Privacy Practices: Emergencies or Public Need

The following are other circumstances where we may use your health information or share it with others to meet important public needs.  We will not be required to obtain your authorization before using or disclosing your information for these reasons.  However, if state law specifically requires that we 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, we will do so.

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, or 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.  We also 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 child abuse or neglect.  We may release your health information to a public health authority that is authorized to receive reports of adult abuse, neglect or domestic violence.  For example, we may make such a report 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 health care 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.

Law Enforcement

We may disclose your health information to law enforcement officials for various reasons as permitted by law, including:  to comply with court orders or laws that we are required to follow; to report a crime; or to assist law enforcement officers with identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, witness, or missing person. If state or federal law requires us to inform you of these disclosures, we will do so. 

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 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.

Workers’ Compensation

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 to 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.