Employee Handbook

14.12 Restrictions on Confidential Communications Requested by Individual

14.12.1 Policy Statement

Individuals have the right to request an alternate means of communication of the individual's protected health information (PHI) from the Health Plan to the individual. The restrictions apply only to communications to the individual by the Health Plan or communications that would otherwise go to the subscriber of the policy under which the individual has coverage. The effect of this is to ensure a family member who is not the subscriber can receive communications of PHI at the individual's workplace or other alternate address or phone number, so that other family members are unaware of the information.

14.12.2 Policy Interpretation and Implementation

Request for Confidential Communications

A request for confidential communications must be submitted in writing to the HIPAA Privacy Officer. Such request must specify the type of information to be covered by the confidential communication's restriction, and to whom the restriction applies, the alternate address or other method of contact requested, and how payment will be handled (if applicable). The Health Plan may require evidence that if the information is disclosed other than the manner requested it could endanger the individual.

 

 

Consideration of Request

Upon receipt of an individual's written request for confidential communications of PHI, the HIPAA Privacy Officer will:

  • Determine the reasonableness of the request based on the administrative capability of the Health Plan to comply with such request;
  • The determination of reasonableness will not include an evaluation of the merits of the individual's reason for making the request;
  • Identify the alternate means by and/or location to which the individual requests the information to be communicated and how payment will be handled; and
  • Notify the individual whether or not the Health Plan agrees to the request within sixty (60) days of the date such request was received unless an extension is necessary. Such extension shall not exceed thirty (30) days.

 

 

Exceptions to confidential communications

Should the Health Plan agree to the confidential communications, the Health Plan and its business associates will honor such request except when the confidential communication request is terminated by the Health Plan or the individual. The Privacy Officer will be responsible for notifying any impacted business associate.

 

 

Termination of confidential communications

The Health Plan may terminate confidential communications:

  • When the individual requests the termination; and/or
  • When the Health Plan informs the individual of the termination.

 

 

Termination Notices

Termination notices must be in writing and must indicate the date such termination is to become effective and the reason(s) for such termination. The termination notice must be provided before the effective date of the termination notice. A copy of the termination notice must be filed in the individual's records maintained for HIPAA purposes.

 

 

Record Retention

A copy of all HIPAA covered information and any revisions shall be maintained for a period of at least six (6) years. Such retention may be in printed or electronic format, or both.

 

 

Privacy Officer

The Privacy Officer is responsible for the development and implementation of the HIPAA policies and procedures. The Privacy Officer is also the contact person for any questions or complaints regarding HIPAA. Questions or concerns about HIPAA rights should be directed to the Privacy Officer during regular business office hours Monday through Friday, except holidays, at (651) 696-6280.

 

 

Violations

Violations of this policy will be subject to discipline.