Yakima County
Notice Of Privacy Practices


Understanding Your Health Record

A record is made each time you visit a hospital, doctor or other health care provider.  Your symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and plan for care are recorded.  This information is often called your health or medical record and helps in planning your care and treatment.  It also assists in passing your health information among doctors, nurses and other people who may be part of your care.  Knowing what information is kept in your record and how that information may be used will help you to make sure it is correct, and help you understand who, when and why others may be allowed to access your health records.  This notice is designed to assist you in making informed choices before authorizing the disclosure of your health records to others.

Our Responsibilities

·        We are required to protect the privacy of your health information.

·        We must disclose the minimum amount of information needed to complete the task.

·        We must give you a copy of this notice.

·        We must protect health records about your past, present, or future health condition, health care, or payment for your health care. 

·        We must explain how, when and why we use and/or disclose health records about you. 

·        We may only use and/or disclose health records as we have described in this notice. 

·        We are required to follow the terms in this notice. We may change this notice at any time.  If we make changes, we will post the revised notice in our offices.  You may request a paper copy of the most current notice at any time.

Your Health Information Rights

All requests from you to limit how we use or disclose your health records must be in writing.  We may be required by law to share your health records or may not be able to honor your request in an emergency.  If we do not grant your request, you will be notified in writing.

1.      You have the right to request that we restrict the use and sharing of your health records.

2.      You have the right to request how and where we contact you about your health records.  You may ask that your health records be given to you in a different format or at another location.

3.      You have the right to review and copy health records about you.  

4.      You have the right to request changes.  If you believe that there is a mistake or missing information in our record of your health information, you may request that we amend or add to the record.

5.      You have the right to a written list of disclosures we have made.  If you request that list  more than once in 12 months, we may charge you a reasonable fee.  We are required to provide a list of all disclosures except:

§         For your treatment, billing and collection, or our health care operations

§         Made to you, or that you approved

§         Allowed or required by law or law enforcement

§         Disclosures made before April 14, 2003

6.   Parents and legal representatives may see their minor child’s health records unless we are required by law to withhold them for reasons such as treatment of substance abuse, mental health, and socially transmitted diseases.

We May Use and disclose Your Health Records for Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations Without Your Authorization.

1.  We may use and share your health records to provide health care treatment to you.

We may share your health records with doctors, nurses and other health care workers who are involved in taking care of you.  We may also share your health records with other people who provide health care services such as prescriptions, x-rays, and lab tests.  Your health records are used to provide quality care and to help decide what care may be best for you.

2.  We may use and share your health records to obtain payment for services.

We may use your health records to collect payment for treatment and services given to you.  Before you receive services, we may share your health records with your health plan.  Sharing your records allows us to ask your health plan for approval of payment before we provide the service.  We may also send your health plan a bill for services you have received.  Under state law, we must still get your approval to bill your insurance.

We may also share portions of your medical records with:

billing departments; collection agencies; insurance companies, health plans; agencies that review the care you received to make sure that the costs for your treatment were proper; and consumer reporting agencies (e.g., credit bureaus).

3.  We may use and share your health records for health care operations.

We may use or share your health records:

§         to learn how to make our services better, now and in the future

§         to measure how well our health care workers do their jobs

§         to train our staff

§         to find out if you can obtain other services

§         to review coverage with your health plan

We May Use and Disclose Your Health Records Without Your Authorization.

Research: to conduct a research project if there are methods to protect your health records

Funeral Directors, and Coroners:  to perform their jobs such as identify a body or learn the cause of death

Organ and Tissue Donations:  to persons who obtain, store, or transplant organs

Food and Drug Administration:  to handle recalls of food, supplements, products, and medications

Workers’ Compensation:  to comply with Worker’s Compensation or other programs that provide benefits for work related injuries or illness

Public Health and Safety: to report health information to public health or legal authorities

§         to prevent or reduce a severe, direct threat to the health or safety of a person or the public

§         to prevent or control disease, injury, or disability

§         to report vital data such as births or deaths

§         to report diseases that spread quickly to large numbers of people

Suspected Abuse, Neglect or Domestic Violence: to report suspected abuse, neglect or violence against children or adults to proper authorities

Correctional Institutions:  to provide health care and protect health and safety of officers and others involved with inmates

Law Enforcement: to comply with subpoenas, court orders, or other legal mandates; to assist in finding a suspect, victim, or witness; to report certain types of injuries; to report a crime

Health and Safety Oversight Actions: to meet demands of other agencies that conduct audits, inspect and watch over health care systems and our programs

Military Authorities:  to carry out military missions and veterans’ actions and national security

Emergencies and Communication Barriers:  to treat you if we can’t communicate with you, and we believe that you would want us to treat you; with disaster relief groups who may help inform your family or others about your health

We May Use and Disclose Your Health Records Unless You Object.

Directories: Unless you object, we may list your name on our directory where you obtain care.  We may also tell clergy what religion you practice.

Family and Friends:  Unless you object, we may talk about your health to a friend or family member who helps with your health care, who helps pay for your care, who you ask to be told, or in an emergency. 

Reminders and Options: Unless you object we may remind you of appointments and tell you about options in your treatment.


Complaints:  If you want to report a problem about the handling of your health information, or you believe your privacy rights have been violated, please contact a staff member where you receive services or the Yakima County Privacy Officer at 509-574-2006. You may also file a complaint with the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.  If you file a complaint, we will take no action against you or change our treatment of you in any way.

For more information:  If you have questions or want more information about our Privacy Practices, please ask a staff member where you receive services or the Yakima County Privacy Officer at 509-574-2006.  You may access this notice on our web site www.co.yakima.wa.us