We may use your health information, and share it with others, in order to treat you in an emergency or to meet important public needs. We will not be required to obtain your general written consent before using or disclosing your information for these reasons. We will, however, obtain your written authorization for, or provide you with an opportunity to object to, the use and disclosure of your health information in these situations when state law specifically requires that we do so.
We may use or disclose your health information if you need emergency treatment or if we are required by law to treat you but are unable to obtain your general written consent. If this happens, we will try to obtain your general written consent as soon as we reasonably can after we treat you.
We may use and disclose your health information if we are unable to obtain your general written consent because of substantial communication barriers, and we believe you would want us to treat you if we could communicate with you.
As Required by Law
We may use or disclose your health information if we are required by law to do so. We also will notify you of these uses and disclosures if notice is required by law.
Public Health Activities
We may disclose your health information to authorized public health officials (or a foreign government agency collaborating with such officials) so they may carry out their public health activities. For example, we may share your health information with government officials that are responsible for controlling disease, injury, or disability. We may also disclose your health information to a person who may have been exposed to a communicable disease or be at risk for contracting or spreading the disease if a law permits us to do so. And finally, we may release some health information about you to your employer if your employer hires us to provide you with a physical exam and we discover that you have a work-related injury or disease that your employer must know about in order to comply with employment laws.
Victims of Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence
We may release your health information 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 such abuse, neglect or domestic violence. We will make 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.
Health Oversight Activities
We may release your health information to government agencies authorized to conduct audits, investigations, and inspections of our facility. These government agencies monitor the operation of the healthcare system, government benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and compliance with government regulatory programs and civil rights laws.
Product Monitoring, Repair and Recall
We may disclose your health information to a person or company that is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for the purpose of: (1) reporting or tracking product defects or problems; (2) repairing, replacing, or recalling defective or dangerous products; or (3) monitoring the performance of a product after it has been approved for use by the general public.
Lawsuits and Disputes
We may disclose your health information if we are ordered to do so by a court or administrative tribunal that is handling a lawsuit or other dispute.
We may disclose your health information to law enforcement officials for 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 general written consent because of an emergency or your incapacity; (2) law enforcement officials need this information immediately to carry out their law enforcement duties; and (3) in our professional judgment disclosure to these officers is in your best interests
- If we suspect that your death resulted from criminal conduct
- If necessary to report a crime that occurred on our property
- If necessary to report a crime discovered during an off-site medical emergency (for example, by emergency medical technicians at the scene of a crime)
To Avert a Serious and Imminent Threat to Health or Safety
We may use your health information or share it with others when necessary to prevent a serious and imminent threat to your health or safety, or the health or safety of another person or the public. In such cases, we will only share your information with someone able to help prevent the threat. We may also disclose your health information to law enforcement officers if you tell us that you participated in a violent crime that may have caused serious physical harm to another person (unless you admitted that fact while in counseling), or if we determine that you escaped from lawful custody (such as a prison or mental health institution).
National Security and Intelligence Activities or Protective Services
We may disclose your health information to authorized federal officials who are conducting national security and intelligence activities or providing protective services to the President or other important officials.
Military and Veterans
If you are in the Armed Forces, we may disclose health information about you 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 health information to the prison officers or law enforcement officers if necessary to provide you with healthcare, 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.
We may disclose your health information for workers' compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries.
Coroners, Medical Examiners, and Funeral Directors
In the unfortunate event of your death, we may disclose your health information 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 so they may carry out their duties.
Organ and Tissue Donation
In the unfortunate event of your death, we may disclose your health information to organizations that procure or store organs, eyes, or other tissues so that these organizations may investigate whether donation or transplantation is possible under applicable laws.
In most cases, we will ask for your written authorization before using your health information or sharing it with others in order to conduct research. However, under some circumstances, we may use and disclose your health information without your written authorization if we obtain approval through a special process to ensure that research without your written authorization poses minimal risk to your privacy. Under no circumstances, however, would we allow researchers to use your name or identity publicly. We may also release your health information without your written authorization to people who are preparing a future research project, so long as any information identifying you does not leave our facility. In the unfortunate event of your death, we may share your health information with people who are conducting research using the information of deceased persons, as long as they agree not to remove from our facility any information that identifies you.