1. Purpose of This Notice of Privacy Practices.
Each health care service provider under common ownership or control
by East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System (including
each ETMC hospital, hospital-based clinic, physician organization,
physician office, delivery site, ETMC Home Services, and ETMC EMS),
each referred to as the "ETMC Service Provider", and its
departments, sections, divisions, units, medical staff,
professional staff, employees, and volunteers follow the privacy
practices described in this Notice. The ETMC Service Provider
maintains your medical information in a confidential manner as
required by law; however, each ETMC Service Provider must use and
disclose your medical information to the extent necessary to
provide you with quality health care. To do this, the ETMC
Service Provider must share your medical information,
(electronically or otherwise), as necessary for treatment, payment
and health care operations. The ETMC Service Providers and
other covered entities participating in an organized health care
arrangement will also share medical information with each other as
necessary to carry out treatment, payment or health care operations
relating to the organized health care arrangement.
2. What Are Treatment, Payment, and Health Care
Operations? Treatment includes sharing information
among health care providers involved in your care. For
example, your physician may share information about your condition
with pharmacists to discuss appropriate medications or with
radiologists or other consultants in order to make a
diagnosis. The ETMC Service Provider may use your medical
information as required by your insurer or health plan to obtain
payment for your treatment, transport and/or hospital stay.
We also may use and disclose your medical information to improve
the quality of care, for example, for review and training
3. Health Information Exchange: ETMC Service
Providers may participate in state, regional, and/or national
health information exchanges (HIEs) and may share your information
electronically for treatment, payment and health care operations
with other participants in the HIEs. If you are like most
people, your health care involves a variety of health care
providers and related organizations - doctors, nurses, hospitals,
specialist, clinical laboratories, pharmacies and many
others. Many of these health care providers and organizations
have moved from paper records to electronic ones, and ETMC Service
Providers are taking advantage of this opportunity to make records
more accessible. To the extent permitted by applicable law, HIEs
may also contain information about substance abuse, mental health
conditions, and other conditions you may consider sensitive.
If you are concerned about some or all of your information being
shared in the HIE, you may want to consider opting out. Your
participation in an HIE is voluntary and subject to your right to
opt-out for any episode of care. If you do not opt-out, we
may share your health information with other HIE participants in
accordance with applicable law.
4. How Will the ETMC Service Provider Use or Disclose My
Medical Information? In addition to uses and disclosures for treatment, payment and certain health care operations, your medical information may
be used or disclosed, unless you ask for restrictions on a specific
use or disclosure, for the following purposes, as applicable:
- Appointment reminders.
- Family members or close friends involved in your care or payment for your
Red Cross (or a government disaster relief agency) if you are
involved in a disaster relief effort.
- To inform you of
treatment alternatives or benefits or services related to your
health that may be of interest to you.
required by law.
health activities, including disease prevention, injury or
disability; reporting births and deaths; reporting child abuse or
neglect; reporting reactions to medications or product problems;
notification of recalls; infectious disease control; notifying
government authorities of suspected abuse, neglect or domestic
oversight activities (e.g., audits,
inspections, investigations, and licensure).
enforcement (e.g., in response to a court order or
coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors.
- Organ and
research projects approved by an Institutional Review Board.
- To prevent
a serious threat to health or safety.
military command authorities if you are a member of the armed
security and intelligence activities.
of the President or other authorized persons or foreign heads of
state, or to conduct special investigations.
Inmates. (Medical information about inmates of correctional
institutions may be released to the institution.)
Compensation. (Medical information regarding benefits for
work-related illnesses may be released as appropriate.)
- To carry
out health care treatment, payment, and health care operations
functions through business associates,
e.g., to install a new computer system.
ETMC Service Providers that provide hospital or hospital-related
services may also use or disclose your medical information for the
following purposes (unless you ask for restrictions on a specific
use or disclosure):
- Hospital Directory, which
may include your name, general condition, and your location in the
- Religious affiliation, to
a hospital chaplain or member of the clergy.
- To contact you regarding
your interest in supporting the services and programs provided for
the community through the fund raising activities of the hospital
and/or hospital district foundation. You have the right to
opt out of receiving these communications.
Certain types of information may be subject to additional
restrictions on disclosure, such as substance abuse treatment
records, AIDS test results, and psychotherapy notes.
5. MyETMC™. In addition to the uses and
disclosures described above, ETMC has established a web-based
patient portal, called MyETMC™, which allows you to securely view a
summary of your medical information related to ETMC clinic and
hospital visits and also allows a secure, Web-based means of
non-urgent communication. If you would like to use the services of
MyETMC™, you must agree to the Terms and
Conditions of Use that are published on the
MyETMC™ website. Once you have been assigned
a user name and password and you have agreed to the Terms and
Conditions of Use, no further authorizations from you will be
required. If your MyETMC ™user name or password is
obtained by another person, your medical information may be subject
to improper disclosure. YOU SHOULD NOT REVEAL YOUR
MyETMC™ USER NAME OR PASSWORD TO ANYONE. YOU
SHOULD NEVER USE A PUBLIC COMPUTER TO ACCESS
MyETMC™. Please notify us immediately if you feel
your MyETMC™ account is being improperly
accessed. IF YOUR EMAIL IS ACCESSIBLE BY ANY OTHER PERSON, YOU RISK
UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION THROUGH
MyETMC™. For more information about
MyETMC™ and its services, please contact us by
telephone at 1-844-4-MYETMC (1-844-469-3862) Monday through Friday
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
6. Your Authorization Is Required for Other
Disclosures. Except as described above, we will not
use or disclose your medical information unless you authorize
(permit) the ETMC Service Provider in writing to disclose your
information. Specifically, ETMC Service Providers require
your authorization to use or disclose psychotherapy notes (with
limited exceptions); for most marketing purposes (excepting those
about ETMC services, face-to-face communications, and nominal
promotional gifts); or for the sale of your medical information
(ETMC Service Providers do not sell patients' medical
information). You may revoke your permission, which will be
effective only after the date of your written revocation.
7. You Have Rights Regarding Your Medical
Information. You have the following rights regarding
your medical information, provided that you make a written request
to invoke the right on the form provided by the ETMC Service
- Right to request restriction. You may
request limitations on your medical information we use or disclose
for health care treatment, payment, or operations. ETMC Service
Providers are not required to agree to your request, unless the
written request is for a restriction on sharing your information
with HIE participants, on the use or disclosure of your medical
information to an insurer or health plan for the purposes of
payment for healthcare operations, which you have fully paid for
out of pocket, or where use or disclosure is not otherwise required
by law. If we agree, we will comply with your request unless
the information is needed to provide you with emergency
- Right to confidential communications. You
may request communications in a certain way or at a certain
location, but you must specify how or where you wish to be
- Right to inspect and copy. You have the
right to inspect and copy your medical information regarding
decisions about your care. Under limited circumstances, your
request may be denied; however, you may request review of the
denial by another licensed health care professional chosen by the
ETMC Service Provider. The ETMC Service Provider will comply
with the outcome of the review. Access to certain information is
prohibited by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments.
- Right to request amendment. If you believe
that the medical information we have about you is incorrect or
incomplete, you may request an amendment on the form provided by
the ETMC Service Provider, which requires certain specific
information. The ETMC Service Provider is not required to
accept the amendment.
- Right to accounting of disclosures. You may
request a list of the disclosures of your medical information that
have been made to persons or entities in the past six (6) years,
but not prior to April 14, 2003. Such list will not include
certain disclosures, including disclosures made (i) to you; (ii)
pursuant to an authorization; or (iii) for treatment, payment, and
health care operations. After the first request, there may be
- Right to a copy of this Notice. You may
request a paper copy of this Notice at any time, even if you have
been provided with an electronic copy. You may also obtain an
electronic copy of this Notice at our web site, www.etmc.org.
- Right to be
informed of a breach. As required by law, ETMC
Service Providers will notify you in the event that a breach of
your protected health information
8. Requirements Regarding This Notice. Some of
the ETMC Service Providers are required by law to provide you with
this Notice. We will be governed by this Notice for as long
as it is in effect. The ETMC Service Provider may change this
Notice, and these changes will be effective for medical information
we have about you as well as any information we receive in the
future. Each time you receive health care services at or by
an ETMC Service Provider, you may receive a copy of the Notice in
effect at the time.
9. Complaints. If you believe your privacy
rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the ETMC
Service Provider or with the Secretary of the United States
Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be
penalized or retaliated against in any way for making a complaint
to the ETMC Service Provider or the Department of Health and Human
the ETMC Privacy Office at 903-596-3388 or the Privacy Hotline at
- you have a privacy complaint;
- you have any questions about this Notice;
- you wish to request restrictions on uses and disclosures
for health care treatment, payment, or operations; or
- you wish to obtain a form to exercise your individual
rights described in paragraph 7.