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Emergency Medical Services Notice of Privacy Practices

The Baltimore County Fire Department's Emergency Medical Services Division (BCoEMS) takes seriously our patients' right to privacy regarding how medical information may be used and disclosed, and how the patient can access this information. The laws and regulations protecting your medical privacy apply whether you received emergency medical services from a career or volunteer unit. Please take the time to review the following privacy practices. 

The Patient's Rights

Breach Notification

You have the right to be notified of a breach involving your information.

Request Restrictions

You have a right to request a restriction or limitation on the health information BCoEMS uses or discloses about you. BCoEMS may accommodate your request, if possible, but is not legally required to agree to the requested restriction. If BCoEMS agrees to a restriction, BCoEMS will follow it except in emergency situations. You have the right to request that we not share your information about a particular  incident with your insurance company as long as you have paid the entire charge yourself.

Request Confidential Communications

Our normal method of contacting you is by mail to your home address and via the phone numbers you provide. You have the right to ask that BCoEMS send you information at an alternative address or by alternative means. BCoEMS must agree to your request as long as it is reasonable for us to do so.

Review or Request a Copy of Health Information

You have a right to review or request a copy of your health information. If your health information or a portion thereof is in paper-only format, there may be a copying and postage fee. You have a right to request what portions of your information you want copied and receive an estimate of the cost. If your records are in electronic format, you may request your information in electronic form and additionally may request that we transmit a copy of that information to a third party. The request for electronic copy and transmittal to a third party must be requested in a clear, conspicuous and specific manner. We may charge a fee based on cost of labor to produce the electronic copy.

Request Amendment to the Health Record

You may request in writing that BCoEMS correct or add to your health record. BCoEMS may deny the request if BCoEMS determines that the health information is: (1) correct and complete; (2) not created by us/not part of our records; or (3) not permitted to be disclosed. If BCoEMS approves the request for amendment, BCoEMS will change the health information and inform you, and will inform others that need to know about the change in health information.

Accounting of Disclosures

You have a right to request a list of the disclosures made of your health information for the six-year period prior to the date on which the accounting is requested. Exceptions are health information that has been used for treatment, payment and operations. In addition, BCoEMS does not have to list disclosures made to you, to others when based on your written authorization, when provided for national security, or when provided to law enforcement officials and correctional facilities. Additionally, BCoEMS will provide an accounting for disclosures made through an electronic health record for treatment, payment and health care operations, but information is limited to the three-year period prior to date of request. There will be no charge for up to one such list each year.

Copy of Privacy Notice

You have the right to receive a paper copy of this Notice/an electronic copy by email, upon request. You have the right to request this Notice in alternate format by contacting the Baltimore County Fire Departments Records Office by calling 410-887-2071.

Submit your request(s) in writing to:  

          HIPAA Compliance Office
          Baltimore County Fire—EMS 
          700 East Joppa Road
          Baltimore, Maryland 21204

Safeguarding Protected Health Information

BCoEMS is committed to protecting your health information. BCoEMS is required by law to maintain the privacy of your health information, and to provide you with this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your health information, and to follow the privacy practices described herein. 

BCoEMS reserves the right to change our privacy practices and the terms of this Notice at any time, and to apply the provisions of the revised notice to your health information that we obtained before revising the Notice. If this occurs, we will post the current version on our website and make it available to you at our service locations. You may obtain a copy of this Notice currently in effect by calling 410-887-2071.

Report a Problem About Our Privacy Practices

 If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint.

  • File a complaint with the Privacy Officer by calling 410-887-2077.
  • File a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights. You may call the County’s Privacy Officer for the contact information.

How BCoEMS May Use and Disclose Protected Health Information

All services you receive from BCoEMS programs, regardless of type or location, legally are considered a single record. BCoEMS employees will use your health information only as necessary and for the purposes described below. For use and disclosure beyond those described in this Notice, BCoEMS must have your written authorization. If you give such authorization, you may revoke it by notifying the Privacy Officer at the address listed at the end of this section. This revocation shall apply except where we have already used or disclosed information in accordance with the authorization. The following are some examples of our possible uses and disclosures of your health information.

For Treatment

BCoEMS may use or share your health information to provide treatment or arrange for health-related services, such as:

  • Emergency treatment at the scene of an accident
  • Life support during ambulance transport to a medical facility
  • Helicopter transport to a trauma center
  • To arrange for services from various county, state or private organizations
  • To notify a hospital of your condition so they can prepare for your arrival
  • To contact you about upcoming health and safety information or events

To Obtain or Make Arrangements for Payment of Health Services

BCoEMS may use and share your health information to obtain an authorization from your insurance company or to submit a health care claim. We may also coordinate health insurance benefits between insurance carriers. This includes any activities we must undertake to obtain reimbursement for the services we provide to you, such as providing documentation that an ambulance transport was medically necessary.

For Health Care Operations

BCoEMS may use and share your information to evaluate the quality of services we provide and to help maintain the high quality of those services. For example, our quality assurance team may evaluate your record to determine if you received appropriate care in accordance with our standard procedures. We may use your information when seeking legal guidance from our attorneys. We may also share your health information with federal, state or county auditors as required by law or regulation.

Other Uses and Disclosures of Health Information Required or Allowed by Law

  • Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services (MIEMSS): BCoEMS shares your health information with MIEMSS, which maintains a statewide data system established for collection of emergency response treatment information. MIEMSS was established by law to oversee and guide the delivery of emergency services in Maryland and is required to keep your health information confidential.
  • Information Purposes: Unless you provide us with alternative instructions, BCoEMS may send material about a particular program to your home.
  • Required by Law: BCoEMS may disclose health information when a state or federal law requires us to do so.
  • Public Health Activities: BCoEMS may disclose health information when BCoEMS is required to collect or report information about disease or injury, or to report vital statistics to other divisions in the department and other public health authorities.
  • Health Oversight Activities: BCoEMS may disclose your health information to other divisions in the department and other agencies for oversight activities required by law. Examples of these oversight activities are audits, inspections, investigations and licensure. 
  • Coroners, Medical Examiners, Funeral Directors, and Organ Donations: BCoEMS may disclose health information relating to a death to coroners, medical examiners or funeral directors, and to authorized organizations relating to organ, eye, or tissue donations or transplants.
  • Research Purposes: In certain circumstances, and under supervision of an Institutional Review Board or other designated privacy board, BCoEMS may disclose health information to assist medical research.
  • Avert Threat to Health or Safety: In order to avoid a serious threat to health or safety, BCoEMS may disclose health information as necessary to law enforcement or other persons who can reasonably prevent or lessen the threat of harm.
  • Abuse and Neglect: BCoEMS will disclose your health information to appropriate authorities if we reasonably believe that you are a possible victim of abuse, neglect, domestic violence or some other crime. BCoEMS may disclose your health information to the extent necessary to avert a serious threat to your health or safety, or the health or safety of others.
  • Specific Government Functions: BCoEMS may disclose health information of military personnel and veterans in certain situations, to correctional facilities in certain situations, to government benefit programs relating to eligibility and enrollment and for national security reasons, such as protection of the President.

Families, Friends and Other Relevant Parties

  • Your Care: In certain cases, your health information can be disclosed without authorization to a family member, close friend, or other person you identify who is involved in your care or payment for your care. Information describing your location, general condition or death may be provided to a similar person (or to a public or private entity authorized to assist in disaster relief efforts).
  • Workers’ Compensation: BCoEMS may disclose health information to workers’ compensation programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses without regard to fault.
  • Lawsuits, Disputes and Claims: If you are involved in a lawsuit, dispute or claim, BCoEMS may disclose your health information in response to a court or administrative order, subpoena, discovery request, investigation of a claim filed on your behalf or other lawful process.
  • Law Enforcement: BCoEMS may disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for purposes that are required by law or in response to a subpoena.
  • Fundraising:  BCoEMS may use your health information to contact you about fundraising events or to solicit a donation on behalf of our Volunteer Fire and EMS units. You have the right to opt-out of use of your health information for fundraising purposes. Call 410-887-2071 to opt out.
 
Revised April 27, 2021         

 

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