|FDNY Is Still A Mess And Your Privacy Is On The Line
|In September of 2013, FDNY drafted up a new Notice of Privacy Practices and your personal health information could be sold off. FDNY's murky patient-privacy notice that says it
may use an ambulance patient’s “protected health information (PHI),” this includes everything from your address and phone number to your prescriptions and medical history, for
fund-raising, marketing and sale to FDNY's business partners.
The New York City Fire Department is permitted to use or disclose PHI without your written authorization or opportunity to object in certain situations, including:
For the Fire Department’s use in treating you or in obtaining payment for services provided to you or in other health care operations;
For the treatment activities of another health care provider, involved in your treatment;
To another health care provider or entity for the payment activities of the provider or entity that receives the information (such as the hospital to which you are transported or your
To another health care provider or entity (such as the hospital to which you are transported) for their health care operations provided that you have had a relationship with that
provider or entity and the PHI pertains to that relationship;
For quality assurance and quality improvement activities, in order to monitor and improve patient care, consistent with New York State law;
For health care fraud and abuse detection or activities related to compliance with the law;
To a family member, other relative or close personal friend or other individual involved in your care, if we obtain your permission or you do not object, or if we infer from the
circumstances that you would not object to such disclosure. For example, sharing information with your spouse after s/he has requested the ambulance;
To a public health authority in certain situations, such as reporting a birth, death or disease as required by law, as part of a public health investigation, to report abuse, neglect or
domestic violence, product defects, or as part of a process to notify an individual about exposure to a communicable disease as required by law;
However FDNY clearly states a few unsettling things in their Notice of Privacy Practices. Here are a few of the better ones where FDNY states how they can and will use your
"For the most part, we may use PHI without your permission provided that the use is authorized by law."
"for business planning purposes."
"for certain marketing and fundraising activities."
"for research projects."
Now don't feel bad that FDNY can do all of this without your knowledge. You do have rights. Here are two of them that you should know.
You have the right to request an accounting of FDNY's use and disclosure of your PHI. Sadly FDNY states "We are not required to give you an
accounting of information that we have disclosed to our business associates."
You have the right to request that FDNY restrict the uses and disclosures of your PHI. Sadly, FDNY states "We will review your request but we are not required to comply with
You can read the whole official FDNY notice here.
Update: On 03/07/14 after this story first ran here and in the New York Post, FDNY changed it's tune and revised the Notice of Privacy Practices. The notice now says "The Fire
Department does not sell patient PHI or use it for marketing purposes." Quite a sudden change of tune for FDNY. You can of course read the original (archived) version here and
the updated version here and see the changes for yourself.
|More Trouble Out West...Midtown West
|Way back in 2011 after the closing of St. Vincent's Hospital FDNY opened up FDNY EMS Station 7 on the west side of Manhattan. Located under the Highline this "temporary" EMS
station, made out of trailers dumped in a lot is now going on it's 3rd "temporary" year at the same location.
|After FDNY members cut a ceremonial ribbon opening EMS Station 7, FDNY issued a wonderful press release saying in part...
"Our goal is to continue our commitment to this dynamic neighborhood," - FDNY Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano
"This was truly a team effort and everyone who took part should be proud." - FDNY Chief of Department Edward Kilduff
"This neighborhood has been so gracious," said Capt. James Foley, the commanding officer of Station 7. "We know we'll have a long, happy relationship with everyone in the area."
|Of course, only months after the station was open the complaints started rolling in from the 1% who live nearby. These are the same people who would be the first to complain if
they call 911 and an ambulance was not at their doorstep right away. Now the complainers (Who would be thrilled if a Firehouse was next door) are attacking the "temporary" EMS
station once again.
Newly elected City Councilman Corey Johnson and Community Board 4 are urging FDNY to move EMS Station 7 after nearby residents complained that the station's loud sirens and
idling vehicles made it hard to enjoy their terraces. No kidding.
The residents recently ramped up their efforts to move the station by hiring Richard Bass, an urban planner with Herrick, a law firm, to lobby local officials including Johnson. In a
stunning complaint, filled with explosive details, he says:
"There was a barbecue at the EMS facility and people thought their buildings were on fire," Bass said. "In Manhattan, how many places do you smell barbecue? It has day-to-day
impacts on the residents."
Manhattan Community Board 4 believes that alternative sites do exist in their community, and that many commercial developers would welcome the opportunity to work with the City of
New York in finding a new location for this "very important facility"
The battle goes on.