Use of Your Medical Information
UH may use and disclose your Medical Information in the following ways:
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose Medical Information without your written permission. A “use” of your Medical Information means sharing, accessing, or analyzing Medical Information within the UH System. A “disclosure” of your Medical Information means sharing, releasing, or giving access to your Medical Information to a person or company outside UH. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways that we are allowed to use or disclose your Medical Information should fall within one of these categories:
We may use and disclose your Medical Information to give you medical care. For example, we may use your Medical Information to write a prescription or treat an injury. We may also share Medical Information about you for treatment purposes with other people or entities in the UH System. To coordinate the different things you need, such as x-rays, lab work, or prescriptions, we may also disclose Medical Information to non-UH health care providers.
We may use and disclose your Medical Information to bill and be paid for your treatment. For example, we may give your health insurer information about your treatment so your insurer can pay for it. If a bill is overdue, we may give Medical Information to a collection agency to help collect payment. We may also provide Medical Information to other health care providers, such as ambulance companies, to assist in their billing efforts.
Health Care Operations:
We may use and disclose Medical Information for health care operations purposes. These uses and disclosures are necessary to make sure that all of our patients receive quality care and for management purposes. For example, we may use Medical Information to check how well our staff cared for you. We also may disclose information to students for educational purposes. The entities and individuals covered by this Notice also may share information with each other for their joint health care operations.
Appointment and Medication Reminders/Treatment Options/ Health-Related Benefits and Services:
We may use and disclose Medical Information to contact you with appointment or medication reminders. You may request that we provide such reminders in a certain way or at a certain place. We will try to honor all reasonable requests. We may also communicate to you by newsletters, mailings, e-mail, or other means about treatment options, health related information, disease-management programs, wellness programs, or other community-based activities in which UH participates.
We may compile the following directory information about patients receiving inpatient or outpatient services at our hospitals: name; location; general condition; and religious affiliation. This information may be disclosed to clergy or, except for religious affiliation, to any person who asks for a patient by name. You may request that any or all of this information not be disclosed by notifying Patient Access Services at the time you register.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care:
We may disclose Medical Information to a person who is involved in your medical care or helps pay for your care, such as a family member or friend. We also may notify your family about your location or general condition or disclose such information to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort.
We may disclose Medical Information to third parties so that they can perform a job we have asked them to do. For example, we may use another company to perform billing services on our behalf. All of these third parties are required to protect the privacy and security of your Medical Information.
We may contact you to provide information about UH sponsored activities, including fundraising. To do so, we may use your contact information, demographic information, dates of service, department of service, treating physician, health insurance status, and outcome information. You have the right to opt-out of future fundraising communications. We will process your request promptly but may not be able to stop contacts that were initiated prior to receiving your opt-out request.
Lawsuits and Disputes:
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose Medical Information in response to a court or administrative order. Under certain circumstances, we also may disclose Medical Information in response to a subpoena or discovery request by someone else involved in the dispute.
If you have a personal representative, such as a legal guardian, we will treat that person the same as you with respect to disclosures of your Medical Information. If you die, we may disclose Medical Information to an executor or administrator of your estate to the extent that person is acting as your personal representative.
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose Medical Information for research purposes. All UH research is approved through a special review process to protect patient safety, welfare and confidentiality. This process evaluates a proposed research project and its use of Medical Information to balance the benefits of research with the need for privacy of Medical Information. Even without special approval, we may permit researchers to look at records to help them identify patients who may be included in their research project or for similar purposes, so long as they do not remove or take a copy of any Medical Information.
As Required by Law:
We will disclose your Medical Information when required to do so by international, federal, state or local law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety:
We may use and disclose Medical Information when necessary, in our professional judgment, to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person.
Public Health Purposes:
We may disclose Medical Information for public health purposes. Some examples of these purposes are
- reporting births and deaths;
- reporting communicable diseases to health officials;
- reporting child abuse or neglect; or
- reporting elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Organ and Tissue Donation:
If you are an organ or tissue donor, we may release Medical Information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary, to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
We may disclose Medical Information for Workers' Compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Health Oversight Activities:
We may disclose Medical Information to a health oversight agency for authorized government review of the health care system, civil rights and privacy laws, and compliance with government programs.
We may disclose Medical Information to law enforcement officials. Some examples of these types of disclosures are:
- in response to a valid court order, subpoena or search warrant;
- to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive or missing person; or
- to report a crime committed on UH premises.
National Security and Intelligence Activities and Protective Services:
We may disclose Medical Information to authorized federal officials for intelligence and other national security activities permitted by law.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors:
We may disclose Medical Information to coroners, medical examiners or funeral directors so they can do their jobs.
Special Protections for HIV, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Genetic Information
Special privacy protections apply to HIV-related information, alcohol and substance abuse treatment information, mental health information, and genetic information. This means that parts of this Notice may not apply to these types of information because stricter privacy requirements may apply. UH will only disclose this information as permitted by applicable state and federal laws. If your treatment involves this information, you may contact our Privacy Officer to ask about the special protections.
Other Uses of Medical Information:
Other uses and disclosures of Medical Information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written authorization. For example, most uses and disclosures of psychotherapy notes, uses and disclosures of Medical Information for marketing purposes, and disclosures that constitute a sale of Medical Information require your written authorization.
You may cancel that authorization at any time by sending a written request to our Privacy Officer. We are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your authorization.
UH participates in the Ohio Health Information Partnership.
University Hospitals participates in CliniSync, a Health Information Exchange operated by the Ohio Health Information Partnership. Through CliniSync, participating UH providers may exchange the Medical Information of patients with other healthcare providers throughout the State of Ohio that also participate in CliniSync. For example, if you regularly see a UH physician that participates in CliniSync, and then visit the emergency room of a Cincinnati hospital that also participates in CliniSync, the physicians in Cincinnati would be able to access your UH Medical Information. With certain exceptions, patients must initially consent for their Medical Information to be exchanged via CliniSync, and may withdraw this consent by providing written notice to a treating healthcare provider that participates in CliniSync. UH participates in CliniSync voluntarily, and does not warrant or guarantee that any particular Medical Information will be accessible via CliniSync.