How Your Health Information Is Used
How We May Use and Disclose Health Information About You Without Your Specific Authorization
The following categories describe different ways that we are permitted to use and disclose health information without specific authorization from you. If you desire to restrict our use of your health information for any of these purposes, you need to submit a request for restrictions in the manner previously described.
We may use information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose health information about you to nurses, technicians, or other personnel who are involved in taking care of you at Harper County Health Department (HCHD). Different departments of HCHD also may share health information about in order to coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work, and x-rays.
We also may disclose health information about you to people outside HCHD who may be involved in your medical care after you leave HCHD, such as family members, friends, or others we use to provide services that are part of your care. We will give you an opportunity, however, to restrict such communications.
We may disclose health information about you to other health care providers who request such information for purposes of providing medical treatment to you.
We may use and disclose health information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at HCHD may be billed to and payment may be collect from you, an insurance company, or other third party. For example, we may need to give your health plan information about treatment you received so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the treatment. 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 treatment.
We also may provide information about you to other health care providers to assist them in obtaining payment for treatment and service provided to you by that provider. We may also provide information to a health plan for purposes of arranging payment for treatment and services provided to you.
For Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose health information about you for our internal operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run HCHD and make sure that all our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use health information to review our treatment and services and to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also combine health information about many patients to decide what additional services we 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 personnel for review and learning purposes. We may also combine the health information we have with health information from other health care providers 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 health information so others may use it to study health care and health care delivery without learning who the specific patients are.
We may disclose health information about you to another health care provider or health plan with which you also have had a relationship for purposes of that provider's or plan's internal operations.
We may use and disclose health information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at HCHD. Unless you direct us to do otherwise, we may leave messages on your telephone answering machine identifying HCHD and asking for you to return our call. Unless you specifically instruct us otherwise in a particular circumstance, we will not disclose any health information to any person other than you who answers your phone except to leave a message for you to return the call.
We may use and disclose health information to contact you to assess your satisfaction with our services.
We may use and disclose health information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Health-Related Benefits & Services
We may use and disclose health information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that may be of interest to you, or to provide you with promotional gifts of nominal value.
We may use health information about you to contact you in an effort to raise money for HCHD and its operations. We may disclose health information to a foundation related to HCHD so that the foundation may contact you in raising money for HCHD. We only would release contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you receive treatment or services at HCHD. If you do not want HCHD to contact you for fundraising efforts, you must notify the privacy officer at 620-842-5132.
There are some services provided in our organization through contracts or arrangements with business associates. For example, we may contract with a copy services to make copies of your health record. When these services are contracted, we may disclose your health information to our business associate so they can perform the job we've asked them to do. To protect your health information, however, we require our business associates to appropriately safeguard your information.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment For Your Care
We may release health 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. In addition, we may disclose health 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.
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose health 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 special approval process. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of health information, trying to balance the research needs with patients' need for privacy of their health information. Before we use or disclose health information for research, the project will have been approved through this research approval process, but we may, however, disclose health information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project. For example, to help them look for patients for specific medical needs, so long as the health information they review does not leave HCHD. We will almost always ask for your specific permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address, or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care at HCHD.
As Required By Law
We will disclose health 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 health 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 & Tissue Donation
If you are an organ donor, we may use or disclose 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 or tissue donation and transplantation.
Military & Veterans
If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release health information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release health information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
We may release health information about you to your employer if we provide health care services to you at the request of your employer, and the health care services are provided either to conduct an evaluation relating to medical surveillance of the workplace or to evaluate whether you have a work-related illness or injury. In such circumstances, we will give you written notice of such release of information to your employer. Any other disclosures to your employer will be made only if you execute a specific authorization for the release of that information to your employer.
We may release health information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
National Security & Intelligence Activities
We may release health information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
Protective Services for the President & Others
We may disclose health information about you to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection to the President, other authorized persons, or foreign heads of state, or to conduct special investigations.
Inmates / Persons in Custody
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release health information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary for the institution to provide you with health care, to protect your health and safety of others, or for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
Public Health Risks
We may disclose health information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:
- To prevent or control disease, injury, or disability
- To report births and deaths
- To report child abuse or neglect
- 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 contract 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 the law.
Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include 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 & Disputes
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose health 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 or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
We may release health 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 HCHD
- In emergency circumstances to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description, or location of the person who committed the crime
Coroners, Medical Examiners, & Funeral Directors
We may release health information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release health information about patients of HCHD to funeral directors as necessary for them to carry out their duties.