Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center Notice of Privacy Policies and Procedures
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.
Personal health information (PHI)
Each time you visit the Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center office and see a clinician (nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician) a record of your visit is made. Your medical record is comprised of information about your symptoms, examinations, test results, medications you take, your allergies and the plan for your care. There are state and federal laws to protect the privacy of personal health information (PHI) that is contained in your medical record.
Uses and Disclosures of Health Information
The clinical staff involved with your care will document in your health record information about your examination and the care planned for you. We will provide other physicians or healthcare providers who are treating you with copies of reports from your medical record that would assist them with your treatment only with your expressed consent.
For regular healthcare operations
The Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners may look at your health information to complete a quality assurance review to assess care and results in your case and others like yours. Administrative Staff need access to the entire medical record in order to file all components of the chart. Administrative Staff who assist students with insurance questions may need to access the entire record in order to determine dates of service and services rendered. Student employees do not have access to Personal Health Information. Student employees do not open charts. Staff members do not discuss Personal Health Information in the presence of student employees. At the time of their employment, student employees are informed of this policy and sign a statement acknowledging their understanding. Student employees who would violate this policy would be terminated immediately and other university disciplinary actions may be imposed.
There are some services provided through contacts with business associates, most notably radiology and certain lab tests. To protect your PHI, we require the business associate to protect your information.
Communication with others
Health professionals, using their judgment, may disclose to a parent, guardian, or any person you identify, health information relevant to that person's involvement in your care or payment related to your care.
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process.
As required by Law
- We may also disclose health information to the following types of entities but not limited to:
- Public Health authorities charged with disease prevention when required by law
- Law enforcement as required by law
- Courts and/or attorneys in accordance with a valid subpoena when required by law
- National Security and Intelligence Agencies as required by law
- To avoid a serious threat to the health and safety of a person or the public
Authorizations to Release PHI
Medical records will be sent only with a written authorization at the request of the patient. Authorization forms that can be used for faxing or sending medical information are available at the Health and Wellness Center. Only the minimum amount of information necessary to satisfy the needs will be sent. In the event of referring physicians, information will be exchanged with the specific verbal consent of the patient. Emergency situations and public safety concerns are exceptions to the usual authorization process.
You have the right to:
- Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information; we are not required to agree to your request. If we do agree, we will comply with your request unless the information is needed to provide you emergency treatment.
- Obtain a paper copy of the notice of information practices upon request.
- Inspect and obtain a copy of your health record.
- Request an Amendment to your health records.
- Obtain an accounting or disclosures of your health information.
- Request communication of your health information in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you may request us to mail test results to a specific address rather than call you.
- Revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken. To exercise any of your rights, please inquire at the reception desk. We may ask you to submit your request in writing.
Our duties are to:
- Maintain the privacy of your health information
- Provide you with a notice as to our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to information we collect about you through this notice
- Abide by the terms of this notice
- Notify you if we are unable to agree to a requested restriction
- Accommodate reasonable requests you have to communicate health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.
Privacy measures are designed to protect the confidentiality of PHI. All staff will observe the following rules:
- Staff will observe due diligence to avoid being overheard when discussing PHI.
- All records will be kept secured. When the Center is closed, it is locked and alarmed. Individual charts are either in locked file cabinets or a locked room.
Privacy Contact and Privacy Official
The Privacy Contact for the Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center is Dr. Susan Kitei, 610-758-3870, who will monitor regulations changes, oversee staff training and enforce policy. The Privacy Official for the entire university is Peggy Plimpton, Vice President for Finance and Administration, 610-758-3178. To complain, please contact either of the above.
For More Information or to Report a Problem
We reserve the right to change the terms of this notice and our privacy policies at any time. Before we make an important change to our policies, we will update this notice and make it available in our waiting room and on our web site. You may complain to the Health and Wellness Center Privacy Contact, the Lehigh University Privacy Official, and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.