Recipients of home health care in Illinois have certain inalienable rights of privacy guaranteed by the Privacy Act of 1974. Agencies who provide home health care and participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs are required by law to do a complete assessment of your current health status, which includes information which can be used to indicate your progress towards your goals. Home health agencies must use the OASIS – the Outcome and Assessment Information Set to evaluate your health. And to accomplish this, the agency must obtain information from you. This information will be used by the HCFA (Health Care Financing Administration, the government’s Medicare and Medicaid agency) to ensure that your agency meets quality standards, and administers its patients appropriate care. As a patient, you have the right to refuse to provide information to assess your agency. If you choose to provide information for the assessment, it is then protected by the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 and the HHA OASIS – the Home Health Agency Outcome and Assessment Information Set records system. You always have the right to examine, review, copy, and request corrections of your information in the HHA OASIS records system.The information which is collected will be used for a number of purposes. In the first place, it can support litigation which involves the Health Care Financing Administration, as well as support requests by constituents to Congressional representatives. The information is also used to support policy, regulatory, and reimbursement functions performed by the Health Care Financing Administration and by home health care providing agencies. The information is also used to study the quality and effectiveness of care which is provided by agencies providing home healthcare in Illinois. Assessments based on this information are used to survey and certify Medicare and Medicaid agencies; and they enable regulators to provide these agencies with data to improve the quality of their patient care. The information is also used to develop, validate, and refine the system under which Medicare disburses payments; and for health care payment related projects. It also supports the research and evaluation of epidemiological projects which relate to the prevention of disability and disease; or which maintain or restore health.The Health Care Financing Administration can release your information without your consent, but recipients of this information must agree in writing to continue the confidentiality of your information. Release of your health and independent retirement living information is permitted only to the Federal Department of Justice for litigation involving the Health Care Financing Administration; to agencies to assist them in improving their services; to state governmental agencies for evaluating the cost and effectiveness of state services; to congressional offices responding to constituent inquiries, made at the constituents’ written request; and to individuals and organizations researching epidemiological projects relating to disease or disability prevention. While you, the patient, are under no obligation to provide information on the OASIS (the government cannot instruct the agency to refuse you its services), nonetheless incomplete or invalid information can cause payment errors, and make it more difficult to determine whether the agency is providing you with quality service.
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