The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures, we will provide an explanation of meaning and give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
Pursuant to state and federal law, Woman’s Hospital will use your health information for:
Treatment. For example, we may use your medical information to provide you with appropriate medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to physicians, nurses, technicians, medical students or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you at the hospital. For example, a physician treating you for surgery or a delivery may need to know if you have diabetes so that the hospital can arrange for appropriate meals for you. Different departments of the hospital may share medical information about you in order to coordinate the different services you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and X-rays. We may participate in various health information exchanges with your healthcare providers to facilitate their access to your health information.
Payment. For example, we may use and/or disclose your health information for the purpose of allowing us, as well as other entities, to secure payment for the healthcare services provided to you. We may also tell your health plan about a treatment or prescription you are going to receive in order to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the cost of treatment. In the event that payment is not made, we may also provide limited information to collection agencies, attorneys, credit reporting agencies and other organizations as is necessary to collect payment for services rendered.
Healthcare Operations. For example, we may use information in your health record to assess the care and outcomes in our efforts to continually improve the quality and effectiveness of the healthcare and service we provide.
Business Associates. There are some services provided in our organization through contracts with business associates. Examples include: consultants, record storage facilities, accreditation organizations, claims processing administrators, software and hardware maintenance vendors. We may disclose your health information to our contracted business associates so that they can perform the job we’ve asked them to do. However, to protect your health information, we require the contracted business associates to appropriately safeguard your information.
Research. Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of all patients who received one medication to those who received another medication, for the same health condition. All research projects are subject to a special approval process. We may, however, disclose medical information about you to people preparing to conduct a research project.
Coroners and Funeral Directors. We may release medical information to a coroner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or to determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors, as necessary, to carry out their duties.
Contacting You. We may contact you about treatment alternatives or other health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you. In addition, you may be invited to attend special events and celebrations.
Appointment Reminders. We may contact you as a reminder that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care at the hospital or that it is time for your follow-up visit to be scheduled.
Fundraising. We may use certain information (name, address, telephone number or e-mail information, age, date of birth, gender, health insurance status, dates of service, hospital service information, treating physician information or outcome information) to contact you as part of a fundraising effort. We may share this information with a foundation associated with Woman’s Hospital to work on our behalf. You will have the right to opt out of receiving such communications with each solicitation.
Public Health. As authorized by law, we may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. For example, we may disclose your health information in certain circumstances: to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; to report births and deaths; to report child or elder abuse or neglect; to report reactions to medications or problems with products to the FDA; 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; and to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.
Correctional Institution. Should you be an inmate of a correctional institution, we may disclose to the institution or agents thereof health information necessary for your health and the health and safety of other individuals.
Legal Proceeding. We may disclose health information in response to a court order or valid subpoena or to our own attorney in defense or in response to a complaint or claim about services rendered.
Law Enforcement. We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law. Federal law makes provision for your health information to be released to an appropriate health oversight agency, public health authority or attorney, provided that a workforce member or business associate believes in good faith that we have engaged in unlawful conduct, or have otherwise violated professional or clinical standards, and are potentially endangering one or more patients.
As Required By Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
To Prevent 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, to the health and safety of the public, or to another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat.
Patient Directory. We may include certain limited information about you in the patient directory. This information may include your name, your location in the hospital, your general condition and your religious affiliation. The directory information, except for your religious affiliation, may also be released to people who ask for you by name. Your religious affiliation may be given to a member of the clergy, such as a priest or rabbi, even if they don't ask for you by name. This is so that your family, friends and clergy can visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing. If you are not provided the opportunity to object to being included in the directory due to emergency treatment circumstances, you will be provided the opportunity when it is feasible to do so.
Notification. We may use or disclose information to notify or assist in notifying a family member, personal representative, or another person responsible for your care, of your location and general condition. In addition, 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.
Communication with Family. Health professionals, using their best judgment, may disclose to a family member, other relative, close personal friend or any other person you identify, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care. If you do not wish hospital personnel to have contact or communication with your family, you may inform us of your objection.