NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories
DISCLOSURE AT YOUR REQUEST
We may disclose information when requested by you. This disclosure at your request may require a written authorization by you.
We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, health care students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the dietitian if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. Different departments of the hospital also may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and X-rays. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside the hospital who may be involved in your medical care after you leave the hospital, such as skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and physicians or other practitioners. For example, we may give your physician access to your health information to assist your physician in treating you.
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at the hospital may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, we may need to give information about surgery you received at the hospital to your health plan so it will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment you are going to receive to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment. We may also provide basic information about you and your health plan, insurance company or other source of payment to practitioners outside the hospital who are involved in your care, to assist them in obtaining payment for services they provide to you.
FOR HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS
We may use and disclose medical information about you for health care operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the hospital and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine medical information about many hospital patients to decide what additional services the hospital should offer, what services are not needed, and whether certain new treatments are effective. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other hospital personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the medical information we have with medical information from other hospitals to compare how we are doing and see where we can make improvements in the care and services we offer. We may remove information that identifies you from this set of medical information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.
Psychotherapy notes as defined in HIPAA are maintained separately from the rest of the medical record and so are not part the medical record described here.
We may use information about you, or disclose such information to a foundation related to the hospital, to contact you in an effort to raise money for the hospital and its operations. You have the right to opt out of receiving fundraising communications. If you receive a fundraising communication, it will tell you how to opt out.
We may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory while you are a patient at the hospital. This information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g., good, fair, etc.) and your religious affiliation. Unless there is a specific written request from you to the contrary, this directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or rabbi, even if they don’t ask for you by name. This information is released so your family, friends and clergy can visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing.
MARKETING AND SALE
Most uses and disclosures of medical information for marketing purposes, and disclosures that constitute a sale of medical information, require your authorization.
TO INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN YOUR CARE OR PAYMENT FOR YOUR CARE
We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care. Unless there is a specific written request from you to the contrary, we may also tell your family or friends your condition and that you are in the hospital.
In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an organization assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location. If you arrive at the emergency department either unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate, we are required to attempt to contact someone we believe can make health care decisions for you (e.g., a family member or agent under a health care power of attorney).
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of medical information, trying to balance the research needs with patients’ need for privacy of their medical information. Before we use or disclose medical information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process, but we may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs, as long as the medical information they review does not leave the hospital.
AS REQUIRED BY LAW
We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
TO AVERT A SERIOUS THREAT TO HEALTH OR SAFETY
We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.
ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION
We may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
MILITARY AND VETERANS
If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIVITIES
We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:
To prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
To report regarding the abuse or neglect of children, elders and dependent adults;
To report reactions to medications or problems with products;
To notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
To notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
To notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law;
To notify emergency response employees regarding possible exposure to HIV/AIDS, to the Extent necessary to comply with state and federal laws.
HEALTH OVERSIGHT ACTIVITIES
We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs and compliance with civil rights laws.
LAWSUITS AND DISPUTES
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request (which may include written notice to you) or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
In response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
To identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
About the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement;
About a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct
About criminal conduct at the hospital;
In emergency circumstances to report crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.
To a public health authority in certain situations such as reporting a birth, death or disease as required by law, as part of a public health investigation, to report child or adult abuse or neglect or domestic violence, to report adverse event such as product defects, or to notify a person about expose to a possible communicable disease as required by law;
For health oversight activities including audits or government investigations, inspections, disciplinary proceedings, and other administrative or judicial actions undertaken by the government (or their contractors) by law to oversee the health care system;
For judicial and administrative proceedings as required by a court or administrative order, or in some cases in response to a subpoena or other legal process;
For law enforcement activities in limited situations, such as when there is a warrant for the request, or when the information is needed to locate a suspect or stop a crime;
For military, national defense and security and other special government functions;
To avert a serious threat to the health and safety of a person or the public at large;
For workers’ compensation purposes, and in compliance with workers’ compensation laws;
To coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors for identifying a deceased person, determining cause of death, or carrying on their duties as authorized by law;
If you are an organ donor, we may release health information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ donation and transplantation;
For research projects, but this will be subject to strict oversight and approvals and health information will be released only when there is minimal risk to your privacy and adequate safeguards are in place in accordance with the law;
We may use or disclose health information about you in a way that does not personally identify you or reveal who you are.
CORONERS, MEDICAL EXAMINERS AND FUNERAL DIRECTORS
We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES
We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
PROTECTIVE SERVICES FOR THE PRESIDENT AND OTHERS
We may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state or conduct special investigations.
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may disclose medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official
This disclosure would be necessary 1) for the institution to provide you with health care; 2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or 3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSONNEL TEAMS
We may disclose health information to a multidisciplinary personnel team relevant to the prevention, identification, management or treatment of an abused child and the child’s parents, or elder abuse and neglect.
SPECIAL CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION
In some circumstances, your health information may be subject to restrictions that may limit or preclude some uses or disclosures described in this notice. For example, there are special restrictions on the use or disclosure of certain categories of information — e.g., tests for HIV or treatment for mental health conditions or alcohol and drug abuse. Government health benefit programs, such as Medi-Cal, may also limit the disclosure of beneficiary information for purposes unrelated to the program.
YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU
You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you.
RIGHT TO INSPECT AND COPY
You have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but may not include some mental health information.
To inspect and obtain a copy of medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to