As a fire department, we are committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of individuals' health information in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, there are situations where limited disclosure of protected health information (PHI) is necessary to ensure public safety and provide appropriate emergency response. This disclosure is intended to inform individuals about the circumstances in which their PHI may be shared by the fire department:
- Emergency Response: In emergency situations, we may disclose PHI to medical personnel, hospitals, and other emergency response entities as necessary to provide appropriate medical treatment and ensure public safety.
- Coordination with Healthcare Providers: We may share limited PHI with healthcare providers involved in an individual's care for the purpose of facilitating continuity of care, ensuring appropriate medical treatment, or obtaining necessary medical information.
- Reporting Incidents: In compliance with legal requirements, we may disclose PHI to appropriate authorities when reporting incidents such as public health emergencies, infectious diseases, or incidents involving criminal activities.
- Training and Quality Improvement: PHI may be used for training and quality improvement purposes within the fire department, provided that all identifying information is removed to protect individual privacy.
- Legal Obligations: We may disclose PHI in response to a court order, subpoena, or other lawful process, as required by law enforcement agencies or regulatory authorities.
- De-identified Information: We may use or disclose de-identified health information that does not contain any personally identifiable information for statistical analysis, research, or public health purposes.
It is important to note that we will make reasonable efforts to disclose only the minimum necessary PHI required to accomplish the intended purpose. We will also implement appropriate safeguards to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure of health information.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the privacy of your health information, please contact our privacy officer or designated HIPAA compliance officer.