This Notice Describes How Medical Information About You May Be Used and Disclosed and How You Can Get Access To This Information. Please Review It Carefully.
Who Will Follow This Notice
This notice describes the medical information practices of the VEBA plan in which you are a participant, and that of any third party that assists in the administration of Plan claims.
Our Pledge Regarding Medical Information
We understand that medical information about you and your health is personal. We are committed to protecting medical information about you. We create a record of the health care claims reimbursed under the Plan for Plan administration proposes. This notice applies to all of the medical records we maintain. Your personal doctor or health care provider may have different policies or notices regarding the doctor's use and disclosure of your medical information created in the doctor's office or clinic. This notice will tell you about the ways in which we may use and disclose medical information about you. It also describes our obligations and your rights regarding the use and disclosure of medical information. We are required by law to:
- make sure that medical information that identifies you is kept private;
- give you this notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to medical information about you; and
- follow the terms of the notice that is currently in effect.
How We May Use and Disclose Medical Information About You
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures, we will explain what we mean and present some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
For Payment (as described in applicable regulations).
We may use and disclose medical information about you to determine eligibility for Plan benefits, to facilitate payment for the treatment and services you receive from health care providers, to determine benefit responsibility under the Plan, or to coordinate Plan coverage. For example, we may tell your health care provider about your medical history to determine whether a particular treatment is experimental, investigational, or medically necessary or to determine whether the Plan will cover the treatment. We may also share medical information with a utilization review or pre-certification service provider. Likewise, we may share medical information with another entity to assist with the adjudication or subrogation of health claims or to another health plan to coordinate benefit payments.
For Health Care Operations (as described in applicable regulations).
We may use and disclose medical information about you for other Plan operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the Plan. For example, we may use medical information in connection with: conducting quality assessment and improvement activities; plus other activities relating to Plan coverage; conducting or arranging for legal services, audit services, and fraud and abuse detection programs; business planning and development such as cost management; and business management and general Plan administrative activities.
As Required By Law.
MT19 (02/04) We will disclose medical information about you when required to do so by federal, state or local law. For example, we may disclose medical information when required by a court order in a litigation proceeding such as a malpractice action.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety.
We may use and disclose medical information about you when necessary to prevent a serious threat to your health and safety or the health and safety of the public or another person. Any disclosure, however, would only be to someone able to help prevent the threat. For example, we may disclose medical information about you in a proceeding regarding the licensure of a physician.
Military and Veterans.
If you are a member of the armed forces, we may release medical information about you as required by military command authorities. We may also release medical information about foreign military personnel to the appropriate foreign military authority.
We may release medical information about you for workers' compensation or similar programs. These programs provide benefits for work-related injuries or illness.
Public Health Risks. We may disclose medical information about you for public health activities. These activities generally include the following:
- to prevent or control disease, injury or disability;
- to report births and deaths;
- to report child abuse or neglect;
- to report reactions to medications or problems with products;
- to notify people of recalls of products they may be using;
- to notify a person who may have been exposed to a disease or may be at risk for contracting or spreading a disease or condition;
- to notify the appropriate government authority if we believe a patient has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. We will only make this disclosure if you agree or when required or authorized by law.
Health Oversight Activities.
We may disclose medical information to a health oversight agency for activities authorized by law. These oversight activities include, for example, audits, investigations, inspections, and licensure. These activities are necessary for the government to monitor the health care system, government programs, and compliance with civil rights laws.
Lawsuits and Disputes.
If you are involved in a lawsuit or a dispute, we may disclose medical information about you in response to a court or administrative order. We may also disclose medical information about you in response to a subpoena, discovery request, or other lawful process by someone else involved in the dispute, but only if efforts have been made to tell you about the request or to obtain an order protecting the information requested.
We may release medical information if asked to do so by a law enforcement official:
- in response to a court order, subpoena, warrant, summons or similar process;
- to identify or locate a suspect, fugitive, material witness, or missing person;
- about the victim of a crime if, under certain limited circumstances, we are unable to obtain the person's agreement;
- about a death we believe may be the result of criminal conduct;
- about criminal conduct at the hospital; and
- in emergency circumstances to report a crime; the location of the crime or victims; or the identity, description or location of the person who committed the crime.
National Security and Intelligence Activities.
We may release medical information about you to authorized federal officials for intelligence, counterintelligence, and other national security activities authorized by law.
If you are an inmate of a correctional institution or under the custody of a law enforcement official, we may release medical information about you to the correctional institution or law enforcement official. This release would be necessary (1) for the institution to provide you with health care; (2) to protect your health and safety or the health and safety of others; or (3) for the safety and security of the correctional institution.
Your Rights Regarding Medical Information About You
You have the following rights regarding medical information we maintain about you:
Right to Inspect and Copy.
You have the right to inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about your Plan benefits. To inspect and copy medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the VEBA Administrator. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request. We may deny your request to inspect and copy in certain very limited circumstances. If you are denied access to medical information, you may request that the denial be reviewed.
Right to Amend.
If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for the Plan. To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the VEBA Administrator. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
- is not part of the medical information kept by or for the Plan;
- was not created by us, unless the person or entity that created the information is no longer available to make the amendment;
- is not part of the information which you would be permitted to inspect and copy; or
- is accurate and complete.
Right to an Accounting of Disclosures.
You have the right to request an "accounting of disclosures" where such disclosure was made for any purpose other than treatment, payment, or health care operations. To request this list or accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to the VEBA Administrator. Your request must state a time period, which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2003. Your request should indicate in what form you want the list (for example, paper or electronic). The first list you request within a 12-month period will be free. For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
Right to Request Restrictions.
You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment, or health care operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery you had. We are not required to agree to your request. To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the VEBA Administrator. In your request, you must tell us (1) what information you want to limit; (2) whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both; and (3) to whom you want the limits to apply, for example, disclosures to your spouse.
Right to Request Confidential Communications.
You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or by mail. To request confidential communications, you must make your request in writing to the VEBA Administrator. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.
Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice.
You have the right to a paper copy of this notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this notice at any time. Even if you have agreed to receive this notice electronically, you are still entitled to a paper copy of this notice. To obtain a paper copy of this notice contact the VEBA Administrator.
Changes to This Notice
We reserve the right to change this notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Plan or the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the Plan, contact the VEBA Administrator as listed below. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
Other Uses of Medical Information
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. You understand that we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission, and that we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.