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.

Respect for our patients’ privacy has long been highly valued at Hospital for Special Surgery. Not only is it what our patients expect, it is the right way to conduct health care. As required by law, we will protect the privacy of health information that may reveal your identity and provide you with a copy of our Notice which describes the health information privacy practices of our Hospital and its medical staff and affiliated health care providers when providing health care services for our Hospital. Our Notice will be posted in our main entrance area and in other locations at the Hospital. You will also be able to obtain your own copy of our Notice by accessing our website at http://www.hss.edu/, calling Health Information Management at 212.606.1254, or asking for one at the time of your next visit.

If you have any questions about this Notice or would like further information, please contact the Hospital's Privacy Officer at 212.774.7500.


Who Will Follow The Practices In This Notice?

Hospital for Special Surgery provides health care to our patients together with physicians and other health care professionals and organizations. The privacy practices described in this Notice will be followed by:

  • Any health care professional who provides direct services to treat you at any of our Hospital locations; and;
  • All employees, medical staff, trainees, students, and volunteers at any of our locations that provide direct hospital services.

The privacy practices described in this Notice do not apply when care is being provided to you in the private offices of the Hospital's medical staff or other health care professionals, even if these offices are located on Hospital premises. For example, if you are being treated by a doctor on our medical staff while you are an inpatient in the Hospital, or being treated at an outpatient clinic of the Hospital, the privacy practices described in this Notice will apply. If you are seen by the same doctor for a follow-up appointment at his private office, whether located at the Hospital or outside of the Hospital, the privacy practices in this Notice will not apply. The doctor should provide you with a separate Notice explaining the privacy practices that will apply to his or her private office. In addition, the privacy practices described in this Notice do not apply to members of the Hospital's medical staff or other members of our workforce when they treat you at other hospitals or facilities.


Permissions Described In This Notice

This Notice will explain the different types of permission we will obtain from you before we use or disclose your health information for certain purposes. The two types of permissions referred to in this Notice are:

  • An "opportunity to object" which we will provide to you before we may use or disclose your health information for certain purposes. In these situations, you will have an opportunity to object to the use or disclosure of your health information in person, over the phone, or in writing.
  • "written authorization" in which we will provide you with detailed information about who may receive your health information for certain specific purposes. We will only be permitted to use and disclose your health information described on the written authorization in the ways that are explained on the written authorization form you have signed. A written authorization will have an expiration date or event.

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 are:

  • information indicating that you are a patient at the Hospital or receiving treatment or other health-related services from our Hospital;
  • information about your health condition (such as a disease you may have);
  • information about health care products or services you have received or may receive in the future (such as an operation); or
  • information about your health care benefits under an insurance plan (such as whether a prescription is covered);

when combined with:

  • demographic information (such as your name, address, or insurance status);
  • unique numbers that may identify you (such as your social security number, your phone number, or your driver's license number); or
  • other types of information that may identify who you are.

How We May Use And Disclose Your Health Information?

Requirement for Written Authorization. We will generally obtain your written authorization before using your health information or sharing it with others outside the Hospital.

Exceptions to Written Authorization Requirement. There are some situations when we do not need your written authorization before using your health information or sharing it with others. They are:


Uses and Disclosures of Your Health Information Requiring Authorization

As stated above, the Hospital cannot and will not use or disclose your health information without your written authorization for any reason except those described in this Notice. For example, we require your written authorization for most uses or discloses of your health information for certain marketing purposes, for the sale of health information, or with respect to psychotherapy notes (where appropriate). In addition, you may initiate the transfer of your records to another person or organization by completing a written authorization form.

If you provide us with written authorization, you may revoke, or cancel, that written authorization at any time, except to the extent that we have already relied upon it. If you revoke the authorization, we will no longer use or disclose your health information for the reasons covered by your written authorization. Your revocation will not affect any uses or disclosures we have already made prior to the date we receive notice of the revocation. To revoke a written authorization, please write to the Hospital’s Health Information Management office.


Your Rights to Access and Control Your Health Information

Requirement for Written Authorization. We will generally obtain your written authorization before using your health information or sharing it with others outside the Hospital.

Exceptions to Written Authorization Requirement. There are some situations when we do not need your written authorization before using your health information or sharing it with others. They are:


Miscellaneous

You have the right to name a personal representative who may act on your behalf to control the privacy of your health information. Parents and guardians will generally have the right to control the privacy of health information about minors unless the minors are permitted by law to act on their own behalf.

  1. How to Learn About Special Protections for HIV, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and Genetic Information
    Special privacy protections apply to HIV-related information, alcohol and substance abuse treatment information, mental health information, and genetic information. Some parts of this Notice may not apply to these types of information. If your treatment involves this information, you may be provided with special authorization forms in connection with the disclosure of such information by the Hospital. To request copies of these forms, please contact Health Information Management at 212.606.1254.
  2. How to Obtain a Copy of This Notice
    You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice. You may request a paper copy at any time, even if you have previously agreed to receive this Notice electronically. To do so, please call Health Information Management at 212.606.1254. You may also obtain a copy of this Notice from our website at www.hss.edu or by requesting a copy at your next visit.
  3. How to Obtain a Copy of Revised Notice
    We may change our privacy practices from time to time. If we do, we will revise this Notice so you will have an accurate summary of our practices, and the revised Notice will apply to all of your health information. We will post any revised Notice in our admitting areas and other locations in the Hospital. You will also be able to obtain your own copy of the revised Notice by accessing our website at www.hss.edu, calling our Health Information Management office at 212.606.1254, or asking for one at the time of your next visit. The effective date of the Notice will always be noted in the cover and at the top outside corner of the each page. We are required to abide by the terms of the Notice that is currently in effect.
  4. How to File a Complaint
    If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with us or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with us, please contact the Privacy Officer at 212.774.7500 or send a letter to the Hospital to the attention of the Privacy Officer. No one will retaliate or take action against you for filing a complaint.

Effective Date: April 14, 2003
Revision Date: October 7, 2013