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Certificates & Health Records
Privacy practices

This Notice of Privacy Practices explains how we may use and share your health information.

Your health information rights

You have many rights under state and federal laws involving health information. You have a right to:

  • Ask for and receive a paper copy of the most current “notice”.
  • Read and ask questions about the notice.

You may also make a written request to:

  • Limit how we use your health information.
  • Have your health information sent to you in a private manner or to a certain place.
  • Inspect and get a copy of your health information. There is a fee for copies.
  • Correct or add to your health information if you think it is wrong or something is missing.
  • Withdraw your written approval of using and sharing your health information. We cannot take back information that has already been sent out.
  • Obtain a list of who has received copies of your health information. You may get this list, without charge, once every 12 months. You can get copies of the list or have it e-mailed to you.

Please be aware that by law we may not be able to approve your request.

Public Health must

  • Keep your health information private and safe.
  • Train our staff to keep health information private and safe.
  • Follow the information in this notice.
  • Give you a copy of this notice.
  • Tell you how to make a complaint.

We reserve the right to change this notice. We can give you the new notice by mail, FAX, e-mail, or in person. Under Federal law, we may use and share your health information without your approval for treatment, payment, and health care operations.

For treatment:

  • Information you give to our health care team will be written in your medical record. The health care team may read, discuss, or share your health information to provide quality care and to help decide what care may be best for you.
  • We may also give health information to your other health care providers. This will help them stay informed about the care we have given you.

For payment:

  • We will bill your health insurance. Health insurance companies and programs need information about your medical care to pay your bill. Information given to your health insurance may include your condition, procedures, or care we think you need. Under state law, we must still get your approval to bill your insurance.
  • We may share your health information to decide which services you may get.
  • We may share your health information, if you are a LEOFF 1 member, with other Clark County departments for processing your claim.

For health care operations (agency functions):

  • We may use your health information to learn how to make our services better.
  • We may use and share your health information to look at how our health care providers do their job and to train our staff.
  • We may contact you to remind you about appointments and give you information about different types of treatment or other health-related services.
  • We also may use and share your health information for the following:
    • Review by your health insurance.
    • Billing and payment purposes.
    • State and federal audits.
    • To review our programs and make sure you get the best service.

Other uses and disclosure of your health information

We will get your approval to use or share your information in other ways not covered by this notice and you will still have the right to withdraw this approval at any time.

Family and friends
We may talk about your health information to a friend or family member who helps with your medical care, who helps pay for your care, who you ask to be told, or in an emergency situation. We will tell them only what they need to know to help you. You have the right to say “no” to this use or to sharing your information. If you say “no”, we will not use or share your health information with your family or friends.

Minors
Minors are children under the age of 18. Parents and legal representatives may see their minor child’s health information in most cases. In some cases, we are required by law to not give you access to your minor child’s health information such as treatment of substance abuse, mental health, and STDs.

Under Federal law, we may also use and share your health information without your approval for the following reasons:

  • Medical researchers - Your approval is not required when a study does not let other people know who was included in the study. The research must be set up to protect your privacy.
  • Funeral directors, medical examiners and coroners - To let them do their jobs such as identify a body or the cause of death.
  • US Food and Drug Administration - To handle product recalls or problems with food, nutritional supplements, and products such as vaccinations or birth control.
  • Workers’ compensation - To process a workers’ compensation claim regarding a work-related injury or illness.
  • Public health and safety -  
    • To public health or legal authorities.
    • To prevent or control disease, injury, or disability.
    • To report births, deaths, and other vital statistics.
    • To reduce a serious, immediate threat to the health or safety of individuals or the public.
  • Report suspected abuse or neglect of a child or adult to proper agencies.
  • Correctional facilities - If you are in jail or prison, as needed for your health or for the health and safety of others.
  • Law Enforcement - To a law officer to report a crime, an agency investigating a crime, or if you are the victim of a crime.
  • Health and safety oversight agencies - We may share health information with an agency that reviews local health programs such as the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Disaster relief - We may share health information with disaster relief agencies to let family or friends know about your condition.
  • US military authorities - If you are a member of the military, the law may require us to provide health information necessary to carry out a military mission.
  • Courts or lawsuits - As required by a subpoena, court order or to defend a lawsuit.
  • National security - We may share health information with the federal government for national security or special federal investigations.
  • Business associates - These are people or agencies who help us serve you. The law says we can give them enough information to do their jobs. We require them to protect your information just like we do. For example, this could include a collection agency.

To ask for help or turn in a complaint

If you have questions or want to report a problem with your health information, contact:

Clark County Privacy Officer
PO Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666
E-mail: Hipaa@clark.wa.gov
Phone: (360) 397-6121 ext. 4139

If you believe your privacy has not been protected, you may talk with any staff member right away. You may also send a written complaint (DOC) to our Privacy Officer, or you may file a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

 

Related information
  • The Privacy Rule - National standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information. (US Department of Health and Human Services)
  • If you have trouble getting a provider to release your records you may need to file an unprofessional conduct complaint. See RCW 70.02 for more information.
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