The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) becomes effective April 14, 2003. This is a federal law and requires that health care workers describe how your protected health information is disclosed, with whom that information may be shared, and the safeguards that are in place to protect it. You have certain rights to access and amend your protected health information. You have the right to approve or refuse the release of specific information except where the release is required or authorized by law or regulation.
The document "Military Health System Notice of Privacy Practices" is the source document that describes privacy practices within the military health care system. This notice was sent to all Coast Guard beneficiaries entered in the DEERS data base and is also available at the medical front desk. The law requires that prior to receiving healthcare, on or after 14 April 2003, patients must have received a copy of this notice. You must then sign a form acknowledging your receipt of the document.
The Privacy Officer at HSWL Seattle Clinic is CWO Devore (206-217-6445) and he is available to discuss any issue you may have with the Notice of Privacy Practices. He will also assist you should you decide to refuse the release of health information. Finally, he is the first link in filing a complaint about the misuse of your protected health information.
You may also contact the Defense Health Agency privacy and civil liberties office may be contacted via telephone at (703) 681-7500.