Notice for Use and Sharing of Protected Health Information

On April 14, 2003, the federal Office of Civil Rights implemented the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to promote privacy and trust between patients and their health care providers. As part of these rules, all new patients seeing their health care provider upon their initial visit are required to sign an acknowledgment form to indicate that they have received the Privacy Notice. The Privacy Notice describes how the hospital/provider uses and shares your personal health information.

Policy on Confidentiality for Patients

HEALTH & FITNESS is committed to providing you with high quality health care and to forming a relationship with you that is built in TRUST. That means respecting your privacy and confidentiality of your medical information. We protect your privacy and confidentiality rights by creating and putting into practice policies and procedures that allow access to your personal medical information only for legitimate reasons.

Your medical record

As we provide your health care, we are required to maintain a complete copy of your medical history, current condition, treatment plan and all treatment given, including the results of all tests, procedures and therapies. Whether this information is stored in writing, on a computer, or other means, we will keep this information in a safe and sure way that protects your privacy and confidentiality. Of course, the physicians and other health care professionals who are involved in your care need to access this information in order to provide appropriate treatment for you.

Your medical information is private and confidential

You, or anyone to whom you give written permission, or your legal representatives, have the right to read or get a copy of your medical information. Your medical record is the physical property of the individual hospital or physician practice.

How do we assure your privacy?

HEALTH & FITNESS has put in place detailed policies regarding access to medical records by our staff and employees and has carefully outlined the circumstances under which your medical information may be released to parties outside the hospital or physician practice. These policies conform to state and federal law and are designed to safeguard your privacy.

Our staff and employees are trained in the appropriate use of medical information and know that it is available to them only to continue to provide care to you or for other limited but legitimate reasons. A violation of confidentiality or the failure of an employee to protect your information from accidental or unauthorized access will not be tolerated. This may include the employee being fired from his or her job.

We do not allow others outside Partners to access your medical information unless we have the appropriate authorization to do so. We will request your authorization to release information at your first visit or admission. In addition, some laws prevent certain types of patient information from being released without specific patient permission. Examples include, but not limited to:

  • Confidential details of:
  • Psychotherapy (from records of my treatment by a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist or psychiatric clinical nurse specialist)
  • Other professional services of a licensed psychologist
  • Domestic Violence Victims’ Counseling
  • Sexual Assault Counseling
  • HIV test results (Patient authorization required for EACH release request.)
  • Records pertaining to Sexually-Transmitted Disease
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Records that are protected by Federal Confidentiality Rules (42 CFR Part 2)

Please note, however, that the law requires some information to be disclosed in certain circumstances. This includes mandatory reports of abuse of children or elderly or disabled persons. Also, subpoenas or court others may compel the disclosure of confidential or privileged health information in the context of a lawsuit or administrative proceeding.

Medical records are sometimes used for reasons other than patient care. For example, records are periodically reviewed to evaluate the quality of care, or to be sure that HEALTH & FITNESS follows the rules of regulatory agencies for the efficient and effective utilization of care such as Medicare, Department of Public Health, or Department of Mental Health. Your insurance company may request information that we are required to submit in order to provide and bill for your care. Anyone reviewing records must follow the same confidentiality laws and rules required of all health care providers. Patient’s records are valuable tools used by researchers in finding the best possible treatments for disease and medical conditions. All researchers must follow the same rules and laws that other health care workers are required to follow to ensure the privacy of patient information. Information that may identify you will not be released to anyone outside Partners without your written approval.