The Brooklyn College Health Clinic and all its staff members adhere to a very strict confidentiality policy. A signed statement will acknowledge the policy of likely termination in the event of any breach of confidentiality.
The patient has the right to expect that all aspects of care will be treated as confidential. Privacy is established for patients with a closed door when the clinician is examining, interviewing or sharing information.
Case discussions will be held in privacy and limited to appropriate health care providers.
Health Clinic clerical staff and health care providers giving direct care may read and write on the patient's chart or computer data system. Chart and computer information may include:
- identifying data (name, age, gender, address, phone, etc.),
- name of insurance plan, if any (for statistical purposes, lab billing, Rx),
- medical data, or
- social data.
Charts will be stored in a locked file cabinet within a separate locked room in the locked clinic.
Computer records are secured from unauthorized access by a series of passwords.
Written requests are required for the release of medical records to the patient or to other providers or agencies. Contents of all information to be released shall be reviewed by a clinician. If desired, prior to the release of information, the patient may review the records with the clinician so that parts of the record not specifically relevant to the needs of the receiving agency will not be copied. The Brooklyn College Health Clinic is willing to exclude from the copy records of visits for conditions that are episodic in nature and do not have any bearing on the long-term health condition of the patient.
In the event of release of information over the telephone, great care must be made to ensure that information is not released inappropriately. (For example, if a patient calls for lab results, he or she will be asked for identifying personal data, such as a Social Security number.)
Upon request, students may have access to their own medical records. Review of the actual record will be under the supervision of authorized clinic staff, to avoid the possibility of any document alteration. Photocopies of medical records may be given directly to a requesting patient. Original medical records are never to leave the clinic.
Written authorization by the patient is required for release of information to:
- medical personnel (MD, NP, PA, DO, etc.) not on the Brooklyn College Health Clinic staff who are not at that moment treating the patient,
- insurance companies,
- law enforcement agencies (a court order or search warrant is needed if patient consent is not authorized),
- Immigration and Naturalization Service,
- welfare agencies,
- Social Security Administration,
- Veterans Administration,
- Internal Revenue Service,
- civil service departments, and
- courts without a Subpoena Duces Tecum.
If medical data is requested by subpoena or for other case preparation, legal counsel at Brooklyn College will review forms to ensure appropriate release.
Authorizations are not required for release of information to:
- Another health care facility via telephone (after verification) when the information is needed for direct emergency care of the patient.
- Another medical provider that is at that moment treating the patient. (After verification, a valid authorization is to be sent as soon as possible.)
- State and local health departments and/or other agencies listed below. (If possible, the patient will be informed in advance that certain diseases may be reportable.):
- Communicable Disease Control
- Bureau of Maternity and Family Planning Services
- State Department of Labor
- Medical Examiner
- Third-party payers that have clauses in their contracts allowing for release of information. A signed consent from the insurance company will be requested.
All efforts will be made to protect patient confidentiality, except in cases where the patient poses an imminent threat of harm to himself/herself or others (e.g., if the patient is suicidal).
Retention of inactive charts will be in accordance with local and state regulations. The guidelines for disposal of medical reports and records are outlined in the Brooklyn College Health Clinic Policy on Disposal.
Each member of the Brooklyn College Health Clinic staff will be required to read and sign a copy of the statement attached. The signed statements are to be kept by the clinic director.