Privacy & Your Health Information
You have privacy rights under a federal law that protects your health information. These rights are important for you to know. Federal law sets rules and limits on who can look at and receive your health information.
Who must follow this law?
- Most doctors, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and many other health care providers
- Health insurance companies, HMOs, and most employer group health plans
- Certain government programs that pay for health care, such as Medicare and Medicaid
What information is protected?
- Information your doctors, nurses, and other health care providers put in your medical records
- Conversations your doctor has with nurses and others regarding your care or treatment
- Information about you in your health insurer’s computer system
- Billing information about you at your clinic
- Most other health information about you held by those who must follow this law
You have rights over your health information.
Providers and health insurers who are required to follow this law must comply with your right to:
- Ask to see and get a copy of your health records
- Have corrections added to your health information
- Receive a notice that tells you how your health information may be used and shared
- Decide if you want to give your permission before your health information can be used or shared for certain purposes, such as for marketing
- Get a report on when and why your health information was shared for certain purposes
- File a complaint
To make sure that your health information is protected in a way that doesn’t interfere with your health care, your information can be used and shared:
- For your treatment and care coordination
- To pay doctors and hospitals for your health care and help run their businesses
- With your family, relatives, friends, or others you identify who are involved with your health care or your health care bills, unless you object
- To make sure doctors give good care and nursing homes are clean and safe
- To protect the public’s health, such as by reporting when the flu is in your area
- To make required reports to the police, such as reporting gunshot wounds
Without your written permission, your provider cannot:
- Give your health information to your employer
- Use or share your health information for marketing or advertising purposes
- Share private notes about your mental health counseling sessions
Adapted from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights
If you believe your health information was used or shared in a way that is not allowed under the privacy law, or if you weren’t able to exercise your rights, you can file a complaint with your provider or health insurer. You can also file a complaint with the U.S. government. Go online to www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/ for more information.
While family and friends care about your progress, the hospital is required to protect your privacy. Our policy requires that the release of any medical information concerning your condition come directly from you or your designated Heath Care Proxy.
How do I get copies of my medical records?
A copy of your medical records can be obtained from our Medical Records Department. Records are ready in approximately 10 business days after your written request is received. Please call the Medical Records Department x3272 to discuss the procedure for obtaining your medical records.