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Privacy Practices

For the purposes of this statement, the health care components shall be referred to collectively as “Health Center.”  The term Health Center can encompass other Departments such as Athletics, Counseling Center, Health Services, Human Resources, Residential Life, Public Safety, Wellness Center or others if you have health information on file.  Certain laws and professional ethical standards require the Health Center to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of your personal medical information, but there are circumstances under which the Health Center may lawfully share your medical information without your consent.   This statement will tell you about the ways in which the Health Center may use and disclose medical information about you.

Your Personal Health Information

The Health Center understands that medical information about you and your health is personal.  We are committed to protecting medical information about you.  We create a record of the care and services you receive at the Health Center or by your personal doctor.  Your personal doctor may have a different policy regarding the use and disclosure of the medical information that is created in his or her office. 

In general when the Health Center releases your medical information, it will release only the information needed to achieve the purpose of the disclosure.  All of your medical information, however, will be available for release to you or another health care provider regarding your treatment, or pursuant to legal requirements.

How The Health Center May Use or Disclose Your Health Information

Under most circumstances, the Health Center may not use or disclose your personal health information without your consent.  Further, once your consent has been obtained, we must use or disclose your personal health information in accordance with the specific terms of that consent.  The following are the circumstances under which the Health Center is permitted by law to use or disclose your personal health information.

I .Uses and Disclosures Without Your Consent
  • Treatment:  A doctor may use the information in your medical record to determine which treatment option, such as a drug or surgery, best addresses your health needs.  The treatment selected will be documented in your medical record, so that other health care professionals can make informed decisions about your care.
  • Payment:  In order for an insurance company to pay for your treatment, the Health Center may submit a bill that identifies you, your diagnosis, and the treatment provided to you.  Currently Health Services only bills for certain vaccinations.
  • Health Care Operations:  The Health Center may need your diagnosis, treatment, and outcome information in order to improve the quality or cost of care the Health Center delivers. 
  • Health-Related Benefits and Services: The Health Center may use and disclose medical information to tell you about health-related benefits or services that might be of interest to you or to recommend other treatment options.
  • To those involved with your care or payment of your care:  If people such as family members, relatives, or close personal friends are helping care for you or helping you pay your medical bills, the Health Center may release medical information about you, include your location within our facility, your general condition, or your death.
  • For public health activities:  The Health Center may be required to report your health information to authorities to help prevent or control disease, injury, or disability.  This may include using your medical record to report certain diseases, injuries, birth or death information, information of concern to the Food and Drug Administration, or information related to child abuse or neglect. 
  • For health oversight activities:  The Health Center may disclose your health information to authorities so they can monitor, investigate, inspect, discipline or license those who work in the health care system or for government benefit programs. 
  • For activities related to death:  The Health Center may disclose your health information to coroners, medical examiners and funeral directors so they can carry out their duties related to your death.
  • For organ, eye or tissue donation:  The Health Center may disclose your health information to people involved with obtaining, storing or transplanting organs, eyes or tissue of cadavers for donation purposes.
  • For military, national security, or incarceration/law enforcement custody:  If you are involved with the military, national security or intelligence activities, or you are in the custody of law enforcement officials or an inmate in a correctional institution, the Health Center may release your health information to the proper authorities.
  • For workers’ compensation:  The Health Center may disclose your health information to the appropriate persons in order to comply with the laws related to workers’ compensation. 
  • As required by law:  The Health Center must report some of your medical information to state or federal legal authorities, such as law enforcement officials, court officials, or government agencies.  For example, it may have to report abuse, neglect, domestic violence or certain physical injuries, or to respond to a court order.
  • Lawsuits and Disputes:  If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, the Health Center may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order, subpoena or discovery request only if it has first given you notice of the order, subpoena or discovery request and an opportunity to quash it.
  • TO AVOID A SERIOUS THREAT TO HEALTH OR SAFETY:  As required by law and by the standards of ethical conduct, the Health Center may release your medical information to the proper authorities if it believes, in good faith, that such release is necessary to prevent or minimize a serious and approaching threat to your or the public’s health or safety.
  • AS OTHERWISE PERMITTED BY LAW.
II. Other Uses And Disclosures

Uses and disclosures for purposes other than described above require your consent.*  For example, the Health Center must obtain your consent before disclosing your medical information to a life insurer or to an employer, except under special circumstances such as when a disclosure is required by law.   You have the right to revoke your consent in writing at any time, except to the extent that the Health Center has already relied on it in making an authorized disclosure.

*Please note that all authorizations for the release of health information are kept in students’ medical files for the Department of Health Services.

III. Specific Provisions Regarding Psychological/Counseling Records

The confidentiality of counseling relationships is maintained in a manner consistent with accepted professional standards and with state and federal law.  Under normal circumstances, no persons outside the Counseling Center, including your parents and other College officials are given any information (even the fact that you have been to the Counseling Center) without your prior written consent, except where it is permitted or required by law to disclose the information as follows:

  • If the Counseling Center believes that YOU MAY BE AT RISK OF HARMING OR KILLING YOURSELF, it is required to take action to try to ensure you safety.  Under such circumstances, it may be necessary for the Counseling Center to seek hospitalization for you and/or contact family members or other individuals who might also help provide protection.
  • If the Counseling Center believes that YOU MAY BE AT RICK OF HARMING OR KILLING ANOTHER PERSON OR PERSONS, it is required to take action.  In such instances, it may be necessary to warn the potential victim, to notify the campus and local police, and/or to seek hospitalization.
  • If there is SUSPECTED EMOTIONAL OR PHYSICAL INJURY TO OR NEGLECT OF A DISABLED PERSON (including nonconsensual sexual activity), the Counseling Center is required by law to inform the Disabled Person’s Protection Commission and any other appropriate agencies.
  • In instances of SUSPECTED EMOTIONAL OR PHYSICAL INJURY TO OR NEGLECT OF AN ELDERLY PERSON (including financial exploitation), the Counseling Center is required by law to inform the Department of Elder Affairs.
  • If YOU FILE A COMPLAINT OR LAWSUIT AGAINST THE COUNSELING CENTER OR ONE OF ITS COUNSELORS OR STAFF, the Counseling Center may disclose relevant information regarding you in order to defend itself and its licensed personnel.
  • In the event of a COURT ORDER OR OTHER MANDATORY LEGAL PROCESS, the Counseling Center may be required to release records to the court.              

If you have any questions about confidentiality, please talk with your counselor or contact the Counseling Center during office hours.

IV.  Your Rights To Your Medical Information

You have several rights with regard to your health information.  If you wish to exercise any of the following rights, please contact the Director of the Department holding your medical records.  Specifically, you have the right to:

A . Inspect and copy your health information:  With a few exceptions, you have the right to inspect and obtain a copy of your medical information. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but does not include psychotherapy notes or information gathered for judicial proceedings. The Health Center can charge you a reasonable fee if you want a copy of your medical information.

B. Request to amend your health information:  If you believe your health information is incorrect, you may ask the Health Center to correct the information for as long as it is kept by the Health Center.  To request an amendment, you must make your request in writing to the Director of the Department holding your medical information and you must also give a reason as to why your health information should be changed. 

The Health Center may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing; if it does not include a reason to support the request; the Health Center disagrees with you and believes your medical information is correct; the information is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect or copy eg. psychotherapy notes; the Health Center did not create the medical information that you believe is incorrect; or, if the information is not kept by or for  the Health Center.

C.  As applicable, receive confidential communication of health information:  You have the right to ask that we communicate your health information to you in different ways or places.  For example, you may wish to receive information about your health status in a special, private room or through a written letter sent to a private address.  The Health Center will accommodate reasonable requests of this nature.

Changes To This Statement

The Health Center reserves the right to change the privacy practices described in this statement, in accordance with the law.  If changes to the Privacy Practices are made, a revised statement will be posted at all health service delivery sites on campus and will be made available to you at your request.  The revised statement will also be posted on the College’s website.  IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS REGARDING YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS AND FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT HOLDING YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION.

Reviewed 10/2015