Effective April 14, 2003- Updated July 13, 2014
A federal law took effect on April 14, 2003, called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. One of the goals of this legislation is to set standards for the security and Privacy of health information. Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) understands that medical information about clients is personal and we are committed to protecting this information. This notice describes how medical information about clients in our office may be used and disclosed, and how clients can get access to this information. We also describe client rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of medical information. Please review this carefully.
The HIPAA law of 1996 requires us to:
• Keep medical information that identifies clients private;
• Give clients notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about them;
• Follow the terms of this notice.
Any protected health information (i.e. individual identifiable information such as names, date, phone/fax numbers, email addresses, demographic data) may be used in connection with our services to a client, payment of an account or health care operations. It is expected that any organization with which we share information is HIPAA compliant, and therefore ensuring the security of client information.
These are ways in which we may use or disclose medical information about a client:
• Health care providers may request information about a client in order to meet our needs. For instance, a prenatal care provider may request verification of a patient’s birth date before releasing results of their prenatal blood work to us. In another example, a baby’s pediatrician may request information on how milk has been supplied for the baby receiving donor milk.
• Medical information may be discussed with health insurers to verify eligibility for benefits, obtain prior authorization, or to bill and receive payment for the treatment and service provided by the MMBNT.
• Certifying, licensing and accrediting bodies may request information about our donors or recipients in order to verify our operation and compliance with standards.
• Staff of the MMBNT may need to review medical information in order to review the care provided, plan for future care, or educate staff.
• Staff of the MMBNT may use information to contact clients in order to check on pumping progress, paperwork needs or to inquire how an infant is progressing on donor milk. If we try to contact a client and they are not available we may leave a message with a family member or on an answering machine unless a client specifically asks us not to.
• We may display photos on our office bulletin board of donors or infants if they are sent to us by the donor or infant parent.
• We may provide medical information to our business associates so that they can perform certain functions or services on our behalf. These associates could include hospitals, blood and tissue laboratories or fundraiser organizations.
• We will disclose medical information about a client if we are required to do so by federal, state or local law.
• We may disclose medical information about a client when necessary to prevent a serious threat to a client’s health and safety or that of another person or the public.
• We may disclose medical information about a client for public health activities. These activities may include: the prevention or control of disease, reporting of donor milk recipients, or reporting laboratory test results.
• We may disclose information to researchers when their research has been approved by an institutional review board that has reviewed the research proposal and established protocols to ensure the privacy of a client’s health.
• Inadvertent disclosures of information may happen as a result of people overhearing conversations in the MMBNT offices. Every effort will be made to prevent this from happening.
These are the ways in which we keep personal health information private:
• Personal health information is kept in individual locking files in our office. The office is unlocked during office hours when staff members are present, but locked at all other times.
• Staff and volunteers who access files will be trained in issues of confidentiality and privacy.
• Publications coming from the MMBNT office will contain no personal health information.
• If someone requests information from a medical record for a legitimate reason, this will be documented in the client’s file.
• Personnel trained in confidentiality and privacy issues access the electronic records only through the MMBNT’s computers.
• Attention Donor Mothers: Milk containers with personal identifiers on them will be kept in bags in the freezer, accessed only by staff and volunteers trained in confidentiality and privacy issues. After milk is removed from your containers, they are discarded in opaque trash bags in a private dumpster. There is a slight chance that these could be accessed by someone other than MMBNT staff. Please only use your donor number on containers if you are concerned about your name or baby’s name being in the MMBNT dumpster.
Persons potentially inadvertently exposed to private information include:
• Staff of the MMBNT
• Breastmilk donors
• Students working at the MMBNT
• Breastmilk recipients or their guardians
Individual rights under this agreement:
• A client has the right to inspect or copy their record. To do this, please submit your request in writing to the privacy officer of the MMBNT.
• Amend the information contained in your record. Please send your request to the privacy officer in writing.
• Request an accounting of all disclosures of health information. Please send requests to the privacy officer.
• Request restrictions of access to a client record. Please send written request to the privacy officer.
• A client may also issue a complaint, without risk of retaliation, to the privacy officer of MMBNT or to the
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Amy M. Vickers, RN, MSN, IBCLC
Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas
600 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, Texas 76104