Overview of Rights as a Patient under State and Federal
SERVICES AVAILABLE AT FACILITY:
TECHealth, an Emergency Services Company, owns and operates The Emergency Center, a free-standing emergency facility. The Emergency Center services include the diagnosis, care and stabilization of emergent medical conditions. Our facility is always open (24-hour a day) and staffed and equipped with diagnostic and treating equipment and medications. Since we are a fully functioning emergency department, our fees and charges are in line with acceptable emergency department charges for the local area.
FEES FOR SERVICES PROVIDED:
Fees for services provided are market-based to be equal to or less than community emergency departments. Fees are assessed based on emergency room treatment and not urgent care or medical clinic treatment.
Our payment policy reflects Texas obligations to treat and stabilize all emergent conditions regardless of patient ability to pay. We also provide additional discounts based on hardship and prompt payment as is common in the industry.
RIGHT OF ACCESS TO HEALTH RECORDS:
State and federal laws give you the right to ask to review and obtain a copy of your health records from most health care providers such as doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and nursing homes, as well as from your health plan. Your provider may have a form you can use to request your records. In a few special cases, such as instances in which your doctor decides that information in the file may endanger you, you may not be able to obtain all of your information.
A provider may charge for the reasonable costs of copying and mailing your records if you request copies and mailing but may not charge a retrieval fee.
Texas law specifies that if the provider is using an electronic health records system capable of fulfilling the request, the records must be provided not later than the 15th business day after the date your provider receives your written request. The records must be provided to you in electronic form unless you have agreed to accept the records in another form.
RIGHT TO AMEND INFORMATION IN YOUR HEALTH RECORDS:
If you believe that information in your medical records is incorrect, you have the right to request that the provider or health plan correct or amend the record and they must respond to your request. If the provider or health plan does not agree to make your requested corrections, they must notify you in writing and tell you why your request was denied. You have the right to submit a statement of disagreement that the provider or plan must add to your record.
RIGHT TO KNOW HOW YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION WILL BE USED AND SHARED AND TO LIMIT WHO GETS TO SEE IT:
Your provider or health plan must give you a notice of their privacy practices that informs you of three things: (1) the uses and disclosures of your PHI which they are permitted to make; (2) other disclosures which require your authorization; and (3) that in the event of a breach of unsecured PHI, you will receive a notice of that breach. This notice of privacy practices will generally be provided on your first visit to a provider or in the mail from your health plan. You can also obtain a copy at any time that you request it.
In general, your health information cannot be used or shared for other purposes including sales calls or advertising, unless you first give your permission by signing a form authorizing such use. The authorization form must tell you who will get your information and what your information will be used for. Generally, this type of authorization is not required if the disclosure of your health information is for the purpose of treatment, payment, health care operations or performing certain insurance or health care maintenance organization functions.
Under certain circumstances, a covered entity may disclose PHI without the authorization of the person who is the subject of the protected information. Those circumstances include, but are not limited to, disclosures made to or in connection with a health oversight agency for audits and investigations, a threat to public safety, and situations involving victims of abuse or neglect. Also, if you are incapacitated or in an emergency, providers sometimes may use or disclose your PHI without your authorization if, in the exercise of medical judgment, they determine it is in your best interests. Your PHI may also be disclosed without your authorization if the disclosure is required by law, including a subpoena or court order.
RIGHT TO LIMIT MARKETING USES OF PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION:
In general, your health information cannot be used or shared for marketing communications without your authorization. Certain exceptions apply including face to face communications between a covered entity and an individual.
If your PHI is used or disclosed to send a written marketing communication through the mail, that mailing must include the name and toll-free number of the entity which sent you the marketing communication and an explanation of your right to have your name removed from the sender’s mailing list. In addition, the mailing must be in an envelope which shows only the name and address of the sender and recipient.
PATIENT CONDUCT AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
As a patient, you have the responsibility to:
-Provide complete and accurate information regarding your personal information, including your full legal name, address, telephone number, date of birth, social security number, insurance coverage, and employer when required, and pay your bills in a timely manner. Also, provide complete and accurate information regarding your health and medical history including: present condition, past illnesses, changes in condition, hospital stays, medications, and vitamins.
-Remain free of the influence of or possession of illegal drugs, alcohol, or a weapon while on the premises of this facility.
-Follow infection control procedures, both for yourself and your visitors, and learn about your health issues and treatment.
-Comply with all your physicians’ requests and acknowledge that your failure to comply with treatment times or schedules, medications, diet and fluid restrictions, and other orders may correlate with declining health or possibly death.
-Cooperate with the staff member assigned to provide care for you. If you are uncomfortable with a specific staff member assigned to your care, notify the manager of your concern(s).
Patients and their families must be considerate of The Emergency Center staff and property, as well as the rights of other patients and their property. The Emergency Center maintains no tolerance for any threats, threatening behavior, or acts of violence by patients, their family members, visitors, volunteers, or employees.
TO FILE A COMPLAINT OR SUGGESTION
To file a complaint or a suggestion at the local facility, contact the facility director. All complaints will then be handled through our Patient Complaints Policy.
Additionally, complaints in Texas may be directed to:
Department of State Health Services
Patient Quality Care Unit – Health Facility Compliance
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1979
Austin, TX 78714-9347
Under the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act, consumers have the right to file a complaint with the state agencies that regulate covered entities as well as with the Texas Attorney General. For a list of those agencies, contact information and detailed information regarding each agency’s complaint process, go to https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/list-of-regulatory-agencies.
To file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Texas Attorney General, go to https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint.
If you believe your protected health information has been used or disclosed in violation of HIPAA, you have the right to complain to the federal Office of Civil Rights which has authority to investigate complaints against HIPAA covered entities and their business associates:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 509F; HHH Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Region VI – Dallas (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)
Ralph Rouse, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1301 Young Street, Suite 1169
Dallas, TX 75202
Voice Phone (214) 767-4056
FAX (214) 767-0432
TDD (214) 767-8940