How We Use Your Information Without Authorization
Information obtained will be recorded in your file in order to get you the care you need. For example, a doctor or nurse may need to consult with another specialist, clinic, lab, etc. for the best treatment.
Limited information is shared with doctors, clinics and others who bill for your care. We may forward bills to other health plans for payment.
For Health Care Operations
In addition to general administration, we may share information with other organizations to accomplish certain tasks, such as quality improvement, audits, investigations, testing and planning. Those organizations must safeguard your information.
Additional ways that we may share your information:
- Appointments/Other Notifications: We may need to contact you (your family, friend or personal representative if involved in your care or payment for your care) in an emergency, or to tell you about an appointment or available health benefits, refills, exams or programs.
- Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors: Some laws require health information to be shared with funeral directors, coroners or medical examiners in order for them to carry out their duties.
- Correctional Institutions: If you are an inmate, protected health information may be legally shared as necessary.
- For Specialized Governmental Functions: Health information may be provided for reasons of national security, intelligence or to public assistance programs.
- Judicial/Administrative Proceedings: We may share health information for judicial and administrative purposes as required by law, such as in lawsuits or court-ordered Workers’ Compensation actions.
- Law Enforcement: We may share health information for certain law enforcement purposes, including laws that require reporting of certain types of wounds or other physical injury or abuse, or crimes against program employees or on program premises. Sharing is also allowed to identify a suspect, fugitive, witness or missing person.
- Organ Procurement Organizations: Health information may be shared with organizations that obtain, store or transplant organs or tissue according to law.
- Oversight Agencies: Certain agencies that oversee health care systems may receive health care information as part of their audits, civil, administrative or criminal investigations, inspections, licensures or disciplinary actions, and for similar reasons.
- Research: We may disclose information to specific approved researchers who are also required to protect your health information.
- Threat to Health and Safety: Health information may be shared in the case of a threat to the health or safety of a person or the public, such as a terrorist attack, medical emergencies, serious risk of disease, injury or disability, or emergency disaster relief.
- Victims of Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence: If health providers believe disclosure of information is necessary to prevent or discontinue serious harm to someone, that information may be shared with certain governmental agencies.
We may provide your protected health information to public health or legal authorities charged with preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability, including reporting of vital statistics.
Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
Your health information may be provided to the FDA if related to reactions to food, supplements, products and product defects, or post-marketing surveillance information to enable product recalls, repairs, or replacements.
- Business Associates: We may disclose your health information to contractors, agents and other “business associates” who need the information in order to assist us with obtaining payment or carrying out our business operations. For example, we may share your health information with a billing company that helps us to obtain payment from your insurance company, or we may share your health information with an accounting firm or law firm that provides professional advice to us. If we do disclose your health information to a business associate, we will have a written contract to ensure that our business associate also protects the privacy of your health information. If our business associate discloses your health information to a subcontractor or vendor, the business associate will have a written contract to ensure that the subcontractor or vendor also protects the privacy of the information.
- De-Identified Information: We may use and disclose your health information if we have removed any information that has the potential to identify you so that the health information is “completely de-identified.” We may also use and disclose “partially de-identified” health information about you if the person who will receive the information signs an agreement to protect the privacy of the information as required by federal and State law. Partially de-identified health information will not contain any information that would directly identify you (such as your name, street address, social security number, phone number, fax number, electronic mail address, website address, or license number).
- Friends and family designated to be involved in your care: If you do not object, we may share your health information with a family member, relative, or close personal friend who is involved in your care or payment for your care, including following your death.
- Fundraising: We may use or disclose your demographic information, including, name, address, other contact information, age, gender, and date of birth, dates of health service information, department of service information, treating physician, outcome information, and health insurance status for fundraising purposes. With each fundraising communication made to you, you will have the opportunity to opt-out of receiving any further fundraising communications. We will also provide you with an opportunity to opt back in to receive such communications if you should choose to do so.
- Incidental Disclosures: While we will take reasonable steps to safeguard the privacy of your health information, certain disclosures of your health information may occur during or as an unavoidable result of our otherwise permissible uses or disclosures of your health information.
- Proof of Immunization: We may disclose proof of a child’s immunization to a school, about a child who is a student or prospective student of the school, as required by State or other law, if a parent, guardian, other person acting in loco parentis, or an emancipated minor, authorizes us to do so, but we do not need written authorization.
The use of your information for other reasons will be made only if you provide written permission, which you may take back in writing at any time, except if we have already released the information or if permission was required in order for you to be covered by insurance.
Use & Disclosures Where Special Protections May Apply
Some kinds of information, such as HIV-related information, alcohol and substance abuse treatment information, mental health information, and genetic information, are considered so sensitive that State or federal laws provide special protections for them. Therefore, some parts of this general Notice of Privacy Practices may not apply to these types of information. If you have questions or concerns about the ways these types of information may be used or disclosed, please speak with your health care provider.