We may use or disclose health information about you without your permission for the following purposes, subject to all applicable legal requirements and limitations:
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety
We may use and disclose health information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of another.
Required By Law
We will disclose health information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
We may use and disclose health information about you for research projects that are subject to a special approval process. We will ask for your permission if the researcher will have access to your name, address or other information that reveals who you are, or will be involved in your care at this office.
Organ and Tissue Donation
If you are an organ donor, we may release health information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate such donation.
Military, Veterans, National Security and Intelligence
If you are or were a member of the armed forces, or part of the national security or intelligence communities, we may be required by military command or other government authorities to release health information about you. We may also release information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
We may release health information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs that provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks
We may disclose health information about you for public health reasons in order to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; or report births, deaths, suspected abuse or neglect, non-accidental physical injuries, reactions to medications or problems with products.
Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose health information to a health oversight agency for audits, investigations, inspections, or licensing purposes. These disclosures may be necessary for certain state and federal agencies to monitor the health care system, government programs and compliance with civil rights laws. This could include the HHS for HIPAA compliance and enforcement purposes.
Lawsuits and Disputes
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose health information about you in response to a court or administrative order. Subject to all applicable legal requirements, we may also disclose health information about you in response to a subpoena.
We may release health information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process, subject to all applicable legal requirements.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors
We may release health information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death.
Information Not Personally Identifiable
We may use or disclose health information about you in a way that does not personally identify you or reveal who you are.
Family and Friends
We may disclose health information about you to your family members or friends if we obtain your verbal agreement to do so or if we give you an opportunity to object to such a disclosure and you do not raise an objection. We may also disclose health information to your family or friends if we can infer from the circumstances, based on our professional judgment that you would not object. For example, we may assume you agree to our disclosure of your personal health information to your spouse when he/she is present when we provide services. In situations where you are not capable of giving consent (because you are not present or due to your incapacity or medical emergency), we may, using our professional judgment, determine that a disclosure to your family member or friend is in your best interest. In that situation, we will disclose only health information relevant to the person’s involvement in your care. We may use our professional judgment to make reasonable inferences that it is in your best interest to allow another person to act on your behalf to pick up, for example, supplies.