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Notice of Privacy Practices
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and
disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review
Our pledge regarding medical information. Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS) is legally required to protect
the privacy of your health information. We call this information "protected
health information," or "PHI" for short. PHI includes information
that can be used to identify you that we've created or received about
your past, present, or future health or condition, the provision of health
care to you, or the payment for this health care. We must provide you
with this notice about our privacy practices that explains how, when,
and why we use and disclose your PHI. With some exceptions, we may not
use or disclose any more of your PHI than is necessary to accomplish the
purpose of the use or disclosure. We are legally required to follow the
privacy practices that are described in this notice. However, we reserve
the right to change the terms of this notice and our privacy policies
at any time. Any changes will apply to the PHI we already have. Before
we make an important change to our policies, we will promptly change this
notice and post a new notice in the Admitting and Emergency Departments.
You can also request a copy of his notice from the contact person listed
in Section IV F below at any time and can view a copy of the notice on
our website athttp://www.whhs.com/.
How we may use and disclose your protected health information. We use and disclose health information for many different reasons. For
some of these uses or disclosures, we need your specific authorization.
Below, we describe the different categories of our uses and disclosures
and give you some examples of each category.
Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment, or Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose your PHI for the following reasons:
For treatment. We may disclose your PHI to physicians, nurses, medical students, and
other health care personnel or agencies who provide you with health care
services or are involved in your care. For example, if you're being
treated for a knee injury, we may disclose your PHI to a physical rehabilitation
department in order to coordinate your care.
To obtain payment for treatment. We may use and disclose your PHI in order to bill and collect payment
for the treatment and services provided to you. For example, we may provide
portions of your PHI to our billing department and your health plan to
get paid for the health care services we provided to you. We may also
provide your PHI to our business associates, such as billing companies,
claims processing companies, and others that process our health care claims.
For health care operations. We may disclose your PHI in order to operate WHHS. For example, we may
use your PHI in order to evaluate the quality of health care services
that you received or to evaluate the performance of the health care professionals
who provided health care services to you. We may also provide your PHI
to our accountants, attorneys, consultants, and others in order to make
sure we're complying with the laws that affect us.
Uses and Disclosures for other purposes. We may use and disclose your PHI without your authorization for the following reasons:
When a disclosure is required by federal, state or local law, judicial
or administrative proceedings, or law enforcement. For example, we make disclosures when a law requires that we report information
to government agencies and law enforcement personnel about victims of
abuse, neglect, or domestic violence; when dealing with gunshot and other
wounds; or when ordered in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
For public health activities. For example, we report information about births, deaths, and various diseases,
to government officials in charge of collecting that information, and
we provide coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors necessary
information relating to an individual's death.
For health oversight activities. For example, we will provide information to assist the government when
it conducts an investigation or inspection of a health care provider or
For purposes of organ donation. We may notify organ procurement organizations to assist them in organ,
eye, or tissue donation and transplants.
For research purposes. In certain circumstances, we may provide PHI in order to conduct medical research.
To avoid harm. In order to avoid a serious threat to the health or safety of a person
or the public, we may provide PHI to law enforcement personnel or persons
able to prevent or lessen such harm.
For specific government functions or national security reasons. We may disclose PHI of military personnel and veterans in certain situations.
And we may disclose PHI for national security purposes, such as protecting
the President of the United States or conducting intelligence operations.
For workers' compensation purposes. We may provide PHI in order to comply with workers' compensation laws.
Appointment reminders and health-related benefits or services. We may use PHI to provide appointment reminders or give you information
about treatment alternatives, or other health care services or benefits we offer.
Fundraising activities. We may use PHI to raise funds for our organization. The money raised through
these activities is used to expand and support the health care services
and educational programs we provide to the community. If you do not wish
to be contacted as part of our fundraising efforts, please contact the
Community Relations Department at (510) 818-7417.
Three Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have the Opportunity to Object.
Please let any WHHS Staff know if you object to the following disclosures:
Patient directories. We may include your name, location in this facility, general condition,
and religious affiliation, in our patient directory for use by clergy
and visitors who ask for you by name, unless you object.
Disclosures to family, friends, or others. We may provide your PHI to a family member, friend, or other person that
you indicate is involved in your care or the payment for your health care,
unless you object.
The law requires that certain implanted devices be tracked. In order to track your device, the Hospital will release your personal
information to the device manufacturer, unless you object. The tracking
is for your safety so that you can be notified if there is a problem with
All Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in sections IIIA, B and C above,
we will ask for you to sign an authorization before using or disclosing
any of your PHI. If you choose to sign an authorization to release or
disclose your PHI, you can later revoke that authorization in writing
to stop any future uses and disclosures (to the extent that we haven't
taken any action relying on the authorization).
What rights you have regarding your PHI. You have the following rights with respect to your PHI:
The Right to Request Limits on Uses and Disclosures of Your PHI. You have the right to ask that we limit how we use and disclose your PHI.
We will consider your request but are not legally required to accept it
if we believe your request would interfere with our ability to treat you
or collect payment for services. If we accept your request, we will put
any limits in writing and abide by them except in emergency situations.
You may not limit the uses and disclosures that we are legally required
or allowed to make.
The Right to Choose How We Send PHI to You. You have the right to ask that we send information to you to an alternate
address (for example, sending information to your work address rather
than your home address) or by alternate means (for example, e-mail instead
of regular mail). We must agree to your request so long as we can easily
provide it in the format you requested.
The Right to See and Get Copies of Your PHI. In most cases, you have the right to look at or get copies of your PHI
that we have, but you must make the request in writing. If we don't
have your PHI but we know who does, we will tell you how to get it. We
will respond to you within 5 days after receiving your written request.
In certain situations, we may deny your request. If we do, we will tell
you, in writing, our reasons for the denial and explain your right to
have the denial reviewed. If you request copies of your PHI, we will charge
you a reasonable charge. We will provide you copies of your records within
15 days after receiving written request. Instead of providing the PHI
you requested, we may provide you with a summary or explanation of the
PHI as long as you agree to that and to the cost in advance.
The Right to Get a List of the Disclosures We Have Made. You have the right to get a list of instances in which we have disclosed
your PHI. The list will not include uses or disclosures that you have
already consented to, such as those made for treatment, payment, or health
care operations, directly to you, to your family, or in our facility directory.
The list also won't include uses and disclosures made for national
security purposes, to corrections or law enforcement personnel, or before
April 14, 2003. We will respond within 60 days of receiving your request.
The list we will give you will include disclosures made in the last six
years unless you request a shorter time. The list will include the date
of the disclosure, to whom PHI was disclosed (including their address,
if known), a description of the information disclosed, and the reason
for the disclosure. We will provide the list to you at no charge, but
if you make more than one request in the same year, we will charge you
$.25 per page for each additional request.
The Right to Correct or Update Your PHI. If you believe that there is a mistake in your PHI or that a piece of
important information is missing, you have the right to request an amendment
to correct the existing information or add the missing information. You
must provide the request and your reason for the request in writing. In
most cases, your addendum will be added to your record. We will respond
within 60 days of receiving your request. We may deny your request in
writing if the PHI is (i) correct and complete, (ii) not created by us,
(iii) not allowed to be disclosed, or (iv) not part of our records. Our
written denial will state the reasons for the denial and explain your
right to file a written statement of disagreement with the denial. If
you don't file one, you have the right to request that your request
and our denial be attached to all future disclosures of your PHI. If we
approve your request, we will make the change to your PHI, tell you that
we have done it, and tell others that need to know about the change to your PHI.
The Right to Get A Copy of This Notice. You have a right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give
you a copy of this notice at any time. To obtain a paper copy call our
Privacy Official at (510) 818-7400. You may also obtain a copy on our website (www.whhs.com).
How to complain about our privacy practices or to obtain further information. If you feel your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint
with the hospital or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and
Human Services. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
- To file a complaint with the Hospital, contact our Privacy Official at
- To file a complaint with DHHS, call 1-877-696-6775.
contact our Privacy Official at (510) 818-7400.
Effective Date of this notice. This notice has an effective date of September 2, 2009.