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Privacy

Privacy

Privacy and Legal Notices

We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal and private. We are committed to protecting your medical information, and actively work with families, employees, vendors, and outside agencies to promote and maintain your privacy.

To respect your medical privacy, we ask that you share medical information with your family and friends as you believe to be appropriate.

Although you identified an emergency contact during the admissions process, that person will only be contacted for urgent matters.

Notice of Privacy Practices - HIPAA

The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) Privacy Rule gives individuals a fundamental right to be informed of the privacy practices of their health care providers, and to be informed of their privacy rights with respect to their personal health information (PHI). The required notice is available for you to download below:

Confidential Admission

You may request confidential admission if you do not want others to know that you are a patient at the Medical Center. If you make such a request, callers and visitors will be told you are not a patient. Mail, gifts, and flowers sent to you will be returned to the sender or to the florist.

Requests for Privacy

If you are in a semi-private room, visitors may be asked to leave if you or the patient sharing the room requests privacy to discuss medical issues.

Electronic Mail

By its nature, the Internet is not secure. Do not use electronic mail (e-mail) to send or to request sensitive information. The Medical Center cannot guarantee the confidentiality of any messages transmitted over the Internet.

Some caregivers prefer not to communicate with their patients via e-mail. Following your discharge, check with your caregiver’s office by telephone before sending e-mails. If your caregiver accepts e-mail, ask the caregiver’s office what information needs to be included in the subject line and whether you need to include your full name, date of birth, and medical record number in the body of your note. If you do use e-mail, restrict its use to routine matters or for requesting information.

A few reminders:

  • In a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Contact your caregiver’s office by telephone to discuss sensitive information and to report sudden or significant changes in your health.
  • Your caregiver may retain or document e-mail communications in your medical record. This may be accomplished by summarizing the message in a written note.

Additional Information

You can obtain additional information about the Medical Center’s patient privacy and confidentiality policy by talking with your nurse or you may contact the Privacy Office at 717-531-2081.

Consent for Recording Video

To ensure your privacy and safety, we ask all patients and visitors to be extremely cautious when using their mobile devices to document experiences in patient care areas on Penn State Hershey property. Read more about or consent for recording video.

Overview

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is committed to safeguarding your privacy on our websites. We operate under the following set of privacy principles:

  • A visitor can access and browse our entire site at any time without providing any personal information. The only information Penn State Health obtains about individual visitors to its websites is that supplied voluntarily by visitors.
  • In cases when Penn State Health may need personal information to provide visitors with customized content or to inform them about new features or services, visitors are explicitly asked for that information.
  • Personally identifiable information provided by visitors (name, e-mail or home address, etc.) will not be disclosed to anyone unless visitors indicate that Penn State Health may do so.
  • Personally identifiable information will not be shared at any time without the visitor's permission. Penn State Health employs strict security measures to safeguard online transactions.
  • The Penn State Health website is intended for adults and young adults age 13 and over. It is not intended for or designed to attract persons under the age of 13.

View information on our Medical Information Privacy Policy >>

Personal information

A visitor can access and browse our entire site at any time without providing any personal information. The only information Penn State Health obtains about individual visitors to its websites is that supplied voluntarily by visitors. In addition, Penn State Health does not share any personally identifiable information of any individual with any third party unrelated to Penn State Health, except in situations where we must provide information for legal purposes or investigations, or if so directed by the patient through a proper authorization.

  1. Forms: Our website contains forms through which users may request information or supply feedback to us. In some cases, telephone numbers, email addresses or return addresses are required so that we can supply requested information to you, and in other cases, correct names and addresses are required to process credit card payments. After you complete a form, we may contact you with follow-up information. We do not provide any information supplied on our Web forms to any outside organization for any reason, other than where we may be required to by law or as necessary to process credit card information. We do not save this personal information for any other reason.

  2. E-Commerce and E-Healthcare transactions: Some Penn State Health site features may use applications to collect data to facilitate an e-commerce or e-healthcare transaction. We will ask your explicit permission to transfer this data to the third party to facilitate this transaction. Penn State Health may store this information to verify the transaction for customer service and accounting reasons and may use this information to help personalize your experience on our website.

  3. Public forums: Penn State Health may provide users with chat rooms, forums, message boards and/or news groups. Please remember that any information disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information.

  4. Surveys: Occasionally, we may survey visitors to our site. The information from these surveys is used in aggregate form to help us understand the needs of our visitors so that we can improve our site. We generally do not ask for information in surveys that would personally identify you. If we do request contact information for follow-up, you may decline to provide it. If survey respondents provide personal information (such as an email address) in a survey, it is shared only with those people who need to see it to respond to the question or request.

  5. Email: Unsecured information transferred over the Internet is similar to a postcard being sent through the mail. We recommend that you do not send sensitive personal health information to email addresses found on the Penn State Health website or anyone else using unsecured means. Should you choose to supply confidential information in this manner, you do so at your own risk. If you feel that this type of information is necessary to provide to us, please call our CareLine at 800-243-1455 to speak directly to the party with whom you want to receive the information. 

    "Phishing" is a scam designed to steal your personal information. If you receive an email that appears to be from Penn State Health asking you for your personal information, do not respond. We will never request your password, user name, credit card information or other personal information through email.

  6. Choice/Opt-in: Our website gives users the opportunity to opt-in to receive communications from us which requires information from you. This may include use of third-party websites to manage the subscription and delivery of information via email, and if so, you should carefully review the privacy policy of that Website. We make every effort to ensure that privacy policies of Web services we use for communication purposes have privacy policies consistent with our privacy policy, and that they comply with U.S. CAN-SPAM laws. All opt-in email communication services will provide a method for you to opt-out/unsubscribe and/or change your contact information from every email message you receive. We do not sell, trade, rent or share personal information about our users to or with any other organizations. We will use your email address only to send you the e-newsletters which you have chosen to receive.

  7. User name and password: In the event you access any service requiring a User Name and Password, you are solely responsible for keeping such User Name and Password strictly confidential.

  8. Security: The Penn State Health website has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. Penn State Health employs strict security measures to safeguard online transactions.

Non-Personal information

Automatic collection of information:  As you browse our website or download information, our system will automatically gather and store certain information about your visit. This information does not identify you personally and is used in aggregate only to help us understand Website visitor behavior and interests, leading to improvements for future visits to our website.

Cookies: Cookies are used to track user activity throughout our website. They are not used to associate individual user activity with personal or identifiable information to be shared with any other organizations. We use the data provided to understand user session activity and help us improve the website visitor experience in general. We do not automatically gather individual names, email addresses or other individually identifiable information.

The following information is automatically collected and recorded during your visit:

  • Aggregate information on which pages are accessed
  • Web browser software name and release number (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.)
  • Operating system (Windows, Mac, etc.)
  • Date and time of website visit
  • website address that linked to us (referrer URL)
  • IP Address:  All computer identification on the Internet is conducted with IP addresses, which allow computers and servers to recognize and communicate with each other. An IP address is a number automatically assigned to your computer whenever you access the Internet. Penn State Health collects IP addresses in order to conduct system administration and to conduct site analysis. To maintain visitor anonymity, Penn State Health does not associate IP addresses with records containing personal information. We use this information internally to improve our services. Although these statistics may be provided to others, they do not contain, and cannot be used to obtain, personal information about any individual website user.

How do we use the information we collect?

The information we gather automatically is used only by a select group of Penn State Health employees to:

  • Monitor, review, measure, and analyze website utilization
  • Modify and enhance the website
  • Improve the content and design of our website
  • Determine the need for new programs and services
  • Monitor and improve our customer service efforts
  • Study general usage habits and demographic information for our own marketing research purposes
  • Determine the effectiveness of health promotion and marketing programs

External links

Some Penn State Health websites provide links to other internet sites that provide health information. Penn State Health is not responsible for the content or privacy statements of those websites. If you are asked to supply personal information to those websites, we suggest you carefully read the privacy statements of those websites. Once you link to another site, you are subject to the privacy policy of the new site.

Children's privacy

We are committed to protecting the privacy of children. The Penn State Health website is intended for adults and young adults age 13 and over. It is not intended for or designed to attract persons under the age of 13. We do not permit registration by, nor do we collect personally identifiable information from, any person we actually know to be under the age of 13.

Changes in our privacy policy

From time to time, we may use customer information for new, unanticipated uses not previously disclosed in our privacy notice. If our information practices change at some time in the future, we will post the policy changes to our website to notify you of these changes and provide you with the ability to opt out of these new uses. If you are concerned about how your information is used, please check our Privacy Statement periodically.

Contacting the website

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this website, or your interaction with this website, contact:

Website access agreement

Please see our Website Access Agreement for other terms and conditions governing your use of the Penn State Health website.

Website Access Agreement for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

No medical advice
 

The information on this website is provided for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Nothing on this website should be used for treating or diagnosing a medical or health condition or for replacing any relationship with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. The health information furnished on this website and the interactive responses (if any) furnished by or through, this website are not intended to or implied to be professional medical advice. You are encouraged to consult other sources and confirm the information contained within this website. Consult your own physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition. For medical concerns, including decisions about medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or other, qualified healthcare professional. In serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a physician or other qualified healthcare provider immediately. YOU SHOULD NEVER DISREGARD MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING IT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON THIS WEBSITE. No medications, diet supplements or treatments as may be described on this website should be taken or begun without first consulting your physician or other healthcare provider. No information on this website should be considered or shall be deemed to be an endorsement or recommendation by Penn State Health of any medication, diet supplements, treatments, products, tests or otherwise.

No warranties

The information on this website is not exhaustive and is provided "AS IS" and without any warranties of any kind, either express or implied. All implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose or use are hereby excluded.

Disclaimer of Liability of Penn State Health, if any, for damages (including without limitation liability arising out of tort, strict liability, negligence, contract or patent or copyright infringement) shall not exceed the lesser of (i) the fees paid, if any, to Penn State Health for the particular information or service provided on this website or (ii) $100. Penn State Health shall not be liable under any theory of indemnity. In no event shall Penn State Health be liable for any damages other than the amount referred to above. All other damages, direct or indirect, special, incidental, consequential or punitive are hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law, even if Penn State Health has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Penn State Health expressly disclaims and DOES NOT WARRANT that the functioning of this website will be uninterrupted or error free; that any errors will be corrected; that any information on this website is complete, accurate (although Penn State Health strives for accuracy), or timely (or will be updated); and that this website, or the server that makes it available, is or will be free of viruses or other harmful components. You are solely responsible for any damage to your computer system or loss of data that results from downloading any material from this website.

YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT PENN STATE HERSHEY, ITS LICENSORS, SUPPLIERS AND BUSINESS PARTNERS (IF ANY) ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RESULTS OF YOUR DECISIONS RESULTING FROM THE USE OF THIS WEBSITE OR THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, YOUR CHOOSING TO SEEK OR NOT TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE, OR YOUR CHOOSING OR NOT CHOOSING SPECIFIC TREATMENT BASED ON THE INFORMATION ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE.

Offensive or explicit content

This website may contain scientific, medical or health information which you may find sexually explicit or otherwise offensive. The information on this website is meant for adults, or for mature teenagers under parental supervision. Penn State Health accepts no responsibility for such materials. You are solely responsible for compliance with the laws applicable to you where you reside.

Disclaimer of endorsement

Links to other websites are provided, if at all, for your convenience only, and should not be considered and shall not be deemed as an endorsement or recommendation by Penn State Health of such other websites or their content. Penn State Health is not responsible for the availability, the content or the damage which may be caused by such other websites.

Penn State Health, its licensors and suppliers (if any) make no representations or warranties as to the satisfaction of government regulations requiring disclosure of information on prescription drug products (if any) with regard to the information contained on, or accessed through, this website.

Agreement not to access unauthorized sites

As an additional condition to accessing this website, you agree not to attempt to gain unauthorized access to any areas of this website, computer systems or networks connected to this website.

Agreement not to violate copyright

The materials on our website are copyrighted and may be downloaded or reprinted for personal, non-commercial use only. Permission to reprint or electronically reproduce any document or graphics in whole or in part, for any other reason is prohibited unless prior written consent is obtained from Penn State Health.

This Agreement is subject to change without notice.

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