Using and Disclosing Medical Information
How we may use and disclose medical information about you.
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information.
We may use medical information about you to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other Weill Cornell personnel or personnel of New York-Presbyterian Hospital or Columbia University Health Sciences (collectively "our Affiliated Institutions"), who are involved in taking care of you. For example, a doctor treating you for a broken leg may need to know if you have diabetes, because diabetes may slow the healing process. Different departments of Weill Cornell and our Affiliated Institutions also may share medical information about you, such as prescriptions, lab work and x-rays, to coordinate your treatment. We also may disclose medical information about you to people outside Weill Cornell who may be involved in your medical care.
We may use and disclose medical information about you so that we may bill for treatment and services you receive at Weill Cornell and can collect payment from you, an insurance company or another party. For example, we may need to give information about surgery you received or are going to receive to your health plan so that the plan will pay us or reimburse you for the surgery. In the event a bill is overdue, we may need to give information to a collection agency as necessary to help collect the bill or may disclose an outstanding debt to credit reporting agencies. We may also disclose information about you to our Affiliated Institutions and other healthcare facilities for purposes of payment as permitted by law.
Health Care Operations
We may use and disclose medical information about you for operations of Weill Cornell and our joint operations with our Affiliated Institutions. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run Weill Cornell or such joint operations and make sure that all of our patients receive quality care. For example, we may use medical information to evaluate the performance of our staff in caring for you. We may also disclose information to doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, and other Weill Cornell personnel for educational purposes. We may also disclose information about you to other healthcare facilities as permitted by law.
Appointment Reminders; Treatment Alternatives; Health-Related Benefits and Services
We may use and disclose medical information to contact you to remind you that you have an appointment for treatment or medical care, or to contact you to tell you about possible treatment options and health-related benefits and services that may be of interest to you.
We may contact you to raise money for Weill Cornell (including its graduate school) or joint fundraising activities involving Weill Cornell and our Affiliated Institutions. Unless you give us permission to use additional information, we would limit use of your information to contact information, such as your name, address and telephone number and the dates you received treatment or services. If you do not want to be contacted for such fundraising efforts, please write to the Privacy Officer at the address listed at the end of this Notice.
Individuals Involved in Your Care or Payment for Your Care
We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care or who helps pay for your care. We may also tell your family or friends your condition. If you do not wish us to share this information with your friends and family, please follow the procedures described in the Right to Request Restrictions section of this Notice below. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
Under certain circumstances, we may use and disclose medical information about you for research purposes. For example, a research project may involve comparing the health and recovery of patients who received one medication to those who received another, for the same condition. All research projects, however, are subject to a special approval process before your medical information may be used or disclosed. We may use or disclose medical information about you to researchers who are preparing to conduct a research study, for example, to help them look for patients with specific medical needs who might be asked to participate in this project. In this case, information they review will not leave Weill Cornell nor our Affiliated Institutions. When legally required, we will ask for your specific written permission (authorization) 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 Weill Cornell or our Affiliated Institutions. Finally, we may permit a researcher to look at your medical information and use and disclose it for research purposes if, after going through an approval process, an evaluation is made that the proposed use and disclosure complies with legal and ethical requirements regarding the privacy of medical information.
As Required By Law
We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law.
Special Privacy Protections
If your medical information includes HIV-related information, alcohol or substance abuse, mental health or genetic information, special protections may apply to such information, and you can contact the Privacy Officer if you have any questions.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety of you, the public or another person, we may use or disclose medical information about you.
Organ and Tissue Donation
If you are an organ or tissue donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank.
Military and Veterans
If you are a member of the armed forces of the United States or another country, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities.
We may release medical information about you for workers’ compensation or similar programs.
Public Health Risks
We may disclose to authorized public health or government officials medical information about you for public health activities when required or authorized by law. These activities generally include the following: to a person subject to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for purposes related to the quality, safety or effectiveness of an FDA-regulated product or service; to prevent or control disease, injury or disability; to report disease or injury; to report births and deaths; to report reactions to medications and food or problems with products; to notify people of recalls or replacements of products they may be using; to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition; to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
Health Oversight Activities
We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure.
Lawsuits and Disputes
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other legal demand by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made by us or someone else to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
Law Enforcement/National Security/Protective Services
We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official: in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process; to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person; about the victim of a crime if, under certain circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person’s agreement; about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct; about criminal conduct on the premises of Weill Cornell; and in emergency circumstances to report a crime, the location of the crime or victims, or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime; to authorized federal officials so they may provide protection for the President and other authorized persons, or conduct special investigations, or for intelligence, counterintelligence, and any other national security activities authorized by law.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors
We may release medical information about deceased persons to a coroner, medical examiner or funeral director so they can carry out their duties.
Other Uses of Medical Information
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made with your written authorization, on a Weill Cornell authorization form. You may revoke such an authorization by writing to the Privacy Officer, and such revocation will be effective to the extent that we have not already released the information pursuant to the authorization or otherwise taken action in reliance on the authorization.