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Patient confidentiality and rights

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

You have the right to:

  • Receive considerate and respectful care at UMass Dartmouth Health Services which does not discriminate because of age, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation or preference, veteran status, religion, gender, or disability.
  • Receive an explanation or your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis in terms you can understand.
  • Receive compassionate care that respects your personal, spiritual, cultural, and religious values and beliefs.
  • Receive the necessary information to participate in decisions about your care and to give your informed consent before any diagnostic or therapeutic procedure is performed, including procedures related to research.
  • Expect that your personal privacy will be respected by all staff.
  • Expect that your medical records will be kept confidential and will be released only with written consent, or in case of medical emergencies, or in response to court ordered subpoenas. (Confidentiality may be withdrawn if the individual poses a significant threat to self or others.)
  • Refuse treatment and to be informed of the consequences of making this decision.
  • Know the names and positions of people involved in your care by official name tag and/or personal introduction.
  • Ask and receive an explanation of any charges that may be made by the UMass Dartmouth Health Services, even though they may be covered by insurance.
  • Obtain another medical opinion prior to any treatment.
  • Seek medical care from the provider of your choice.
  • Review any medical records created and maintained by the UMass Dartmouth Health Services regarding your care and treatment.

You are responsible for:

  • Asking questions if you do not understand the explanation of your diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, or instructions.
  • Following instructions concerning medication, follow-up visits, education recommendation, other essential steps in your treatment plan, and to notify the health provider if this plan cannot be followed or developed. To not share medication prescribed for you with others.
  • Treating Student Health personnel in a respectful manner.
  • Arriving on time for scheduled appointments and to notify the Health Service in advance in case of canceled appointments.
  • Following the rules and regulations that are posted within Student Health including compliance with all immunizations and health forms.
  • Carrying adequate health insurance, being familiar with policy coverage, and providing information necessary to process your insurance claims.
  • Bringing your health insurance card or health insurance information to the Health Services office.
  • Understanding how your health care services work.
  • Paying any charges billed to you.
  • Recognizing the effect of lifestyle choices on your personal health.
  • Being honest in providing information to Health Service personnel.


Notice of Privacy Practices

Effective Feb.18.2008

This notice describes how your health information may be used and disclosed, and how you can get access to this information.

Please review it carefully.

Our pledge regarding your Protected Health Information (PHI)

We are committed to protecting the privacy of all health information we create and maintain as a result of the health care we provide you. Your "protected health Information" (PHI) includes information about your past, present or future health, health care we provide you and payment for your health care contained in the record of care and services provided by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Health Services. The purpose of this Notice Is to explain who, what, when, where and why your PHI may be used or disclosed, and assist you in making informed decisions when authorizing anyone to use or disclosure your PHI.

Your rights regarding your Protected Health Information

  • To request in writing to the treatment area a restriction on the uses and disclosures of PHI as described in this Notice. We are not required to agree to the restriction you request. We may not be able to comply with your request in certain situations, which include emergency treatment, disclosures to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and uses and disclosures that do not require your authorization.
  • To obtain a paper copy of this Notice and upon written request submitted to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Health Services maintaining the record, inspect and/or obtain a copy of your health record.
  • To amend your health record by submitting a written request with the reasons supporting the request to the Medical Records department. We may deny your request if a) the record was not created by us, unless the person that created the record is no longer available to make the amendment; b) the record is not part of the health Information used to make decisions about you; c) we believe the record is correct and complete; or d) you would not have the right to inspect and copy the record as described herein.
  • To request in writing to the Privacy Officer a written list of disclosures we made of your health information, except that we are not required to account for disclosures for purposes of treatment, payment, operations, directory notification, disaster relief, as allowed under certain circumstances by law or pursuant to your authorization.
  • To request in writing to the treatment area that we communicate with you by a specific method and at a specific location. We will typically communicate with you in person; or by letter, e-mail, fax, and/or telephone.
  • To revoke your authorization to use or disclose PHI at any time except, unless your authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining insurance coverage, and except to the extent your PHI has already been disclosed pursuant to your authorization. Your revocation request must be made in writing to the Medical Records unit of the facility where you originally filed your authorization.

Our responsibilities

We are required by law to:

  • Maintain the privacy of your PHI and provide you with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI.
  • Abide by the terms of the Notice currently in effect. We have the right to change our Notice of Privacy Practices and we will apply the change to your entire PHI, Including information obtained prior to the change.
  • Post notice of any changes to our Privacy Practices in the lobby and make a copy available to you upon request.

Contact for questions/complaints/requests

Direct your questions, complaints and requests made pursuant to this Notice to: Privacy Officer, Marianne Sullivan 285 Old Westport Rd. North Dartmouth, MA 02747 (508) 910-6527. You may also file a complaint with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, JFK Federal Building - Room 1875 Boston, MA 02203 ; (617) 565-1340; (617) 565-1343 (TDD) (617) 565-3809 FAX. Filing a complaint will not result in retaliation.

How we may use and disclose your PHI

We may use and disclose your PHI for the following purposes:

Treatment: We may use and disclose your PHI to anyone involved in the provision of health care to you including for example, University physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and other medical professionals, including our nursing students, and volunteers. We may also disclose your PHI to outside treating medical professionals and staff as deemed necessary for your health care.

Payment: We may use and disclose your PHI to billing and collection agencies, insurance companies and health plans to collect payment for our services.

Health Care Operations: We may use and disclose your PHI for our own health care operations. For example, we may use your PHI to assess your care in an effort to improve the quality of our service to you; to evaluate the skills, qualifications and performance of our health care providers; to provide training programs to students, trainees and other health care providers. In addition, our accountants, auditors and attorneys may use your PHI to assist our compliance with applicable law.

Business Associates: There are some services provided to our organization through contracts with business associates, such as laboratory and radiology services. We may disclose your health Information to our business associates so that they can perform these services. We require the business associates to safeguard your information to our standards.

Serious Threat to Health or Safety: We may disclose your PHI in the event that you present a danger to yourself or others and refuse to accept the appropriate treatment.

Legally Required Disclosures & Public Health: We may disclose PHI as required by law, including to government officials to prevent or control disease, to report child, adult or spouse abuse, to report reactions or problems with products, and to report births and deaths.

Health Oversight Activities: we may disclose your PHI to a federal or state health oversight agency that is authorized to oversee our operations.

Workers Compensation: We may disclose PHI for workers compensation or similar programs.

Law Enforcement & Subpoenas: We may disclose PHI to law enforcement such as limited information for identification and location purposes, or information regarding suspected victims of crime, including crimes committed on our premises. We may also disclose PHI to others as required by court or administrative order, or in response to a valid summons or subpoena.

Inmates: We may disclose your PHI to a correctional facility which has custody of you if necessary, a) to provide health care to you; b) for the health and safety of others; or, c} for the safety and security of the correctional facility.

Information Regarding Decedents: We may disclose health information regarding a deceased person to: 1) coroners and medical examiners to identify cause of death or other duties, 2) funeral directors for their required duties and 3) to procurement organizations for purposes of organ and tissue donation,

Research: We may also disclose PHI where the disclosure is solely for the purpose of designing a study, or where the disclosure concerns decedents, or an institutional review board or privacy board has determined that obtaining authorization is not feasible and protocols are in place to ensure the privacy of your health information. In all other situations, we may only disclose PHI for research purposes with your authorization.

Contacting you: We may use and disclose your PHI to provide a reminder to contact you including by phone or e-mail. Protocols and policies are in place to minimize the exposure of your PHI as we attempt to contact you.

Disclosures requiring authorization

All other disclosures of your PHI will, only be made pursuant to your written authorization, which you have the right to revoke at any time, except to the extent we have already made disclosures pursuant to your authorization.

Changes to this notice

We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice and to make new Notice provisions effective for all PHI that we maintain by posting the revised Notice at our facilities, making copies of the revised Notice upon request to the facility or the Privacy Officer, or posting the revised Notice on our website.


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