Privacy of Health Information
SDGF is required to maintain medical history forms as well as signed consent/non-consent forms for medical treatment for each program participant. In those cases where consent has been granted for medical treatment, SDGF is authorized to share medical information about you with emergency health care providers, on a need-to-know basis. For the purposes of this discussion, the following terms are defined:
Treatment: this means the provision, coordination, and/or management of health care and related services by one or more health care providers. An example of this would be the disclosure of your Protected Health Information (PHI) to providers outside of SDGF who are connected to your health care treatment.
Payment: this refers to reimbursement for any services that are related to your treatment, and also including but not limited to confirmation of coverage, billing services, or collection services and utilization review.
Health Care Operations: this includes the business aspects of medical practice, such as quality assessment/control, auditing functions, cost-management analysis, and customer services. It is also understood that SDGF may be required to disclose protected health information about you to nurses, therapists, students, and other health care personnel who are involved in your care and treatment.
SDGF will, from time to time, be requested to participate in ongoing research studies in the service dog industry. For the purposes of this research, SDGF may release de-identified, aggregate data regarding our program participants.
Legal authority to make health care decisions for minors or others.
Usually, the health information rights for a minor are extended to the minor's parents or legal guardians. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. For example, some health care decisions may be provided for a minor without the consent of a parent or guardian under implied consent, in cases where a delay in treatment could have devastating consequences.
SDGF may, without prior consent, disclose protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, or health care options to a minor under the following circumstances:
- In an emergency treatment situation, if we attempt to obtain such consent as soon as is reasonably possible after delivery of such treatment
- If we are unsuccessful in reaching the parent/guardian to obtain consent, or in cases where we are presented with a significant communication barrier and determine, in our professional judgment, that your consent to treatment is clearly implied by circumstances
- To avert a serious threat to the health or safety of yourself or others in the event that any SDGF staff becomes aware of a credible threat that you (or your dependent) intend to cause harm to yourself or others, we will take the necessary steps to notify the authorities to prevent such threat from becoming a reality.
- Student interns- SDGF reserves the right to share information, as needed, with students who are interning with SDGF and may be required to supervise any activities in which you may participate. In the event that you object to information sharing with an SDGF intern, you have the right to object in writing to prevent the sharing of such information.
- Photo releases are obtained for all students, and all photos and/or videography that are obtained during your participation in any of our programs are the exclusive property of SDGF. SDGF reserves all rights to these photos/videography. In the case of students who change their mind and no longer wish to be photographed, you may submit written notice of such decision and no further images will be obtained. All images taken prior to the date of this notice, however, continue to be the property of SDGF and may be used for publicity or training purposes in accordance with prior written permission (per the terms of the Photo Release form)
- Military-SDGF may disclose your protected health information as required by military command authorities if you are in the armed services.
- Workers Compensation-SDGF may disclose your protected health information if required by workers compensation or similar programs to the extent necessary in order to comply with laws relating to workers compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness, as established by law.
- Public health entities-as required by law the SDGF may disclose protected information about you to the Georgia Department of Public Health in order to:
- Prevent or control disease, injury, or disability;
- Report suspected child abuse or neglect;
- Notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease or donation;
- Notify the appropriate government authority if we believe that a client may have been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure subject to certain requirements when mandated and authorized by law;
- Notify the appropriate authorities in cases where a program participant informs SDGF that they are intending to harm, neglect, or abuse themselves or others, in order to protect the other person and our client.
- Lawsuits and legal disputes- SDGF may disclose protected health information about you in cases of legal disputes to the extent that we are required to cooperate in any ongoing investigations.
SDGF is required to inform you of our privacy policies as well as our legal duties as they pertain to your protected information. This notice is prepared and effective as of January 1, 2022, and we are required to abide by the terms and conditions of this notice. We are also required to provide you with written notice of any revisions that may occur during the time that you are involved as a program participant with SDGF. If you believe that your privacy has been violated, you may contact one or both of the following departments:
SD Gunner Fund, Inc. (SDGF)
24 Cheney Court, Richmond Hill, GA 31324
Office of Civil Rights; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1301 Young St. Suit 1169 200 Independence Ave. SW
When contacting us, please provide us with as much detail as possible so that your complaint may be fully investigated without delay. You will not be penalized for the filing of any complaint. A signed copy of this page MUST be returned to SDGF within seven business days of receipt.