Patient Rights and Privacy

Skagit Valley Hospital’s patient rights and responsibilities policies reflect on the importance of respect and privacy, confidentiality, information and consent for care for each and every patient.

All patients have the right to receive care in a safe setting where you are informed about your health, treatment and recovery. Each patient has the right to personal privacy and rights to complete information about your hospital bill.

Watch a video about the HIPAA Omnibus Rule.

Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Patient

Your Rights

You have the right:

Communication

  • To know the names of the health care professionals caring for you.
  • To have your questions or concerns addressed to the best of our ability.
  • To have a family member (or representative of your choice) and your Provider notified promptly of your admission to the hospital.
  • To receive from your provider information concerning your illness or injury, possible treatments and the likelyoutcome of these treatments in terms you can understand. You may include or exclude family members from hearing this information.
  • To receive information in a way you understand. This includes interpretation and translation, free of charge, in the language you prefer for talking about your health care. This also includes providing you with needed help if you have vision, speech, hearing or cognitive impairments.
  • To receive from your provider your diagnosis (es), the treatment you and your provider identified, information about your medication (including the purpose, use, or side effects), the potential outcome of the illness and any instructions required for follow‐up care.
  • To know why you are given various tests and treatments and the risks associated with any procedure or treatment.
  • Receive from your doctor information concerning your care and condition in terms you can understand. You may include or exclude family members from hearing this information.
  • To know about hospital or clinic resources (such as care‐team/patient conferences) that can answer your questions and help you solve problems regarding your illness, treatment choice or hospital stay.
  • To prepare advance directives, and have the hospital staff and others who provide care in the hospital comply with these directives.
  • To know if the hospital or clinic has outside relationships that may influence your treatment and care. Such relationships may be with educational institutions, healthcare providers or insurers.
  • To choose whether to participate in research efforts, which may affect your care. If you choose not to participate, you will receive the most effective care the hospital otherwise provides.
  • To be told of reasonable alternatives for your care when acute inpatient hospital care is no longer appropriate.
  • To be informed of hospital or clinic rules which may affect you and your treatment.
  • To voice concerns in verbal or written format, without fear of discrimination or reprisal, and to have those complaints reviewed and resolved in a timely manner when possible. Patients or their loved ones may contact the manager of the department where care is received, or our Patient Relations Coordinator at 360‐428‐8248.
     

Treatment

  • To reasonable access to health care services without consideration of race, religion, color, sexual orientation, gender orientation, age, disability, national origin or source of payment.
  • To receive care in a safe setting, free from abuse or harassment.
  • To be treated with dignity, respect and compassion in person, over the telephone and in written communication.
  • To refuse or change your mind about any treatment, medications or procedure and to be informed of the medical consequences of such action.
  • To appoint a surrogate to make health care decisions, as permitted by law.
  • To be shown consideration for your personal privacy. The hospital, clinics, your provider and others caring for you will protect your privacy as much as possible.
  • To be free from any form of restraint, whether physical or pharmaceutical, that is not medically indicated.
  • To have your pain addressed and appropriately managed.
  • To be involved in care planning and treatment.
  • To access protective and advocacy services.
  • To follow your spiritual and religious belief and customs as much as possible.
  • To have a person of the same gender with you during certain exams and treatments.
  • To refuse to see or talk with anyone who is not directly involved in your care.
     

Visitation

  • To choose who may and may not visit you.
  • To designate a support person or representative.
     

Compliance

  • To be seen in a timely manner when you arrive for your appointment.
     

Billing Information

  • To receive an explanation of your medical bill, regardless of the source of payment and to receive information or be advised of the availability of any sources of financial assistance.
     

Medical Records

  • To access the information contained in your medical record and receive, on request and at a fee established by the State of Washington, a copy of your medical record except as limited by the law.
     

Confidentiality

  • To have all records pertaining to treatment be confidential, except as provided by law or third party contractual agreements.
  • To request information NOT be shared with health care plan/insurance when visit is paid in full out of pocket.
     

Patients may also contact:

DNV Healthcare, Inc.
400 Techne Center Drive, Suite 350 
Milford, OH 45150
Phone: 866‐523‐6842
Email: hospitalcomplaint@dnv.com

Washington State Department of Health 800‐633‐6828
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 800‐336‐6016


Your Responsibilities

You have the responsibility:

Treatment

  • To provide accurate and complete information to the best of your knowledge concerning your present symptoms, past medical history, hospitalizations, medications, advanced directives and other matters relating to your health.
  • To get all medical services from your chosen primary or specialty care provider, except in a life‐threatening emergency.
     

Communication

  • To make it known if you do or do not understand the planned course of medical treatment and what is expected of you.
  • To ask questions when you do not fully understand your health problems and the plan of care.
  • To fully participate in decisions involving your own health and accept the consequences of these decisions.
  • To tell your provider if you believe you cannot follow through with your treatment.
  • To provide a copy of your Advance Directive, if applicable.
     

Compliance

  • To keep appointments and to notify the appropriate department or provider’s office at least four hours prior to your appointment when unable to do so.
  • To be on time for appointments.
  • To follow the treatment plan agreed upon with your provider, including the instructions of clinical assistants and other health care professionals, and accept responsibility if you do not follow the treatment or care plan.
  • To follow our facility policies and procedures.
  • To be considerate of the rights and property of other patients and facility personnel.
  • To treat other patients, staff and providers with respect in person, over the telephone and in written communication.
  • To comply with Skagit Regional Health’s no smoking policy.
     

Payment

  • To make all co‐payments when due at the time of service.
  • To present your health insurance identification card whenever you need medical care.
  • To understand your insurance coverage and to resolve issues that may arise with your insurance company.To pay your bill or make arrangements for payment.
     

Copies of this document are available upon request, and in the following languages: English, Spanish and Russian.

 

JOINT NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES

SKAGIT REGIONAL HEALTH/PUBLIC HOSPITAL DISTRICT NO. 1, SKAGIT COUNTY, WASHINGTON
Effective Date: 09/25/2013

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.

If you have any questions about this joint notice of privacy practice (this “Notice”), please contact our Privacy Officer at (360) 814-8326 or by using the contact information listed below.

WHO WILL FOLLOW THIS NOTICE

This Notice describes the health information privacy practices of health facilities operated by Public Hospital District No. 1, Skagit County, Washington, doing business as Skagit Regional Health (“SRH”).  Facilities operated by SRH include:

  • Skagit Valley Hospital, Mount Vernon, Washington
  • Skagit Regional Clinics, including Anacortes, Arlington, Camano Island, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Sedro-Woolley, and Stanwood, Washington
  • Skagit Valley Kidney Center, Mount Vernon, Washington
  • Skagit Valley Hospital Regional Cancer Care Center, Mount Vernon and Arlington, Washington.
     

This Notice covers the information practices of the SRH facilities and that of:

  • All departments, units, and clinics of the SRH facilities
  • Any health care professional authorized to enter information into your medical chart, including independent practitioners on the SRH Medical Staff
  • All employees, staff, and other SRH personnel
  • Any member of a volunteer group we allow to help you while you are receiving services from SRH
  • Health care joint ventures in which SRH participates, including Cascade Imaging Associates, LLC, Skagit Digital Imaging, LLC, and Skagit Radiology
  • Residents, postgraduate fellows, medical students, and students of other health care professions or educational programs.
     

The independent practitioners listed above, who are not our employees, will follow this Notice when at SRH facilities but also likely will have separate privacy practices for care delivered at non-SRH facilities (for example, a physician’s office). You may request information from a non-SRH practitioner about any separate privacy practices followed by the practitioner at non-SRH facilities.

OUR PLEDGE REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION

We understand that health information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting health information about you as required by federal and state law. We create a record of the care and services you receive at SRH. We need this record to provide you with quality care and to comply with certain legal requirements.  Much of this information is maintained in an electronic medical record.   

HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose health information, which includes information related to your condition, care, and payment for services.  Not every use and disclosure in a category will be listed.

Member of Medical Information Network – North Sound (“MIN-NS”)
MIN-NS provides the exchange of health information and related services to hospitals, physicians, and patients in Skagit County and the North Sound region.  MIN-NS will collect health data from participating providers and aggregate it into a searchable summary to provide an up-to-date health history for providers and patients.  You may want to review the notice of privacy practices for MIN-NS.  If you wish to opt out of the data exchange, then please contact the Privacy Officer at SRH for assistance.

Uses and Disclosures of Health Information for Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations

For Treatment
We may use and disclose health information about you to provide treatment to you.  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. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Also, we may disclose health information about you to health care providers outside SRH facilities who may be involved in your medical care, such as your primary physician who will use information as part of your care.

For Payment
We may use and disclose health information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at SRH may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company, or a third party.  We may disclose information about you to other health care providers involved in your care for their payment purposes.  Information provided to health plans, for example, may include your diagnosis, procedures performed, or recommended care. We also may tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.

For Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose health information about you to run SRH and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care.  For example, we may use health information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance and training of our Medical Staff and other personnel. We also may combine health information about many SRH patients to decide what additional services SRH should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective.  We also may use and disclose health information to remind you of appointments and to tell you about health-related services and education that may be of interest to you.

Uses and Disclosures of Health Information if You Do Not Object
As long as you do not object, we may use and disclose health information about you in the following situations.

Directory Information
We may include certain limited information about you in the SRH facility directory. This information may include your name, location in the facility, and your general condition (e.g., fair, stable, etc.). This directory information may be disclosed to people who ask for you by name, unless you have instructed us not to make this disclosure. Also, unless you object, we may give members of the clergy your directory information, including your religious affiliation, even if they do not ask for you by name.

Individuals Involved in Your Care
We may disclose health information about you to a friend, family member, or other person you designate who is involved in your medical care or the payment for your medical care. 

Notification Purposes
We may use and disclose health information about you directly or to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort and so that your family can be notified about your condition and location.

Other Uses and Disclosures of Health Information Without Your Authorization
We may use and disclose information about you as may be required or permitted by law. We have not listed every type of use or disclosure, but the general ways in which we use and disclose information will fall under these purposes.

Others Who Help Us with our Operations
We may permit our business associates to create, receive, maintain, or transmit information about you as part of providing services to us. Examples of business associates include consultants, accountants, lawyers, medical transcriptionists, and third-party billing companies. We require our business associates to sign contracts that protect the confidentiality of health information, and business associates have their own privacy and security obligations.

As Required by Law
We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state, or local law.

Public Health
We may use and disclose health information about you for public health purposes. These activities generally may include: to prevent or control disease, injury, or disability; to report disease, births, deaths, and other vital events; to report reactions to medications; to notify people of recalls of products they may be using; to notify a person who may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; and to inform schools of a student’s immunization records, as directed by the student, parent, or guardian.

Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose health information about you to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure.

Lawsuits and Disputes
We may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We also may disclose health information about you in certain cases in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process.

Fundraising
We may use – and disclose to Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation (and possibly a business associate) – limited information to contact you to raise money to support SRH.  The money raised will be used to expand and improve the services and programs we provide the community. You have the right to opt out of receiving fundraising communications.

Law Enforcement
We may use and disclose health information about you for law enforcement purposes, which may include: 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 the victim of a crime; about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; about criminal conduct at a SRH facility; and in emergency circumstances to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description, or location of the person who committed the crime.

Victims of Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence
We may disclose health information to notify any appropriate government authority if we believe a person has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. We will make this disclosure only when required or authorized by law.

To Avert A Serious Threat
We may use and disclose health information to prevent a serious threat to the health and safety of you, another person, or the public.

Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors
We may disclose health information to coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors as necessary so they can carry out their duties.

Organ and Tissue Donation
We may disclose health information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye, or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ, eye, or tissue donation and transplantation.

Military and Veterans
If you are a current or former member of the armed forces, then we may disclose health information about you as required by military command authorities or for veterans’ benefits or related purposes.

Workers’ Compensation
We may disclose health information about you for worker’s compensation or similar programs.

Research
Under very limited circumstances, we may use and disclose health information about you for research but only as allowed by law.

National Security, Intelligence Activities, and Protective Services
We may disclose health information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, special investigations, and other national security activities as authorized by law or to protect the President or other authorized person.

Inmates
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, then we may disclose health information about you to an official of the correctional institution or the law enforcement agency.

Organized Health Care Arrangement
Solely for purposes of complying with federal privacy laws, SRH, its affiliates, and its Medical Staff characterize themselves as an “organized health care arrangement” and have agreed to follow this Notice for services by, at, or through SRH.  These providers may share health information with each other for treatment, payment, and the health care operations of the organized health care arrangement and as described in this Notice.   SRH is not responsible for actions by independent Medical Staff members.

Incidental Disclosures
Certain incidental disclosures of health information about you may occur as a by-product of permitted uses and disclosures.  For example, a roommate may inadvertently overhear a discussion about your care if you share a room.

De-identified Information and Limited Data Sets
We may use and disclose health information that has been “de-identified” by removing certain identifiers (such as name and address) making it unlikely that you could be identified.  We also may disclose limited health information, contained in a “limited data set,” as allowed by law.

Personal Representatives
Minors and incapacitated adults may have “personal representatives.”  These personal representatives may be able to act on the individual’s behalf and exercise the individual’s privacy rights.

Uses and Disclosures with Authorization
We generally will not sell health information about you, use or disclose health information about you for marketing, or use or disclose health information about you in psychotherapy notes without your authorization.  Other uses and disclosures of health information about you, not covered by this Notice will be made only with your written permission or authorization. You may revoke your authorization, in-writing, at any time (unless you are told otherwise at the time you sign the authorization).  If you revoke your authorization, then we no longer will use or disclose your health information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization, except to the extent that we already have relied on your authorization.  We are unable to take back any disclosures we already have made based on your authorization, and we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.  Certain information, such as information related to mental health, AIDS/HIV, substance abuse, and genetic testing, may be subject to additional protections under federal and state law.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING HEALTH INFORMATION ABOUT YOU

You have rights regarding health information we maintain about you.  You may request any of these rights in writing by contacting the Privacy Officer listed below.  

Right to Request Restrictions
You have the right to request restrictions on certain ways we use or disclose health information about you. Except as otherwise required by law, we are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, then we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.  We will agree to a restriction on information about certain services to be disclosed to a health plan if you pay for the services in full, subject to certain exceptions.  In your request, you must tell us:  what information you want to limit; whether you want to limit our use, disclosure, or both; and to whom you want the limits to apply.

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.  We will not ask you the reason for your request.  We will accommodate reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.

Right to Inspect and Copy
You have the right to request to inspect and copy, or to receive a summary of, certain health information maintained by us that we use to make decisions about you.  We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to health information, then in certain circumstances, you may request that the denial be reviewed. 

Right to Amend
If you feel that health information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, then you have the right to request that we amend the information that we use to make decisions about you. You must provide a reason that supports your request.  We may deny your request in certain situations.  If your request is denied, then you may write a statement of disagreement, which will be included in any disclosure of your records related to the subject of the requested amendment.  We may include a rebuttal statement.

Right to Information about Disclosures
You have the right to request information about certain disclosures we have made about you. This right is subject to certain exceptions and limitations.

Right to a Paper Copy of this Notice
You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice even if you accepted this Notice electronically. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time by requesting a copy from the Privacy Officer or the Patient Access Department.

OUR LEGAL DUTIES

We are required by law to:  maintain the privacy of health information about you; give you this Notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to the information we collect and maintain about you; follow the terms of the Notice that is currently in effect; and notify affected individuals following a breach of unsecured protected health information.

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 as well as any information we create or receive in the future.  We will post a copy of the current Notice in our facilities and you may request a copy of our revised Notice from the Privacy Officer or the Patient Access Department.

COMPLAINTS

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, then you may contact or submit your complaint to the Privacy Officer. You also have the right to file a written complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.  The quality of your care will not be jeopardized, and you will not be penalized (or retaliated against) for filing a complaint.

CONTACT INFORMATION

You may contact our Privacy Officer at:

The Director of Health Information Management
P.O. Box 1376
Mount Vernon, WA  98273-1376
360-814-2160.

Or you can email our Privacy Officer at: privacyofficer@skagitregionalhealth.org