Privacy Policy
Harris County Public Health (HCPH)

PRIVACY NOTICE
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

About This Notice
This notice tells you about your privacy rights, HCPH's duty to protect the health information that identifies you, and how HCPH may use or disclose health information that identifies you without your written permission.  This notice does not apply to health information that does not identify you or anyone else.
 
Complaint Process
If you believe that HCPH has violated your privacy rights, you have the right to file a complaint within 180 days of when you learned of the violation.  Complaints can be filed with any of the agencies listed below, or online at OCRComplaint@hhs.gov.
  • Harris County Privacy Officer at 1019 Congress, 15th Floor, Houston, Texas 77002, Telephone: (713) 274-5245
  • Region VI, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services  1301 Young Street , Suite 1169, Dallas, Texas  75202, Telephone  (214) 767-4056
Your Rights
You have the right to:
  • Request a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information.  However, HCPH is not required to agree to a requested restriction.
  • Receive confidential communications of protected health information.
  • Inspect and obtain a copy of your health record.  HCPH may charge a reasonable fee to cover costs.
  • Request changes to your health record.  Requests for changes must be in writing.
  • Obtain an accounting of disclosures of your health information.
  • Request communications of your health information by alternative means or at alternative locations.  For example, only send appointment messages by mail, no telephone messages.
  • Revoke your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken.  Revocations must be in writing.
HCPH's Duty to Protect Your Health Information
  • HCPH is required by law to protect the privacy of your health information. This means that HCPH will not use or disclose your health information without your authorization except in the ways we explain to you in this notice. We must abide by this notice.
  • HCPH will ask you for a written authorization to use or disclose your health information in ways other than those stated in this notice.  If you give such an authorization, you may revoke it at any time, but HCPH will not be liable for uses or disclosures made before you revoked your authorization.
  • If HCPH changes the content of this notice, the new notice will be made available at our facilities and on our website, www.hcphtx.org, within 30 days of the effective date of the changed notice. The new notice will apply to all health information maintained by HCPH, no matter when we received or created the information.
How HCPH Uses and Discloses Your Information
1. Treatment

HCPH may use or disclose your health information to provide, coordinate, or manage health care or related services.  This includes providing care to you, consulting with another health care provider about you, and referring you to another health care provider.  For example, HCPH can disclose your health information to refer you to a high-risk clinic or a hospital for services.  HCPH may also contact you to remind you of an appointment or to tell you about other health-related information that may be of interest to you.

2. Payment

HCPH may use or disclose health information about you to pay or collect payment for your health care.  For example, HCPH can use or disclose your health information to bill your insurance company, Medicaid, or other funding sources such as The Texas Department of Health, for health care provided to you.

3. Health Care Operations
HCPH may use or disclose health information about you for health care operations.  Health care operations include:
    • Conducting quality assessments, improvement activities, training health-care professionals
    • Analyzing and displaying geographical data to identify and monitor infection sources and communicable diseases
    • The general administrative activities of HCPH.

4. Family Member, Other Relative, or Close Personal Friend
HCPH may disclose health information about you to a family member, other relative or close personal friend when the health information is related to that person’s involvement with your care or payment for your care and you have had an opportunity to stop or limit the disclosure before it happens.

5. Health Oversight Activities
HCPH may sometimes use or disclose health information about you for health oversight activities.  Health oversight activities include audits, inspections, and investigations of possible fraud.

6. Public Health

HCPH may disclose health information about you to a public health authority for purposes of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability, or to report vital statistics; and problems with FDA-regulated products or activities.

7. Victims of Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence

If HCPH believes you are the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence we may disclose health information about you to a governmental agency that requires reports of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence as mandated by Texas law.

8. Serious Threat to Health or Safety

HCPH may use or disclose health information about you if we believe the use or disclosure is needed to prevent or lessen a serious and immediate threat to the health and safety of a person or the public.

9. As Required by Texas Law

HCPH may use or disclose health information about you when a law requires the use or disclosure.

10. Contractors

HCPH may disclose health information about you to a contractor if the contractor needs the information to perform services for us and agrees to protect the privacy of your information.

11. Purposes Relating to Death

HCPH may disclose health information about you to hospitals for the purpose of organ transplants, coroners, medical examiners, and funeral directors.

12. Research

HCPH may use or disclose health information about you for research if the HCPH Research Review Committee approves the use.  The committee will ensure that your privacy is protected when your health information is used in research.

13. HCPH Does Not Use Your Information For Marketing Purposes.