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Confidentiality

Curry Health Center maintains strict confidentiality of patient information in accordance with both Federal and State statute (i.e., the Montana Uniform Health Care Information Act and The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996.)

Confidentiality is a critical aspect of effective health care provision and Curry Health Center protects confidentiality as our highest priority. No health care information will be released without patient consent, except under the outlined exceptions to this policy or as outlined by Federal or State statute. All unapproved violations of confidentiality will be severely disciplined, including possible termination of employment.

The privilege of confidentiality belongs to the patient/client. Copies of records will be released only at the direction of the patient or by subpoenas. The actual medical record does not leave the Curry Health Center premises. Except for witnessed verbal release, release must be obtained in writing with specific directions as to which records shall be released and to whom. Unless otherwise stated, releases are valid for only six months. If there is a question regarding the validity of a release, that release must be verified directly with the patient. If there continues to be any question, the patient should review the records with the appropriate provider to determine which records should be released. Health care information and records shall not be released to campus officials, faculty, parents, campus safety, the media, or to any other individuals without appropriate release. Directory information, such as names of in-patients, may be released, unless the patient otherwise directs.

Patients may have access to their own health records, unless the health care provider documents that such access is detrimental to the health and welfare of the patient. Only the material that is so determined to be detrimental may be withheld. If a patient requests review of their records, the health care provider shall try to be present to provide explanation. The Curry Health Center cannot withhold access if the patient refuses to meet with the provider unless such access is determined to be detrimental to the health and welfare of the patient.

Some exceptions to confidentiality include:

  • If a health care provider believes that on-going child abuse is occurring, that provider must notify the Department of Family Services.
  • If a provider believes that a named individual is in danger, based upon a specific threat by a patient/client, that individual must be notified as well as law enforcement officials.
  • If a provider believes that an individual is dangerous to him/herself, that provider must take steps to protect that individual, including possible involuntary commitment.
  • Health care professionals must report gun shot wounds and stabbing to law enforcement officials as soon as possible to be followed by a written report.
  • Health care records will be released, without patient consent, if so directed by court order or subpoena. Legal advice will be obtained whenever a subpoena requests confidential information in conflict with patient directive.
  • Prior to release of any records without consent from the patient, approval for such release will be obtained from the supervisor of the department, from the Director of the CHC, and from legal counsel, if appropriate.

If you have any questions or concerns about your confidentiality, please speak directly with your health care provider or Curry Health Center's Director.