notice of privacy practices:

This notice describes how your medical information may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.

our responsibilities 

AIM Hospice takes the privacy of your health information seriously. AIM Hospice is required by law to maintain that privacy and to provide you with this Notice of Privacy Practices. This Notice is provided to tell you about our duties and practices with respect to your information. AIM Hospice is required to abide by the terms of this Notice as are currently in effect.

how aim hospice may use and disclose your health information

The following categories describe different ways that AIM Hospice uses and discloses your health information. For each category, an explanation of the category is provided, in some cases with examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways AIM Hospice is permitted to use and disclose your health information will fall into one of these categories.

treatment

AIM Hospice may use and disclose your health information to coordinate care within our agency and with others involved in your care, such as your attending physician, members of the hospice interdisciplinary team and other health care professionals who have agreed to assist us in coordinating your care. For example, AIM Hospice may disclose your health information to a physician involved in your care who needs information about your symptoms to prescribe appropriate medications. AIM Hospice may also disclose health information about you to individuals outside of AIM Hospice involved in your care, including assigned family members or relatives, pharmacists, suppliers of medical equipment or other health care professionals.

payment

AIM Hospice may use and disclose your health information to receive payment for the care you receive from us. For example, we may be required by your health insurer to provide information regarding your health are status, your need for care and the care that AIM Hospice intends to provide to you so that the insurer will reimburse you or AIM Hospice.

health care operations

AIM Hospice may use and disclose health information for its own operations to facilitate the functioning of AIM Hospice and as necessary to provide quality care to all of our patients. Health care operations include such activities as:

  • Quality assessment and performance improvement activities (QAPI).
  • Activities designed to improve health or reduce health care costs.
  • Contacting health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives and other related functions that do not include treatment.
  • Professional review and performance evaluation.
  • Accreditation, certification, licensing or credentialing activities.
  • Review and auditing, including compliance reviews, medical reviews, legal services and compliance programs.
  • Business planning and development, including cost management and planning related analusis and formulary development.
  • Business management and general administrative activities of AIM Hospice.

For example, we may use your health information to evaluate our performance, combine your health information with other AIM Hospice patients in evaluating how to more effectively serve all of our patients, disclose your health information to members of AIM Hospice workforce for training purposes, use your health information to contact you as a reminder regarding a visit, or contact you as part of general fundraising and community information mailings (unless you tell us you do not want to be contacted).

fundraising activities

AIM Hospice may use information about you including your name, contact information and the dates you received care, in order to contact you to raise money for our nonprofit hospice. 

appointment reminders

AIM Hospice may use and disclose your health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment or visit.

treatment alternatives

AIM Hospice may use and disclose your health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.

as required by law

AIM Hospice will disclose your health information when it is required to do so by any Federal, State or local law.

Public Health Risks. We may disclose your health information for public activities or purposes in order to:

  • prevent or control disease, injury or disability, report disease, injury, vital events such as death and the conduct of public health surveillance, investigations and interventions.
  • Report adverse events, product defects, to track products or enable product recalls, repairs and replacements and to conduct post-marketing surveillance and compliance with requirements of the Food & Drug Administration.
  • Notify a person who has been exposed to a communicable disease or who may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease.
  • Notify an employer abour an individual who is a member of the employer's workforce in certain limited situations, as authorized by law.
abuse, neglect or domestic violence

AIM Hospice is allowed to notify government authorities if we believe a patient is the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. AIM Hospice will make this disclosure only when specifically required or authorized by law or when the patient agrees to the disclosure.

health oversight activities

AIM Hospice may disclose your health information to a health oversight agency for activities including audits, civil administrative or criminal investigations, inspections, licensure disciplinary action. AIM Hospice however, may not disclose your health information if you are the subject of an investigation and you health information is not directly related to your receipt of health care or public benefits.

judicial and administrative proceedings

AIM Hospice may disclose your health information in the course of any judicial or administrator proceeding in response to an order of a court or administrative tribunal as expressly authorized by such order or in response to a subpoena, discovery request or other lawful process, but only when AIM Hospice makes reasonable efforts to either notify you about the request or to obtain an order protecting your health information.

law enforcement

As permitted or required by State law, AIM Hospice may disclose your health information to a law enforcement official for certain law enforcement purposes as follows:

  • As required by law for reporting of certain types of wounds or other physical injuries pursuant to the court order, warrant, subpoena or summons or similar process.
  • For the purpose of identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material witness or missing person.
  • Under certain limited circumstances, when you are the victim of a crime.
  • To a law enforcement official if AIM Hospice has a suspicion that your death was the result of criminal conduct, including criminal conduct at AIM Hospice.
  • In a emergency in order to report a crime.
coroners and medical examiners

AIM Hospice may disclose your health information to coroners and medical examiners for purposes of determining your cause of death or for other duties, as authorized by law.

funeral directors

AIM Hospice may disclose your health information to funeral directors consistent with applicable law and if necessary, to carry our their duties with respect to your funeral arrangements prior to and in reasonable anticipation of your death.

organ, eye or tissue donation

AIM Hospice may use or disclose your health information to organ procurement organizations or other entities engaged in the procurement, banking or transplantation of organs, eyes or tissue for the purpose of facilitating the donation and transplantation.

research purposes

AIM Hospice may under certain circumstances, use and disclose your health information for research purposes. Before AIM Hospice discloses any of your health information for research purposes, the project will be subject to an extensive approval process.

limited data set

AIM Hospice may use or disclose a limited data set of your health information that is, a subset of your health information for which all identifying information has been removed, for purposes of research, public health or health care operations. Prior to our release, any recipient of that limited data set must agree to appropriately safeguard your health information.

serious threat to health or safety

AIM Hospice may, consistent with applicable law and ethical standards of conduct, disclose your health information if we, in good faith, believe that such disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of your or the public.

specified government functions

In certain circumstances, the federal regulations authorize us to use or disclose your health information to facilitate specified government functions relating to military and veterans, national security and intelligence activities, protective services for the President and others, medical suitability determinations and inmates and law enforcement custody.

worker's compensation

AIM Hospice may release your health information for worker's compensation or similar programs.

other uses or disclosures of health information

Except as otherwise permitted or required by this Notice of Privacy Practices, AIM Hospice will not use or disclose your health information unless you provide written authorization. If you or your representative authorize us to use or disclose your health information, you may revoke that authorization, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your authorization, we will no longer use or disclose health information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization, except to the extent that AIM Hospice has taken action in reliance thereon. You understand that AIM Hospice is unable to take back any disclosures it has already made under the authorization, and that AIM Hospice is required to retain our records of the care that it has provided you.

your rights regarding your health information

You may have the following rights regarding your health information that AIM Hospice maintains:

  • the right to request restrictions. You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your health information. You have the right to request a limit on our disclosure of your health information to someone who is involved in your care or the payment of you care. AIM Hospice is not required to agree to your request, unless your request is for a restriction on a disclosure to a health plan for purposed of payment or or health care operations (and is not for purposes of treatment) and the medical information you are requesting to be restricted from disclosure pertains solely to a health care item or service for which you have paid out of pocket in full. If you wish to make a request for restrictions, please contact the Administrator at 361-729-0507.
  • the right to receive confidential communication. You have the right to request that AIM Hospice communicate with you in a certain way. For example, you may ask us to only communications pertaining to you health information with you privately with no other family members present. If you wish to receive confidential communications, please contact the Administrator at 361-729-0507. We will not request that you provide any reasons for your request and will attempt to honor your reasonable requests for confidential communications.
  • right to inspect and copy your health information. You have the right to inspect and copy your health information, including billing records. A request to inspect and copy records containing your health information may be made to the Administrator at 361-729-0507. If you request a copy of your health information, AIM Hospice may charge a reasonable fee for copying and assembling costs associated with your request. You have the right to request that we provide you, an entity or a designated individual with an electronic copy of your electronic health record containing your health information. We may require you to pay the labor costs incurred by us in responding to your request.
  • right to amend health care information. You or your representative have the right to request that AIM Hospice amend your records, if you believe that your health information is incorrect or incomplete. That request may be made as long as the information is maintaind by AIM Hospice. A request for an amendment of records must be in writing or does not include a reason for the amendment. The request also may be denied if it is not in writing or does not include a reason for the amendment. The request also may be denied if your health information records were not created by AIM Hospice, if the records you are requesting are not part of our records, if the health information you wish to amend is not part of the health information you or your representative are permitted to inspect and copy or if, in the opinion of AIM Hospice, the records containing your health information are accurate and complete.
  • ​right to an accounting. You or your representative have the right to request an accounting of disclosures of you health information made by AIM Hospice for certain reasons, including reasons related to public purposes authorized by law and certain research. The request for an accounting must be made in writing to the Administrator (see below). The request should specify the time period for the accounting. Accounting requests may not be made for periods of tie in excess of one (1) year. AIM Hospice would provide the first accounting you request during any 12-month period without charge. Subsequent accounting requests may be subject to a reasonable cost-based fee.
  • right to a paper copy of this notice. You or your representative have a right to a separate paper copy of this notice at any time, even if you or your representative have received this notice previously. To obtain a separate paper copy, please contact the Administrator at 361-729-0507.

changes to this notice

AIM Hospice reserves the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised notice effective for health information we already have about you, as well as any health information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current notice in a clear and prominent location to which you have access. The notice also is available upon request. The notice will contain, at the end of this document, the effective date. In addition, if AIM Hospice revises the notice, we will offer you a copy of the revised notice.

if you have questions regarding this notice

AIM Hospice has designated the Administrator as its contact person for all issues regarding patient privacy and your rights under the federal privacy standards. You may contact this person at 361-729-0507.

complaints

You or your personal representatives have the right to express complaints to AIM Hospice and to the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services if you or your representative believe that your privacy rights have been violated. Any complaints to us should be made in writing to the Administrator (see below). AIM Hospice encourages you to express any concerns you may have regarding the privacy of your information. You will not be retaliated against in any way for filing a complaint. The address for the Office of Civil Rights is:


Secretary of Health & Human Services

Region VI, Office for Civil Rights

US Department of Health and Human Services

1301 Young Street, Suite 1169

Dallas, TX  75202


contact person

AIM Hospice has designated the Administrator for all issues regarding patient privacy and you rights. You may contact this person at:


AIM Hospice

703 East Concho Street

PO Box 2300

Rockport, Texas  78381


Effective Date: This notice is effective September 23, 2013





members of:

 AIM Hospice...

...is a non-profit agency begun in 1987, which provided palliative care (comfort in dying) to the terminally ill in the counties of Aransas, San Patricio, Bee ,Refugio and Nueces. Our specially-trained team of nurses, aids, counselors, volunteers, chaplain and therapists work together with our Medical Director and the patient's personal physician. Our intent is that the dying person may feel as comfortable as possible while remaining at home with the family, if feasible. Our services also include all of the medications and supplies needed to manage the symptoms of the terminal diagnosis plus the durable medical equipment needed for the comfort and safety of the patient. This equipment may include a hospital bed, oxygen tank, bedside commode, wheelchair, walker or shower seat.


...care is available to patients in our service area who meet certain eligibility criteria and are under the care of a Texas-licensed physician. The term hospice is derived from the word "hospes" and referred to rest stops for travelers in the early days. Today it is used to describe services that are available to help the terminally ill live our the last few months of their life as comfortable and as actively as possible. Patients may receive services while living in their own home, in a nursing home or in the home of a caregiver. Dying is a natural part of living, yet each death is personal. When facing the end of life, one should not have to feel alone, in pain, or afraid that their caregivers will ignore their wishes or those of their families.


...provides individualized care for the terminally ill and their families, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religious affiliation or the ability to pay. To qualify for services, a physician must certify that the patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less. All patients must have a competent 24-hour-a-day caregiver unless they are eligible for our home-alone program.

can i keep my regular doctor?

Yes. Your doctor can remain the role of primary physician, approving admission to the program, delivery of services and changes in the plan of care. Your hospice team members will work closely with your doctor in administering your care.

when does hospice care stop?

Hospice care is provided as long as the patient and family need it. Should the decision be made to resume curative treatment, hospice care may be revoked and the patient immediately resumes regular Medicare coverage as applicable. Our care does not end with the death of the patient. We provide bereavement care for the family for one year after the death.

when is hospice care needed?

There is no definite time because each patient/family situation is different; however, experience has shown that early referrals are most helpful for everyone concerned. Hospice care may be needed primarily to help the patient and family adjust to the terminal diagnosis, learn how to care for the patient at home, and prepare for future changes. The hospice team implements a pain control and symptom management system and concentrates on enhancing the time remaining for patient and family.

who pays for hospice services?

AIM Hospice is a licensed and certified Medicare/Medicaid reimbursed agency. Virtually all costs to the patient are covered. If patients are uninsured, a sliding fee schedule is available, based on a patient's income and ability to pay. Some private insurance will pay 80-100% of hospice charges. There are no charges for volunteer services. No one is ever denied hospice service due to inability to pay.