Notice Of Privacy Practices:
Consumers' Rights as Mandated by The Department of Health and Human Services
and The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) of 1996
Effective Date: 4/14/2003
As part of a national standard with regard to Protected Health Information (PHI), you can now expect pharmacies to comply with a new set of regulations and you will now have more control over PHI and how it may be used.
At ALCO, we have always guarded PHI according to stringent industry standards and refused to participate in unnecessary disclosures. Therefore you will only notice some slight changes in order for us to comply with the new regulations:
**When visiting our facility, we can only allow licensed health care providers to enter behind the counter. Any guest, delivery or salesperson or other visitor must be escorted at all times by an employee of ALCO Pharmacy.
**Medical records—we will only release medical records for tax and insurance purposes after a separate, signed request has been received at ALCO for each individual record. These can only be released to the individual or the parent or guardian of a child or disabled adult who has legal authority to make health care decisions on their behalf. For PHI for a deceased person, only the executor of the estate, next of kin or family member or power of attorney will be able to attain the records. A record of requests is required to remain onsite for a period not to exceed 6 years.
Some of the changes required in our pharmacy are not visible to the public and you can be assured that we are doing everything possible to meet federal standards. These changes are complex and involve such diverse areas of operations such as our computer systems and communications with insurance companies, trash disposal and even who is allowed to be in the pharmacy. Our web site has been designed with strict adherence to these standards for protecting the PHI of our clients. In addition, we are storing our files electronically and backing up the data each night to a protected, off site server.
You should know that is it permissible for us to use and disclose PHI in many ways without written consent but we make every effort to limit disclosure based on the circumstance. For instance, we can share PHI with other health care providers if we are discussing health care needs or have questions about a prescription order or possible drug interaction or if we send, receive, or need an order from another pharmacy. We can discuss medications for billing and payment purposes with insurance companies and accounting staff. A technician, pharmacist and/or driver employed by ALCO Pharmacy can deliver medication orders and check identification of those receiving the orders. We gather and use information for numerous administrative and planning purposes. And, finally, we can disclose information for public health and safety reasons, to comply with health care oversight activities (such as audits and inspections), to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services to demonstrate our compliance with HIPAA, to respond to an order of a court or administrative tribunal such as a warrant, subpoena or summons, to a law enforcement official for law enforcement purposes as required by law and to assist a coroner or medical examiner to determine cause of death.
We are also allowed to send refill reminders via mail, phone or fax without written consent and to call appropriate staff if we have questions. However, should you prefer that we communicate with you and your staff in another way, we will need written notice from you to this effect and every effort will be made to accommodate your request. You will also need to submit a written request to deny other uses of PHI but these will only be granted if they do not impede the workflow to provide appropriate health care.
You also have the right to receive an accounting of disclosures of PHI but it is not to include (i) disclosures necessary to provide treatment, to determine proper payment or to operate ALCO Pharmacy, (ii) disclosures we make to you and/or your staff, (iii) disclosures permitted by your authorization, (iv) disclosures to family members or because of an emergency, or (v) disclosures for national security purposes. There is no charge for the first request within a 12-month period but any additional requests will carry a nominal fee to be discussed at the time of request.
At ALCO Pharmacy, our top priorities are the health care needs of our clients and providing the most professional service possible.
Compliance with these new privacy regulations require only minor changes as we feel we already have secure internal procedures in place.
If you feel that the privacy of your clients has in any way been violated here at ALCO Pharmacy, you should let us know immediately. Federal law prohibits retaliation against any person for filing such a complaint. We take complaints of this and any nature very seriously and will do all we can to correct the situation. You may also file a formal complaint with our company and/or the US Department of Health and Human Services:
11435 Cronhill Road Suite A
Owings Mills, MD 21117
Attn: privacy officer
US Department of Health and Human Services
Office for Civil Rights
200 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20201
ALCO Pharmacy reserves the right to change or alter the terms of this notice at any time