may use and disclose your PHI to provide and coordinate your health care at RHRI. For example, different members of your health care team at RHRI, such as physicians, nurses and technicians, will share information, such as drug prescriptions, results of lab tests and x-rays, that is necessary to provide your care. In addition, we may disclose your PHI to other health care providers outside of RHRI in order to facilitate the transfer of your care.

Payment: We may use and disclose your PHI to bill you or your health insurer for treatment and services provided to you, or to determine your eligibility for health insurance benefits. For example, we may disclose your PHI to your health plan in order to determine whether it will cover treatment recommended by your health care provider.

Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose your PHI to support the operation of our organization. For example, we may use your PHI to evaluate the performance of our staff members. We will obtain your consent before disclosing your PHI for purposes of our health care operations if state law requires us to do so.

Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose your PHI to contact you and remind you of health care appointments.

Treatment Alternatives, Benefits and Services: We may use and disclose your PHI to tell you about treatment options or health-related programs or services we offer that may be of interest to you.

Fundraising: Unless you object, we may use your demographic information (limited to your name, address, telephone number, email address, gender, age and date of hospital treatment) to inform you about our fundraising efforts. Donations are used to expand and support the health care services and educational programs we provide to the community. If you do not wish to be contacted for these purposes, you must notify the Public Relations/Development Office in writing at the following address: 116 Eddie Dowling Highway, North Smithfield, RI 02896.

Directory Information: If you are admitted to RHRI, we will include your name, location in the hospital, general condition (e.g., undetermined, good, fair, serious, or critical) and religious affiliation (if you choose to disclose it) in the hospital census directory. You may request that this information not be released to others. If you do not object, the information (excluding your religious affiliation) may be released to visitors or callers who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be provided to members of the clergy even if they do not ask for you by name. If you are admitted to the psychiatric unit, no information about your location, condition or religious affiliation will be disclosed without your consent, except as permitted by law.

Research: We may use and disclose your PHI for research purposes, provided that certain procedures are followed. Depending on the circumstances, state law may require us to obtain your written consent before using and disclosing your PHI for research purposes. If state law requires us to obtain your consent, we will do so before using or disclosing your PHI for research purposes.

Reports Required by Law: We may disclose PHI when we are legally required to do so. For example, we may use PHI to make mandatory reports to various government agencies about births and deaths; communicable diseases; patients whom we believe to be victims of abuse or neglect; problems with medical and other products and reactions to medications; and certain types of deaths and injuries.

Health Oversight: We may disclose your PHI to government agencies authorized by law

Legal Proceedings: We may disclose PHI pursuant to a valid court order, search warrant and, under certain circumstances, in response to a subpoena or other discovery request.

Death Certificates: We may release a copy of the death certificate of a deceased patient to funeral directors, coroners and/or medical examiners.

Organ and Tissue Donation: We may release PHI about organ donors to organizations that obtain organs, eyes or tissue for donation or transplantation.

Threats to Safety and Health: Consistent with state law, we may disclose your PHI, when necessary, to avoid a serious threat to your health or safety, or the health or safety of another person or the general public.

Work-Related Injuries & Illnesses: If RHRI provides health care to you for a work-related injury, we may release PHI about you to workers' compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for purposes of work-related injuries or illnesses, if permitted by state law.

As Required by Law: We will disclose PHI when we are required to do so by federal or state law.

Other Uses or Disclosures: Other uses and disclosures of your protected health information will be made only with your written authorization. You may revoke an authorization at any time by notifying us in writing at the following address: 116 Eddie Dowling Highway, North Smithfield, RI 02896. Beginning at the time we receive your revocation, we no longer will use or disclose your PHI for the purpose(s) covered in your authorization.

Your Rights Regarding Your PHI Right to Request Restrictions
You may request a restriction or limitation on: (1) the PHI we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations purposes; and/or (2) the PHI about you we disclose to someone (such as a family member or friend) involved in your care or the payment for your care. However, we are not required to agree to your request.

Right to Request Confidential Communications: You may request that we communicate PHI to you in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may ask us to contact you only at work, or by mail. To make such a request, you must do so in writing and supply us with an alternative location or method of contact. We will accommodate all reasonable requests as long as we can easily communicate the PHI in the manner you request.

Right to Inspect and Copy: You have the right to inspect and copy your PHI for as long as we maintain it. However, there are some circumstances in which we may deny you access. If we deny you access, we will tell you in writing the reason(s) for the denial and explain what appeal rights, if any, you have. Instead of providing you a copy of all the PHI you request, we may offer to give you a summary or explanation of the PHI. However, you may refuse our offer. If you request a copy of your PHI, we may charge a copying fee for it if permitted to do so by law.

Right to Amend: If you believe the PHI we maintain about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to fix it. In order to make such a request, you must submit your request to us in writing and tell us the reason for your request. We may deny your request for a variety of reasons. If we deny your request, we will tell you in writing the reason(s) for the denial and explain your rights regarding responding to the denial.

Right to an Accounting of Disclosures: You have the right to request an accounting of instances in which we disclosed your PHI to others. Some disclosures of PHI will not be listed in this accounting. For example, disclosures made for the purpose(s) of treatment, payment or health care operations will not be listed. Also, any disclosure to you or that you authorized will not be part of the accounting. Unless you ask for a shorter accounting period, we will report disclosures made within the six years prior to your request. However, our obligation to account for disclosures begins with disclosures made after April 13, 2003. If you ask for more than one accounting within a 12-month period, we may charge you a fee for every accounting provided after the first one.

Right to a Paper Copy of this Notice: You have the right to a paper copy of this notice even if you originally agreed to receive it electronically. You may request a paper copy at any time.

Change to this Notice
We reserve the right to change this notice. Any revised version of this notice will be effective for all PHI that we maintain about you, including information created prior to the effective date of the revision. Upon your request, we will provide you with a copy of the most up-to-date version of this notice. For your convenience, a copy of this notice is posted at RHRI and on our web site at Visit Site

Questions and Complaints
If you wish to exercise any of the rights explained in this notice, have any questions about this notice, believe we have violated your privacy rights or wish to file a complaint, please contact our Privacy Officer at (401) 769-4100 or mail to: 116 Eddie Dowling Highway, North Smithfield, RI 02896. You can also file a written complaint with the United States Department of Health and Human Services. We will not retaliate in any way if you choose to file a complaint.

This notice is effective as of April 14, 2003 and supersedes any and all prior versions of this notice.