Notice of Privacy Practices for Certain RIT Benefit Plans
THIS NOTICE, WHICH IS REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW, DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
This Notice describes how some of the Rochester Institute of Technology (the “Plan Sponsor”) employee benefit plans administered by our carriers, vendors and/or any third-party administrator (collectively referred to in this notice as the “Plan,” “we,” “us,” or “our”), may use and disclose Protected Health Information, as defined below, to carry out payment and health care operations, and for other purposes that are permitted or required by law. The plans covered by these regulations are RIT’s Medical Care and Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Care Plan, Vision Care Plan, Beneflex, Employee Assistance Program, and Long Term Care Insurance (the “Plan”).
We are required by the privacy regulations issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) to maintain the privacy of Protected Health Information and to provide individuals covered under the Plan with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices concerning Protected Health Information. We are required to abide by the terms of this Notice so long as it remains in effect. We reserve the right to change the terms of this Notice of Privacy Practices as necessary and to make the new Notice effective for all Protected Health Information maintained by us. If we make material changes to our privacy practices, copies of revised notices will be provided to all participants in the Plan. Copies of RIT’s current Notice may be obtained by using the contact information below, or can be found on RIT’s HR website.
Protected Health Information (“PHI”) means individually identifiable health information, as defined by HIPAA, that is created or received by the Plan and that relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual; the provision of health care to an individual; or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual; and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify the individual. PHI includes information of persons living or deceased.
USES AND DISCLOSURES OF YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose PHI. For each category of uses and disclosures we will explain what we mean and, where appropriate, provide examples for illustrative purposes. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted or required to use and disclose PHI will fall within one of the categories.
We will not use or disclose your PHI for marketing purposes or sell your PHI unless you have signed a written authorization. Additionally, any other uses or disclosures not described in this Notice will be made only after you have signed a form authorizing the use or disclosure. You have the right to revoke that authorization in writing except to the extent that (1) we have taken action in reliance upon the authorization or (2) the authorization was obtained as a condition of obtaining coverage under the Plan and we have the right, under other law, to contest a claim under the coverage or the coverage itself.
Uses and Disclosures for Payment
There may be requests, uses, and disclosures of your PHI as necessary for payment purposes. For example, information regarding your medical procedures and treatment may be used to process and pay claims. Your PHI may also be disclosed for the payment of a health care provider or a health plan.
Uses and Disclosures for Health Care Operations
Your PHI may be used as necessary for our health care operations. Examples of health care operations include activities relating to the creation, renewal, or replacement of your Plan coverage, reinsurance, compliance, auditing, rating, business management, quality improvement and assurance, and other functions related to the Plan.
Although the law allows use and disclosure of your PHI for purposes of treatment, as a group health plan, your information generally does not need to be disclosed for treatment purposes. Your physician or health care provider is required to provide you with an explanation of how they use and share your PHI for purposes of treatment, payment and health care operations.
Family and Friends Involved in Your Care
If you are available and do not object, your PHI may be disclosed to your family, friends, and others who are involved in your care or payment of a claim. If you are unavailable or incapacitated and it is determined that a limited disclosure is in your best interest, limited PHI may be shared with such individuals. For example, the Plan’s claims administrator may use its professional judgment to disclose PHI to your spouse concerning the processing of a claim.
At times we use outside persons or organizations to help us provide you with the benefits under the Plan. Examples of these outside persons and organizations might include vendors that process your claims. At times it may be necessary for us to provide certain of your PHI to one or more of these outside persons or organizations. Business Associates are also required by law to protect PHI.
PHI may be disclosed to certain employees of the Plan Sponsor for the purpose of administering the Plan. These employees will use or disclose the PHI only as necessary to perform plan administration functions or as otherwise required by HIPAA, unless you have authorized additional disclosures. Your PHI cannot be used for employment purposes without your specific authorization.
Other Uses and Disclosures
There are certain other lawful uses and disclosures of your PHI without your authorization. Disclosures are allowed:
- for any purpose required by law. For example, we may be required by law to use or disclose your PHI to respond to a court order.
- for public health activities, such as reporting of disease, injury, birth and death, and for public health investigations.
- if we suspect child abuse or neglect, or if we believe you to be a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, your PHI may be disclosed to the proper authorities.
- if authorized by law to a government oversight agency (e.g., a state insurance department) conducting audits, investigations, or civil or criminal proceedings.
- in the course of a judicial or administrative proceeding (e.g., to respond to a subpoena or discovery request).
- for law enforcement purposes, your PHI may be disclosed to the proper authorities.
- to coroners, medical examiners, and/or funeral directors consistent with law.
- for cadaveric organ, eye or tissue donation.
- for research purposes, but only as permitted by law.
- to avert a serious threat to health or safety.
- if you are a member of the military as required by armed forces services, and for other specialized government functions such as national security or intelligence activities.
- to workers' compensation agencies for your workers' compensation benefit determination.
- if required by law, your PHI will be released to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for enforcement of HIPAA.
In the event applicable law, other than HIPAA, prohibits or materially limits our uses and disclosures of PHI, as described above, uses or disclosure of your PHI will be restricted in accordance with the more stringent standard.
RIGHTS THAT YOU HAVE
Access to Your PHI
You have the right of access to copy and/or inspect your PHI that we maintain in designated record sets. You have the right to request that we send a copy of your PHI that we maintain in designated record sets to another person. Certain requests for access to your PHI must be in writing, must state that you want access to your PHI or that you want your PHI sent to another person (who must be named in the request), and must be signed by you or your representative (e.g., requests for medical records provided to us directly from your health care provider). We may charge you a fee for copying and postage.
Amendments to Your PHI
You have the right to request that PHI that we maintain about you be amended or corrected. We are not obligated to make all requested amendments but will give each request careful consideration. To be considered, your amendment request must be in writing, must be signed by you or your representative, and must state the reasons for the amendment/correction request.
Accounting for Disclosures of Your PHI
You have the right to receive an accounting of certain disclosures made of your PHI. Examples of disclosures that we are required to account for include those to state insurance departments, pursuant to valid legal process, or for law enforcement purposes. To be considered, your accounting requests must be in writing and signed by you or your representative. The first accounting in any 12-month period is free; however, we may charge you a fee for each subsequent accounting you request within the same 12-month period.
Restrictions on Use and Disclosure of Your PHI
You have the right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of your PHI for insurance payment or health care operations, disclosures made to persons involved in your care, and disclosures for disaster relief purposes. For example, you may request that your PHI not be disclosed to your spouse. Your request must describe in detail the restriction you are requesting. Your request will be considered, but in most cases there is no legal obligation to agree to those restrictions. However, we will comply with any restriction request if the disclosure is to a health plan for purposes of payment or health care operations and the PHI pertains solely to a health care item or service that you have paid for out-of-pocket and in full. We retain the right to terminate an agreed-to restriction if we believe such termination is appropriate. In the event of a termination by us, we will notify you of such termination. You also have the right to terminate, in writing or orally, any agreed-to restriction. You may make a request for a restriction (or termination of an existing restriction) by contacting us at the telephone number or address below.
Request for Confidential Communications
You have the right to request that communications regarding your PHI be made by alternative means or at alternative locations. For example, you may request that messages not be left on voice mail or sent to a particular address. We are required to accommodate reasonable requests if you inform us that disclosure of all or part of your information could place you in danger. Requests for confidential communications must be in writing, signed by you or your representative, and sent to us at the address below.
Right to be Notified of a Breach
You have the right to be notified in the event that we (or one of our Business Associates) discover a breach of your unsecured PHI. Notice of any such breach will be made in accordance with federal requirements.
Right to a Copy of the Notice
If you have agreed to accept this Notice electronically, you have the right to a paper copy of this Notice upon request by contacting us at the telephone number or address below.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with us in writing at the address below. You may also file a complaint in writing with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., within 180 days of a violation of your rights. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
If you have questions or need further assistance regarding this Notice, you may contact your benefits representative in RIT’s Human Resources Department based on the first letter of your last name as follows. Our mailing address is 8 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, NY 14623.