Protecting the privacy of our patients and their personal information is extremely important to us. Federal and State governments in the United States have enacted myriad laws aimed to ensure that healthcare providers (including dentists) implement policies and procedures to protect the privacy and integrity of patients' personal, health, financial, and other information. Complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is particularly important for dentists, as it outlines the rights that patients have regarding their information and the limitations on those rights (e.g.: right to restrict disclosure to a third party, and the limitation on the right to restrict disclosure when disclosure is to a healthcare provider for treatment purposes) , and provides important and effective safeguards against unwanted breaches of patients' privacy. A link to the full text of the HIPAA law is provided below. The letter of the law is a good point of reference in determining what rights and limits you have as a patient to your own information, the rights/ limitations given to/ placed upon dental practices and others when dealing with patient information and the rules they must follow when doing so, how to recognize if your privacy has been breached and what can be done about it, etc.
Our office strives to be fully compliant with HIPAA and other related State and Federal laws governing privacy and information security. We have created and implemented policies and procedures to protect our patients in accordance with HIPAA provisions. As such, and as required by law, we have a drafted a "Noticy of Privacy Practices" to inform you of our office's practices regarding our patients' information. This NPP is posted below for your review. New patients can expect to be shown the NPP upon arrival to their first appointment, and asked to sign an "Acknowledgment of Receipt of Notice of Privacy Practices" (also provided below for your convenience). The NPP and Acknowledgment of Receipt are just two of several forms HIPAA requires dental offices to provide to, or obtain from, their patients in specific situations and under certain circumstances.
Anyone who believes a dental practice is violating its legal obligations under HIPAA can file a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Violations may be punishable with fines, sanctions, etc., and it is illegal for dental practices to retaliate against complainants.A link to HHS information regarding complaints about HIPAA violations is provided below.