77 Mac Room 201
14.1 Notice of Privacy Practices
(Effective April 14, 2004)
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.
If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Privacy Officer:
1600 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
14.1.1 Who Will Follow This Notice
This notice describes the medical information practices of the The Macalester College Health Plan ("Health Plan") and that of any third party that assists in the administration of Health Plan claims.
For purposes of HIPAA and this notice, the Health Plan includes the following:
- Health insurance plan for the group
- Dental insurance plan for the group
- Health care expense reimbursement program
14.1.2 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. This notice applies to all of the medical records maintained by the Health Plan. 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 tells 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 tomedical information about you;
- and follow the terms of the notice that are currently in effect.
14.1.3 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. These examples are not exhaustive. 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.
Please note: In most instances, how information is used and disclosed has not changed. The descriptions reflect how the Health Plan has traditionally operated.
For Treatment (as described in applicable regulations)
We may use or disclose medical information about you to facilitate medical treatment or services by providers. We may disclose medical information about you to providers, including doctors, nurses, technicians, medical students, or other hospital personnel who are involved in taking care of you.
For Payment (as described in applicable regulations)
We may use and disclose medical information about you to determine eligibility for benefits, to facilitate payment for the treatment and services you receive from health care providers, to determine benefit responsibility under the Health Plan, or to coordinate Health 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 Health Plan covers 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 (legal actions) or subrogation (third party reimbursements) 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 Health Plan operations. These uses and disclosures are necessary to run the Health Plan. For example, we may use medical information in connection with: conducting quality assessment and improvement activities; underwriting, premium rating, and other activities relating to Health Plan coverage; submitting claims for stop-loss (or excess loss) coverage; conducting or arranging for medical review, legal services, audit services, and fraud and abuse detection programs; business planning and development such as cost management; and business management and general Health Plan administrative activities.
As Required By Law
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 or subpoena.
To Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety
The Health Plan 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. However disclosure would be limited to someone able to help prevent the threat.
14.1.4 Special Situations
Disclosure to Health Plan Sponsor
Information may be disclosed to another health plan for purposes of facilitating claims payments under that plan. In addition, medical information may be disclosed to Macalester College personnel solely for administering benefits under the Health Plan.
Organ and Tissue Donation
If you are an organ donor, we may release medical information to organizations that handle organ procurement or organ, eye or tissue transplantation or to an organ donation bank, as necessary to facilitate organ or tissue donation and transplantation.
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 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 an individual 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; 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.
Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors
We may release medical information to a coroner or medical examiner. This may be necessary, for example, to identify a deceased person or determine the cause of death. We may also release medical information about patients of the hospital to funeral directors as necessary to carry out their duties.
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.
14.1.5 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 Health Plan benefits. To inspect and copy the medical information that may be used to make decisions about you, you must submit your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. 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 Health Plan.
To request an amendment, your request must be made in writing and submitted to the Privacy Officer. 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 Health 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 of accounting of disclosures, you must submit your request in writing to Privacy Officer. Your request must state a time period which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before April 14, 2004. 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. We are not required to agree to your request.
To request restrictions, you must make your request in writing to the Privacy Officer. 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 Privacy Officer. 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 Privacy Officer.
14.1.6 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. We will post a copy of the current notice on the Health Plan website. The notice will contain on the first page, in the top right hand corner, the effective date.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Health Plan or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint with the Health Plan, contact the Privacy Officer. All complaints must be submitted in writing.
To file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services, contact:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
233 N. Michigan Ave. - Suite 240
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 886-2359; (312) 353-5693 (TDD)
(312) 886-1807 FAX
You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
14.1.8 Other Uses of Medical Information
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this notice or the other applicable laws 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.