II. 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 prior consent or
specific authorization. Below we describe the different categories of our uses and disclosures and give you some examples of each category.
During your intake, prior to receiving any health care services, you will be asked to sign a statement permitting SUNY and its medical staff to
release your health information for purposes of Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations. A description of each of these uses is described as
- Uses and Disclosures Relating to Treatment, Payment or Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose your PHI for the following
- For treatment. We may disclose your PHI to physicians, nurses, medical students, and other health care personnel 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
the physical therapy 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 or provide services on our behalf, or provide services directly to you.
- For health care operations. We may disclose your PHI in order to operate our health care delivery system. 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 other in order
to make sure we're complying with the laws that affect us. To the extent we are required to disclose your PHI to contractors, agents and other
business associates who need the information in order to assist us with obtaining payment or carrying our out business operations, we will have a
written contract to ensure that our business associate also protects the privacy of your PHI.
- Other Uses And Disclosures That Do Not Require Your Consent. We may use and disclose your PHI without your consent or 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 governmental
official in charge of collecting that information.
- Victims of Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence. We may release your PHI to a public health authority that is authorized to
receive reports of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. For example, we may report your information to government officials if we reasonably
believe that you have been a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will may every effort to obtain your permission before releasing
this information, but in some cases we may be required or authorized to act without your permission.
- 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 organization.
- Emergency Situations. We may use or disclose your PHI if you need emergency treatment, but we are unable to obtain your
consent. If this happens, we will try to obtain your consent as soon as we reasonably can after we treat you.
- Communication Barriers. We may use or disclose your PHI if we are unable to obtain your consent because of substantial
communication barriers, and we believe you would want us to treat you if we could communicate with you.
- Product Monitoring, Repair and Recall. We may disclose your information to a person or company that is required by the Food
and Drug Administration to: (1) report or track product defects or problems; (2) repair, replace or recall defective or dangerous products; or (3)
monitor the performance of a product after it has been approved for use by the general public.
- Lawsuits and Disputes. We may disclose your PHI if we are ordered to do so by a court or administrative tribunal that is
handling a lawsuit or other dispute.
- Law Enforcement. We may disclose your PHI to law enforcement officials for any of the following reasons:
- To comply with court orders or laws that we are required to follow;
- To assist law enforcement officers with identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, witness or missing person;
- If you have been the victim of a crime and we determine that: (1) we have been unable to obtain your consent because of any emergency or your
incapacity; (2) law enforcement officials need the information immediately to carry out their law enforcement duties; and (3) in our professional
judgement disclosure to these officers is in your best interests;
- If we suspect a patient's death resulted from criminal conduct;
- If necessary to report a crime that occurred on our property; or
- If necessary to report a crime discovered during an off-site medical emergency (for example, by emergency medical technicians at the scene of
- Military and Veterans. If you are in the Armed Forces, we may disclose your PHI to appropriate military command authorities
for activities they deem necessary to carry out their military mission. We may also release health information about foreign military personnel to
the appropriate foreign military authority.
- Inmates and Correctional Institutions. If you are an inmate or you are detained by a law enforcement officer, we may disclose
your PHI to the prison officers or law enforcement officers if necessary to provide you with health care, or to maintain safety, security and good
order at the place where you are confined. This includes sharing information that is necessary to protect the health and safety of other inmates
or persons involved in supervising or transporting inmates.
- Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. In the unfortunate event of your death, we may disclose your PHI to a
coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to determine the cause of death. We may also release this information to funeral
directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
- For purposes of organ donation. We may notify organ procurement organizations to assist them in organ, eye or tissue donation
- For research purposes. In most cases, we will ask for your written authorization before using your PHI for research purposes.
However, in certain, limited, circumstances, we may use and disclose your PHI without consent or authorization if we obtain approval through a
special process to ensure that such research poses little risk to your privacy. In any case, we would never allow researchers to use or name or
identity publicly. We may also release your health information without your written authorization to people who are preparing for a future
research project, so long as no personally identifiable information leave our facility.
- 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. 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 and/or provide.
- 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 person listed in section V below.
- Deidentified Information. We may also disclosure your PHI if it has been deidentified or unable for anyone to connect back to
you. This might occur if you are participating in a research project.
- Incidental Disclosures. While we will take reasonable steps to safeguard the privacy of your PHI, certain disclosures of your
PHI may occur during, or as an unavoidable result of our otherwise permissible uses or disclosures of your health information. For example, during
the course of a treatment session, other patients in the treatment area may see, or overhear discussion of, your PHI.
- Two Uses and Disclosures Require You to Have the Opportunity to Object.
- Patient directories. We may include your name, location in our 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 in whole or in part. The opportunity to consent may be
obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
- 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 in whole or part. The opportunity to consent may be
obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
- All Other Uses and Disclosures Require Your Prior Written Authorization. In any other situation not described in section IIA, B and C
above, we will ask for your written authorization before using or disclosing any of your PHI. If you choose to sign an authorization to disclose
your PHI, you can later revoke that authorization in writing to stop any future uses and disclosures (to the extent that we have not taken any
actions relying on the authorization).