Patients First: How We Protect Your Privacy
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH), we are committed to providing you with the highest quality of care. An essential part of this commitment is our dedication to protecting the privacy and the confidentiality of your medical information.
The privacy handbook has been prepared in response to new federal regulations that enforce the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which is known by the acronym HIPAA. The new regulations, effective April 14, 2003, set forth certain legal requirements regarding how hospitals and healthcare providers must protect your medical information. To comply, NMH must provide you with a Notice of Privacy Practices, which describes how your medical information may be used and disclosed. This notice also discusses your rights as a patient under the law.
NMH has coordinated its response to the new HIPAA regulations among all entities operating under our parent organization, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. This has been done to ensure that you will receive this notice the first time you seek care at NMH or any of our facilities. You will be asked to sign a form acknowledging that you have received this document.
Because the new regulations apply to all healthcare providers, ours is not the only notice you will receive. Though the format may vary, you will receive a notice from other healthcare entities providing care or service such as doctors, pharmacies, nursing homes and healthcare plans.
We encourage you to read the information contained in this handbook in its entirety. It will explain how NMH may use and disclose your medical information and it will help you understand your rights as a patient. For your convenience, what follows is a summary of key provisions of our notice.
NMH may use and disclose your medical information to:
You have a right to:
- Medical staff and personnel who provide you with care.
- Remind you about an appointment.
- Talk to family or friends involved in your care.
- Ensure that we follow the rules of regulatory agencies regarding quality of care and effective use of resources.
- Comply with legal requirements, subpoenas or court orders for mandatory reporting, such as with cases involving child or elder abuse.
- Research personnel as they develop and seek out the best possible treatments for diseases and medical conditions. All researchers must follow specific regulations to ensure the privacy of patient information.
- Tell you about care-related benefits or services that may be of interest.
- Request payment from your insurance company.
- Include information in our hospital directory such as name and room number for the benefit of your visitors or members of the clergy.
- Share limited demographic information such as name, address and phone number with the Northwestern Memorial Foundation for fundraising purposes.
- Your medical record is the physical property of NMH, but the information contained in the record belongs to you. You have important rights concerning your medical information.
- See and obtain a copy of the medical information used to make decisions about your care.
- Ask us to amend the medical information we have about you, if you feel the information we have is wrong or incomplete.
- Ask us to restrict or limit the medical information we use and share about you.
- Ask us to communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or location.
- Obtain a list of individuals or entities that have received your medical information from NMH for reasons other than treatment, payment or healthcare operations.
- Submit a complaint.
- If you have any questions or would like to report a concern or problem regarding the handling of your medical information, please contact our Patient Representative Department at (312) 926-3112.
- Dean M. Harrison
- President and Chief Executive Officer
- Northwestern Memorial Hospital