Privacy Policy:

This notice describes how information about you may be used or disclosed and how you can get access to said information. Please review this notice carefully. If you need help to read or understand the contents of this notice, please ask for assistance.

Federal law requires Family Service Association (FSA) to inform our clients ahead of time about the following:
1. How the organization will manage your Protected Health Information
2. Our legal responsibilities regarding client privacy
3. Your rights with regard to your medical information
How FSA May Use and Disclose Your Protected Health Information
The information we obtain from you and your health providers along with the record of care that you receive from FSA is considered to be ‘Protected Health Information’ or PHI. PHI is any information, whether oral, recorded or written in any form or medium that:
(A) Is created or received by a covered entity and
(B) Relates to the past, present, or future physical, mental or health condition including genetic information
Depending on the nature of the information to be disclosed, you may or may not have to give written Authorization for the disclosure or “sharing” of your Protected Health Information.
1. Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations: in many circumstances, FSA may legally use and share your PHI for treatment, payment, and health care operations. FSA does not have to ask for your specific permission (or written Authorization) to use and disclose your information for these purposes.
  • Treatment: FSA may use and share your health information to provide and manage your health care and social service needs. For example, FSA may need to share information to coordinate care with your primary care physician, visiting nurses, home health care personnel, or emergency technicians.
  • Payment: FSA will use and share your information to bill and collect payment for the health services provided. For example, our billing staff will contact your insurance company to ensure that the company will authorize payment for services.
  • Health Care Operations: FSA will use and disclose your information to facilitate our health care operations. Examples of FSA health care operations include but are not limited to:
o   Monitoring quality of care and making improvements when needed
o   Contacting clients for appointment reminders
o   Managing and analyzing health data
o   Sharing information with other FSA personnel for supervision, consultation or coordination of care
2. Other Uses and Disclosures (No written Authorization required): FSA may legally share your Protected Health Information without your specific permission. Some examples of this are:
  • As required by state and federal law and regulation
  • For health oversight activities, such as licensing and accreditation
  • Responding to a medical emergency
  • Reporting abuse and/or neglect of children, elders, or the disabled
  • With regard to people who have died; to coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors
  • To avert a serious threat to health or safety (threat to self or someone else)
  • Specialized government (intelligence) activities
3. Disclosures to your family, friends, and others involved in your care: FSA will talk with you to determine the type and degree of involvement and communication with friends and family members. FSA does not require but may request that you give written Authorization for disclosures to friends and family members. Upon admission and periodically throughout the course of your care, staff will talk with you about the continued involvement and communication with friends and family members involved in your care. FSA will not disclose any written information about your care to your family and friends without your written Authorization to do so. In the event of your death, FSA will continue to honor your expressed wishes in regards to communication with family and friends.
4. Psychotherapy Notes: FSA does not maintain psychotherapy notes (notes maintained outside of your medical record, for the therapist’s own use).
5. Disclosures prohibited by state or federal law: There are some uses and disclosures that require your written Authorization, even if the disclosure is for treatment, payment, or health care operations or to family and friends involved in your care. These include information pertaining to:
  • Substance abuse diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment
  • AIDS, ARC, or HIV status
  • ‘Confidential communication’ between you and your licensed social worker, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other licensed allied mental health professional
  • Results of genetic testing
  • Sexually transmitted disease
6. Marketing and Fundraising: FSA does not participate in any fundraising activities. FSA will not sell your Protected Health Information for marketing or fundraising purposes.
Your rights with respect to your Protected Health Information
1. Confidential Communications
You have the right to ask that your Protected Health Information be sent to you in different ways. Upon admission, FSA will note your preferences for telephone and mailed communications. FSA must agree to any reasonable request and cannot ask you to explain the reason for your request. FSA can require you to give information as to how payment will be handled and to what address a bill should be mailed.
2. Restrictions of Disclosures Related to Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations
You have the right to request a restriction on the use and disclosure of Protected Health Information for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations and should inform your provider if you would like to request such a restriction. Your request will be considered, but not necessarily granted if it interferes with treatment, payment or operations or other legally required or permissible disclosures. FSA will inform you of its decision regarding requests to restrict disclosures. If you pay out-of-pocket in full for all services rendered, you may request, and FSA will honor said request, to restrict disclosures to your health care insurer.
3. Revoking an Authorization
All clients have the right to revoke an Authorization. Revocations must be made in writing on either the original authorization or via separate correspondence to FSA.
4. Access
As a FSA client, you have the right to access your Designated Record Set, which includes all information stored within your Client Record and associated billing documentation.
All requests for record access must be made in writing. A form is available for your convenience but is not mandatory. To request an access form, you may contact the Family Service Association Privacy Officer at 508.730.1138, ext. 3111.
You may request the information be sent in electronic form if the information is available in that format. You may also request the information be sent to someone other than yourself.
FSA will respond to your request within 30 days. If your request is denied, FSA will explain the reasons in writing and inform you of your rights in the situation as they apply.
If you request a copy of your Designated Record Set, FSA will furnish you with an estimate of the cost which shall include:
  • the cost of copying and associated labor
  • the cost of postage, and
  • the cost of preparing a summary of the Designated Record Set, if you agree that you would like a summary provided in lieu of the entire record
Payment is required before materials will be sent. For more information on costs and formats available, please contact FSA’s Privacy Officer at 508.730.1138, ext. 3111.
5. Amendment
As an FSA client you have the right to amend any record in your Designated Record Set as follows:
  • Your request must be submitted in writing, giving the reason why you want to make the requested change.
  • FSA has the right to deny your request. If your request is denied you will receive notification in writing, which includes the reason for denial, and other steps that are available to you
  • FSA shall act upon all amendment requests no later than 60 days after receipt of such request. The agency may extend response time an additional 30 days and must provide you with a written statement with the reason for delay and the date by which FSA will complete your request.
6. Accounting
As a client of FSA, you have the right to request an accounting of all disclosures made from your designated record set, including:
  • A description of the information disclosed
  • To whom the information was disclosed
  • The purpose of disclosing the information
  • The date the information was disclosed
The accounting of disclosures must be in writing and cover the preceding six-year period.
The following disclosures are not accounted for:
  • Disclosures for treatment, payment, and health care operations
  • Disclosures made to you, the client
  • Disclosures made for national security, to correctional institutions, or law enforcement officials
Safeguarding Your Protected Health Information
FSA is obligated, by law, to protect the privacy of your Protected Health Information and to abide by all legally permissible restrictions and revocations. Procedures to ensure the security of your Protected Health Information include, but are not limited to the following:
  1. All FSA personnel, as a condition of employment, are required to abide by FSA’s Privacy Practices as detailed in organizational policy and this Privacy Notice. Training on privacy and security practices is provided no less than annually.
  2. FSA ensures that all Client Records are secured in a locked area.
  3. Retention of records is in keeping with organizational policy and varies, depending on program-specific requirements. For details on record retention requirements for the services you receive, contact the FSA Privacy Officer.
  4. All confidential discussions regarding client care are held in secure settings to avoid prohibited disclosures.
  5. Only individuals authorized to have access to your Client Record for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations are granted access.
  6. If Protected Health Information is breached, FSA will conduct a complete risk assessment. You will be notified of any breach if it is deemed that your information has been compromised.
If you think that FSA may have violated your privacy rights or you disagree with any action FSA may have taken with regard to your Protected Health Information, please contact the FSA program staff with whom you are directly involved or call the organization’s Privacy Officer using the information provided at the end of this notice.
Family Service Association reserves the right to change the Privacy Notice to accommodate changes in state and federal law or organizational practice. All updated notices will be available to FSA clientele on the organization’s Web Site (, within all program sites, and by outreach personnel to those individuals who receive home-based services. You will be offered a copy of the FSA Privacy Notice at least once per year.
Important Contact Information
FSA Privacy Officer
c/o Family Service Association
101 Rock Street
Fall River, MA 02720
(508) 730-1138, ext. 3111
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
Government Center
J. F. Kennedy Federal Building - Room 1875
Boston, MA 02203
(800) 368-1019
To view this policy in Spanish, please CLICK HERE.  For Portuguese, please CLICK HERE.
Keeping Families Strong

We are committed to providing a wide array of high quality programs and services designed to
strengthen and support individuals and families and to addressing the social service needs of our very diverse and changing communities.