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HIPAA Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is HIPAA?

A: HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. A new federal law that takes effect this year.

Q: What is the Notice of Privacy Practices?

A:  Starting April 14, 2003, HIPAA requires all health care organizations to provide patients with a notice (Notice of Privacy Practices) that explains your rights regarding your private healthcare information. You have the right to: 

    • inspect and copy your medical records;
    • request an amendment or addendum to your medical records;
    • an accounting of disclosures of your private health information;
    • request restrictions to release of your medical information; and
    • request confidential communications with you.

Q: Is Student Health treating my medical records differently under HIPAA?

A: No, we have always protected your private healthcare information in accordance with state law, accreditation requirements and previous federal law. We remain committed to maintaining the confidentiality of your medical records and private health information.

Q: Why does the Notice of Privacy Practices refer to things that do not apply to healthcare provided at Student Health, like hospital stays?

A: Because Student Health is a part of the larger UCSD Healthcare organization we are required to provide you with the generic Notice of Privacy Practices issued by all University of California healthcare operations. You may find that some of the information in the Notice does not apply to you or Student Health. The section "Hospital Directory", for example, does not apply directly to Student Health since we do not provide in-patient care.

Q: Will Student Health disclose my private healthcare information for all the reasons sited in the Notice of Privacy Practices?

A: The Notice says we "may use and disclose" your health information for various purposes, but that does not mean that we will use and disclose your information for all reasons sited. Even though the Notice says "we may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care" that does not mean that we will break your confidence and contact a friend or family member. We will only contact family members regarding your medical information if you give us express authorization to do so, except for life threatening emergencies.

Q: Will other students have access to my private healthcare information?

A: UCSDHC is a teaching and research organization, therefore, your medical information may be disclosed to medical residents who are directly involved in your care at Student Health. Your protected health information shall not be disclosed to other UCSD students while you receive care at Student Health.

Q: If my parent calls Student Health and asks about my medical information, what will happen?

A: We will only discuss your medical information with your parent if you have given us express authorization to do so by completing an Authorization to Disclose Private Healthcare Information form.

If you have additional questions about HIPAA, the Notice of Privacy Practices, your medical records or privacy of your confidential healthcare information, send an e-mail to studenthealth@ucsd.edu and we will respond to your questions. Do not include any confidential information in your e-mail.