Privacy Practices: What Health Information Is Protected

We are committed to protecting the privacy of information we gather about you while providing health-related services.  Some examples of protected health information (PHI) are:

  • demographic information we collect (such as your name, address, or date of birth);
  • unique numbers that may identify you (such as your social security number, your phone number, or your driver’s license number);    
  • information indicating that you are a patient at MSKCC or receiving treatment or other health-related services from us; or
  • information about your health care benefits under an insurance plan (such as whether a prescription is covered).

Health information is not considered PHI and is not subject to these protections if it is “completely de-identified.”  This means that we have removed all information that has the potential to identify you, as required by law.  For example, a lab report that has been edited to remove your name, date of birth, medical record number, and all other information that could identify you, but still includes the test results, is considered de-identified.       

The health information of a person who has been deceased for more than 50 years is no longer considered protected health information (PHI) and is not subject to the protections described in this notice.  If other laws require us to give this information special protection, we will continue to do so.

HIV, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Mental Health and Genetic Information. Special privacy protections may apply to HIV-related information, alcohol and substance abuse treatment information, mental health information, and genetic information. We will follow any of these additional protections required by law.  If you would like more information about these special protections, please contact the Privacy Office.