Notice of Privacy Practices
Effective Date: April 14, 2003
This notice describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.
Please review it carefully.
UC San Diego Health System
UC San Diego Health System is one of the health care components of the University of California. The University of California health care components consist of the UC medical centers, the UC medical groups, clinics and physician offices, the UC schools of medicine and other UC health professional schools, the student health service areas, employee health units, and the administrative and operational units that are part of the health care components of the University of California.
The University of California, including UC San Diego Health System, is a teaching and research institution. All patient care is overseen and supervised by an attending physician and provided by a team of health care professionals. Residents, fellows, students, and graduate students of other health care professional schools may participate in examinations or procedures and in the care of patients as a part of the health care education programs of the institution.
This Notice applies to information and records regarding your health care maintained at UC San Diego Health System.
Our Pledge Regarding Your Medical Information
UC San Diego Health System is committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the care and services you receive at UC San Diego Health System for use in your care and treatment.
This Notice tells you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. It also describes your rights and certain obligations we have regarding the use and disclosure of your medical information.
We are required by law to:
- make sure that your medical information is protected;
- give you this Notice describing our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and
- follow the terms of the Notice that is currently in effect.
How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information About You
The following sections describe different ways that we may use and disclose your medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will describe them and give some examples. Some information such as certain drug and alcohol information, HIV information and mental health information is entitled to special restrictions related to its use and disclosure. UC San Diego Health System abides by all applicable state and federal laws related to the protection of this information. Not every use or disclosure will be listed. All of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information, however, will fall within one of the following categories.
For Treatment. We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, students, or other health system personnel who are involved in taking care of you in the health system. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes because diabetes may slow the healing process. In addition, the doctor may need to tell the hospital’s food service if you have diabetes so that we can arrange for appropriate meals. We may also share medical information about you with other UC San Diego Health System personnel or non-UC San Diego Health System providers, agencies or facilities in order to provide or coordinate the different things you need, such as prescriptions, lab work and X-rays. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside UC San Diego Health System who may be involved in your continuing medical care after you leave UC San Diego Health System, such as other health care providers, transport companies, community agencies and family members.
For Payment. We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive at UC San Diego Health System or from other entities, such as an ambulance company, may be billed to and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. For example, we may need to give information to your health plan about surgery you received at UC San Diego Health System so your health plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. We may also tell your health plan about a proposed treatment to determine whether your plan will pay for the treatment.
For Health Care Operations. We may use and disclose medical information about you for UC San Diego Health System operations. These uses and disclosures are made for quality of care and medical staff activities, UC San Diego Health System health sciences education, and other teaching programs. Your medical information may also be used or disclosed to comply with law and regulation, for contractual obligations, patients’ claims, grievances or lawsuits, health care contracting, legal services, business planning and development, business management and administration, the sale of all or part of UC San Diego Health System to another entity, underwriting and other insurance activities and to operate the delivery of health care services. For example, we may review medical information to find ways to improve treatment and services to our patients. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical and other students, and other health system personnel for performance improvement and educational purposes.
Appointment Reminders. We may contact you to remind you that you have an appointment at UC San Diego Health System.
Treatment Alternatives. We may tell you about or recommend possible treatment options or alternatives that may be of interest to you.
Health-Related Benefits and Services. We may contact you to tell you about benefits or services that we provide.
Fundraising Activities. We may contact you to provide information about UC San Diego Health System sponsored activities, including fundraising programs and events. We would only use contact information, such as your name, address and phone number and the dates you received treatment or services at UC San Diego Health System.
News Gathering Activities. A member of your health care team may contact you or one of your family members to discuss whether or not you want to participate in a media or news story. News reporters often seek interviews with patients injured in accidents or experiencing particular medical conditions or procedures. For example, a reporter working on a story about a new cancer therapy may ask whether any of the patients undergoing that therapy might be willing to be interviewed.
Hospital Directory. If you are hospitalized, we may include certain limited information about you in the hospital directory. This is so your family, friends and clergy can visit you in the hospital and generally know how you are doing. This information may include your name, location in the hospital, your general condition (e.g., fair, stable, etc.) 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 members of the clergy, such as ministers or rabbis, even if they don’t ask for you by name. You may restrict or prohibit the use or disclosure of this information by notifying the Admitting Department representative and/or your nurse.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care. We may release medical information to anyone involved in your medical care, e.g., a friend, family member, personal representative, or any individual you identify. We may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care. We may also tell your family or friends about your general condition and that you are in the hospital.
Disaster Relief Efforts. 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.
Research. The University of California is a research institution. All research projects conducted by the University of California must be approved through a special review process to protect patient safety, welfare and confidentiality. Your medical information may be important to further research efforts and the development of new knowledge. We may use and disclose medical information about our patients for research purposes, subject to the confidentiality provisions of state and federal law.
On occasion, researchers contact patients regarding their interest in participating in certain research studies. Enrollment in those studies can only occur after you have been informed about the study, had an opportunity to ask questions, and indicated your willingness to participate by signing a consent form. When approved through a special review process, other studies may be performed using your medical information without requiring your consent. These studies will not affect your treatment or welfare, and your medical information will continue to be protected. For example, a research study may involve a chart review to compare the outcomes of patients who received different types of treatment.
As Required By Law. We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal or state law.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety. We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure would be to someone able to help stop or reduce the threat.
Organ and Tissue Donation. If you are an organ 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.
Military and Veterans. If you are or were a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you to military command authorities as authorized or required by law. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority as authorized or required by law.
Workers’ Compensation. We may use or disclose medical information about you for Workers’ Compensation or similar programs as authorized or required by law. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses.
Public Health Disclosures. We may disclose medical information about you for public health purposes. These purposes generally include the following:
- preventing or controlling disease (such as cancer and tuberculosis), injury or disability;
- reporting vital events such as births and deaths;
- reporting child abuse or neglect;
- reporting adverse events or surveillance related to food, medications or defects or problems with products;
- notifying persons of recalls, repairs or replacements of products they may be using;
- notifying a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk of contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
- reporting to the employer findings concerning a work-related illness or injury or workplace-related medical surveillance;
- notifying the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence and make this disclosure as authorized or required by law.
Health Oversight Activities. We may disclose medical information to governmental, licensing, auditing, and accrediting agencies as authorized or required by law.
Legal Proceedings. We may disclose medical information to courts, attorneys and court employees in the course of conservatorship and certain other judicial or administrative proceedings.
Lawsuits and Other Legal Actions. In connection with lawsuits or other legal proceedings, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order, or in response to a subpoena, discovery request, warrant, summons or other lawful process.
Law Enforcement. If asked to do so by law enforcement, and as authorized or required by law, we may release medical information:
- to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
- about a suspected victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement;
- about a death suspected to be the result of criminal conduct;
- about criminal conduct at UC San Diego Health System; and
- in case of a medical emergency, to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors. In most circumstances, we may disclose medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine cause of death. We may also disclose medical information about patients of UC San Diego Health System to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
National Security and Intelligence Activities. As authorized or required by law, we may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities.
Protective Services for the President and Others. As authorized or required by law, we may disclose medical information about you to authorized federal officials so they may conduct special investigations or provide protection to the President, other authorized persons or foreign heads of state.
Inmates. If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of law enforcement officials, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution as authorized or required by law.
Your Rights Regarding Medical Information About You
Your medical information is the property of UC San Diego Health System. You have the following rights, however, regarding medical information we maintain about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy. With certain exceptions, you have the right to inspect and/or receive a copy of your medical information.
To inspect and/or to receive a copy of your medical information, you must submit your request in writing to Health Information Management Services, UC San Diego Health System, 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8825, Attn: Release of Information Unit. If you request a copy of the information, there is a fee for these services.
We may deny your request to inspect and/or to receive a copy in certain limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, in most cases, you may have the denial reviewed. Another licensed health care professional chosen by UC San Diego Health System will review your request and the denial. The person conducting the review will not be the person who denied your request. We will comply with the outcome of the review.
Right to Request an Amendment or Addendum. If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information or add an addendum (addition to the record). You have the right to request an amendment or addendum for as long as the information is kept by or for UC San Diego Health System .
Amendment. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Health Information Management Services, Attn: Release of Information Unit; UC San Diego Health System , 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8825; phone: (619) 543-6704; fax: (619) 543-7128. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request.
We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
- was not created by UC San Diego Health System ;
- is not part of the medical information kept by or for UC San Diego Health System ;
- is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
- is accurate and complete in the record.
Addendum. To submit an addendum, the addendum must be made in writing and submitted to the Health Information Management Services, Attn: Release of Information Unit; UC San Diego Health System , 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8825; phone: (619) 543-6704; fax: (619) 543-7128. An addendum must not be longer than 250 words per alleged incomplete or incorrect item in your record.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to receive a list of the disclosures we have made of your medical information.
To request this accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to Health Information Management Services, Attn: Release of Information Unit; UC San Diego Health System , 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8825; phone: (619) 543-6704; fax: (619) 543-7128. Your request must state a time period that may not be longer than the six previous years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. You are entitled to one accounting within any 12-month period at no cost. If you request a second accounting within that 12-month period, there will be a charge for the cost of compiling the accounting. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
Right to Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, such as a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information to a family member about a surgery you had.
To request a restriction, you must make your request in writing to the Health Information Management Services, Attn: Release of Information Unit; UC San Diego Health System , 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8825; phone: (619) 543-6704; fax: (619) 543-7128. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, only to you and your spouse. We are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, our agreement must be in writing, and we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.
Right to Request Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may ask that we contact you only at work or only by mail.
To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to the Health Information Management Services, Attn: Release of Information Unit; UC San Diego Health System , 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8825; phone: (619) 543-6704; fax: (619) 543-7128. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.
Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive this Notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this Notice.
Copies of this Notice are available throughout UC San Diego Health System .
Changes to UC San Diego Health System ‘s Privacy Practices and This Notice
We reserve the right to change UC San Diego Health System ‘s privacy practices and this Notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current Notice at UC San Diego Health System . The Notice will contain the effective date on the first page in the top right-hand corner. In addition, at any time you may request a copy of the current Notice in effect.
Questions or Complaints
If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact:
Patient Relations (We Listen Program)
UC San Diego Health System
200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92103-8916
Phone: (619) 543-5678
Fax: (619) 543-3947
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with UC San Diego Health System or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a written complaint with UC San Diego Health System , contact “We Listen,” UC San Diego Health System , 200 West Arbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92103-8916; phone: (619) 543-5678; fax: (619) 543-3947.
You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
Other Uses of Medical Information
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this Notice will be made only with your written permission. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written permission. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we will retain our records of the care provided to you as required by law.