Notice of Privacy Practices

Notice of Privacy Information:

Barnard College Primary Care Health Service adheres to strict standards of confidentiality regarding information about a student’s illness, health care services rendered, or any other privileged information to which the Primary Care Health Service has access.

Strict standards of confidentiality are maintained in our clinical services. Clinicians work as a team and consult with one another, as needed. When necessary to ensure the quality and coordination of health care, there may also be communication with other health-related services at Barnard including the Furman Counseling Center, Alcohol Substance Awareness Program (ASAP), the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and the Barnard-Columbia Rape Crisis Anti-Violence Support Center.

The Primary Care Health Service maintains secure and private treatment records. These records are not part of a student’s educational records and are not available to a student’s deans or faculty. To further protect privacy, we require a student's written consent to release information about her care. This includes giving information to her parents/family. Information is released in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

There are rare exceptions to the right to privacy and to the confidentiality practices described above, such as in situations that pose a threat to life or in which there is reason to believe a child is being abused. If you have questions regarding our confidentiality policies, please contact us at 212-854-2091.

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.

I.   About this Notice

This notice applies to the Barnard College Primary Care Health Service (PCHS) employees. PCHS values every patient's right to privacy, and will not release individually identifiable health information without your permission, unless such action is in accordance with state and federal law, or under the circumstances stated in this notice.

The PCHS reserves the right to change these practices at any time and to make new provisions effective for all confidential health information we maintain. In case of such amendment, we will post a revised notice on the PCHS website. 

II. PCHS Responsibilities

All PCHS staff members are required to uphold your privacy in all settings.  We have procedural and electronic safeguards in place that protect your health information. As your health care provider we have the responsibility to:

  • Maintain the privacy of health information that identifies you
  • Provide you with a notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to your health information
  • Abide by the terms of this notice
  • Notify you if we are unable to agree to a restriction you have requested in writing

III. Use and Disclosure of Health Information

As a patient of the PCHS, you consent that we use your health information for internal purposes to provide you with the best possible care. Confidential health information will be shared, without your authorization, to ensure appropriate:

  • Treatment - to a provider, such as physicians, hospitals, and others who provide medical care and services to you
  • Payment - to an insurance company
  • Health Care Operations – that are intended to improve the quality of care through activities such as accreditation, quality assessment and training

The PCHS will also disclose health information for external purposes, without your authorization, to the following entities:

  • Public Health or Other Authority – in order to avert a serious threat to health or safety (for example, to report a contagious disease). Disclosure would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat or resolve the unsafe crisis. 
  • Government or Regulatory Body - a law enforcement agency to investigate a crime; in response to a judicial subpoena or other required legal proceeding; specialized government functions such as national security and intelligence activities; health oversight activities such as audits; or to report a victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence when mandated by law
  • Professions Relating to Decedents - coroners, medical examiners, or funeral directors
  • Others as required by law. Some examples include: organ and tissue donor facilitation, authorized research purposes, workers’ compensation or similar programs, and reports under the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (“SAFE Act”) of individuals “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others” and who therefore may be prohibited from legally possessing a firearms license.
  • Situations in which disclosure is necessary to ensure safety or protect life.

IV. Patient Rights

Although your health record is the physical property of the PCHS, the information belongs to you.  If you request a copy of your health record, one will be provided to you within ten business days. Under federal law, you also have the right upon written request to:

  • Receive a paper copy of this notice of privacy practices
  • Appeal for a restriction on certain uses and disclosures of your information
  • Amend your health record, when inaccurate or incomplete
  • Obtain an accounting of certain disclosures of your health information
  • Rescind your authorization to use or disclose health information except to the extent that action has already been taken

V.  Complaints or Questions 

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may ­file a complaint with Barnard College’s General Counsel or with the New York State Department of Health. 

Revised 3/2013