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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is protected by HIPAA? Individuals receiving health care services provided by or paid for by a Plumas County Department or Agency.  Additionally, the health information of County Employees who are enrolled in the County Health Plan are protected, as is the health information of deceased individuals whose health care services were paid for or provided by the County.

What is a Notice of Privacy Practices?  The NPP is the document that informs patients or clients about their privacy rights and our privacy practices.  The NPP is posted in all County facilities providing health care services, is available on the County website, is also given to individuals being seen by a County health care provider, and anyone else who asks for it.

What information is confidential?  Any information about the health of an individual, which identifies or can be used to identify the individual is confidential.  This includes information that relates to the physical, mental or emotional health or condition of an individual and the provision of, or payment for, health care of the individual.  HIPAA applies to information communicated orally and in writing; it also apples to information stored in hard copy or electronically (on a computer, server, floppy drive, CD, PDA) and information being sent by e-mail.

Why do I need to know about HIPAA if I don't work around patients?  If you work for the County you may see confidential information.  Information Technology employees and fiscal employees may not see patients or clients but they will see confidential information about them.  If you walk through patient or client care areas on your way to your office, you may see individuals utilizing County services.  HIPAA says you must keep this information confidential.  That means if you see a friend or neighbor at the County as a client or patient, you must not disclose that to anyone else - not to co-workers, other friends, your family, or friends or family of the individual you saw.

May I share information or discuss clients with a co-worker?  HIPAA allows information to be used or disclosed when you have written, specific authorization from the individual OR for treatment, payment or health care operations.  Without written authorization, you may share information and discuss clients with co-workers ONLY if your co-worker needs to know the information to successfully perform his/her job, or the disclosure is made while you are officially conducting a medical review.

How do I file a complaint?  Individuals who believe the County has failed to handle health information in accordance with HIPAA may file complaints with the County or with the Office of Civil Rights.  The Notice of Privacy Practice contains addresses and telephone numbers where individuals may obtain more information or file complaints; it is available on the County website in both English and Spanish.  A complaint form is also available from the County website.

Individuals who wish to complain to the County may do so orally or in writing.
Complaints to the Office of Civil Rights must be in writing.  The information needed, and a complaint form, is available at the following website: How To File a HIPAA Privacy Rule Complaint

For Information relating to reporting violations of the Confidentiality Regulations, contact the United States Attorney for the judicial district where the violation occurred.
United States Attorney's Office
501 I Street Suite 10-100
Sacramento, CA.  95814
(916) 554-2910

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