HIPAA - How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information About You

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 are listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.

For Treatment: 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 or other Health Center personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the Health Center. 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.

For Payment: We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at a hospital or consulting physician 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 your health plan information about surgery or tests you received at the hospital so your health plan will pay 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.

Appointment Reminders: We may use and disclose medical information to contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the Health Center.

Treatment Alternatives: We may use and disclose medical information to tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.

Individuals Involved in Your Care: We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care only if they are appointed as your health care proxy or you give written authorization. We may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.

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 be only to someone able to help prevent the threat.

Special Situations

Workers’ Compensation:
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 Risks: 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 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 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 make this disclosure only when required or authorized by law.

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 law.

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 or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.

Law Enforcement: 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 University; and
  • 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.
  • 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 use medical information about you to make decisions regarding your medical suitability for a security clearance or service abroad. We may also release your medical suitability determination to officials in the Department of State who need access to that information for these purposes.