Notice of Privacy Practices
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.
Original Effective Date: April 14th, 2003
Revised Effective Date: June 10th, 2021
A federal law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), requires that we protect the privacy of identifiable health information that is created or received by or on behalf of the Plan. This notice describes the obligations of the Plan under HIPAA, how medical information about you may be used and disclosed, your rights under the privacy provisions of HIPAA, and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.
You have the right to:
- Get a copy of your health and claims records
- Correct your health and claims records
- Request confidential communication
- Ask us to limit the information we share
- Get a list of those with whom we’ve shared your information
- Get a copy of this privacy notice
- Choose someone to act for you
- File a complaint if you believe your privacy rights have been violated
You have some choices in the way that we use and share information if we:
- Answer coverage questions from your family and friends
- Provide disaster relief
- Market our services or sell your information
Our Uses and Disclosures
We may use and share your information as we:
- Help manage the health care treatment you receive
- Run our organization
- Pay for your health services
- Administer your health plan
- Help with public health and safety issues
- Do research
- Comply with the law
- Respond to organ and tissue donation requests and work with a medical examiner or funeral director
- Address workers’ compensation, law enforcement, and other government requests
- Respond to lawsuits and legal actions
When it comes to your health information, you have certain rights. This section explains your rights and some of our responsibilities to help you. Get a copy of health and claims records.
- You can ask to see or get a copy of your health and claims records and other health information we have about you. Ask us how to do this.
- We will provide a copy or a summary of your health and claims records, usually within 30 days of your request. We may charge a reasonable, cost-based fee.
- Ask us to correct health and claims records
- You can ask us to correct your health and claims records if you think they are incorrect or incomplete. Ask us how to do this.
- We may say “no” to your request, but we’ll tell you why in writing within 60 days.
- Request confidential communications
- You can ask us to contact you in a specific way (for example, home or office phone) or to send mail to a different address.
- We will consider all reasonable requests, and must say “yes” if you tell us you would be in danger if we do not.
- Ask us to limit what we use or share
- You can ask us not to use or share certain health information for treatment, payment, or our operations.
- We are not required to agree to your request, and we may say “no” if it would affect your care.
- Get a list of those with whom we’ve shared information
- You can ask for a list (accounting) of the times we’ve shared your health information (including medical records, billing records, and any other records used to make decisions regarding your health care benefits) for six years prior to the date you ask, who we shared it with, and why.
- We will include all the disclosures except: (1) disclosures for purposes of treatment, payment, or health care operations; (2) disclosures made to you; (3) disclosures made pursuant to your authorization; (4) disclosures made to friends or family in your presence or because of an emergency; (5) disclosures for national security purposes; and (6) disclosures incidental to otherwise permissible disclosures.
- To request an accounting, you must submit a written request to the Privacy Contact identified in this Notice. Your request must state a time period of no longer than six (6) years.
You can ask for a paper copy of this notice at any time, even if you have agreed to receive the notice electronically. We will provide you with a paper copy promptly.
Choose someone to act for you
- If you have given someone medical power of attorney or if someone is your legal guardian, that person can exercise your rights and make choices about your health information.
- We will make sure the person has this authority and can act for you before we take any action.
- You can complain if you feel we have violated your rights by contacting us using the information on page 1.
- You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights by sending a letter to 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201, calling 1-877-696-6775, or visiting www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/.
- We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
For certain health information, you can tell us your choices about what we share. If you have a clear preference for how we share your information in the situations described below, talk to us. Tell us what you want us to do, and we will follow your instructions.
In these cases, you have both the right and choice to tell us to:
- Share information with your family, close friends, or others involved in payment for your care
- Share information in a disaster relief situation
If you are not able to tell us your preference, for example if you are unconscious, we may go ahead and share your information if we believe it is in your best interest. We may also share your information when needed to lessen a serious and imminent threat to health or safety.
In these cases we never share your information unless you give us written permission:
- Marketing purposes, including when you provide your mobile phone number for the express purpose of enrolling in the Plan’s texting program. See “SMS Texting Terms and Conditions” for details.
- Sale of your information
Our Uses and Disclosures
How do we typically use or share your health information?
We typically use or share your health information in the following ways.
Help manage the health care treatment you receive
We can use your health information and share it with professionals who are treating you.
Example: The Plan may disclose your health information so that your doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, and other health care providers may provide you with medical treatment.
Run our organization
We can use and disclose your information to run our organization (healthcare operations), improve the quality of care we provide, reduce healthcare costs, and contact you when necessary.
Example: The Plan may use and disclose your information to determine the budget for the following year, or to set premiums.
We are not allowed to use genetic information to decide whether we will give you coverage and the price of that coverage. This does not apply to long term care plans.
Example: We use health information about you to develop better services for you.
Pay for your health services
We can use and disclose your health information as we pay for your health services.
Example: We share information about you with CVS Caremark to coordinate payment for your prescriptions.
Administer your plan
We may disclose your health information to your health plan sponsor for plan administration.
Example: Your employer’s Health Benefit Representative is provided information to help you understand your health benefits, and help make sure you are enrolled.
How else can we use or share your health information?
We are allowed or required to share your information in other ways – usually in ways that contribute to the public good, such as public health and research. We have to meet many conditions in the law before we can share your information for these purposes. For more information see: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/index.html.
Help with public health and safety issues
We can share health information about you for certain situations such as:
- Preventing disease
- Helping with product recalls
- Reporting adverse reactions to medications
- Reporting suspected abuse, neglect, or domestic violence
- Preventing or reducing a serious threat to anyone’s health or safety
We can use or share your information for health research. Research done using Plan information must go through a special review process. We will not use or disclose your information unless we have your authorization, or we have determined that your privacy is protected.
Comply with the law
We will share information about you if state or federal laws require it, including with the Department of Health and Human Services if it wants to see that we’re complying with federal privacy law.
Respond to organ and tissue donation requests and work with a medical examiner or funeral director
- We can share health information about you with organ procurement organizations.
- We can share health information with a coroner, medical examiner, or funeral director when an individual dies.
Address workers’ compensation, law enforcement, and other government requests
We can use or share health information about you:
- For workers’ compensation claims
- For law enforcement purposes or with a law enforcement official
- With health oversight agencies for activities authorized by law
- For special government functions such as military, national security, and presidential protective services
Respond to lawsuits and legal actions
We can share health information about you in response to a court or administrative order, or in response to a subpoena.
Other Uses and Disclosures
Some uses and disclosures of your will be made only with your written authorization. For example, your written authorization is required in the following instances: (i) any use or disclosure of psychotherapy notes, except as otherwise permitted in 45 C.F.R. 164.508(a)(2); (ii) any use or disclosure for “marketing,” except as otherwise permitted in 45 C.F.R. 164.508(a)(3); (iii) any disclosure which constitutes a sale of PHI. If you authorize the Plan to use or disclose your PHI, you may revoke the authorization at any time in writing. However, your revocation will only stop future uses and disclosures that are made after the Plan receive your revocation. It will not have any effect on the prior uses and disclosures of your PHI.
- We are required by law to maintain the privacy and security of your protected health information.
- We will let you know promptly if a breach occurs that may have compromised the privacy or security of your information.
- We must follow the duties and privacy practices described in this notice and give you a copy of it.
- We will not use or share your information other than as described here unless you tell us we can in writing. If you tell us we can, you may change your mind at any time. Let us know in writing if you change your mind.
For more information see: www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/noticepp.html.
Changes to the Terms of this Notice
The Plan has the right to change this notice at any time. The Plan also has the right to make the revised or changed notice effective for medical information the Plan already has about you as well, as any information received in the future. The Plan will post a copy of the current notice at www.shpnc.org. You may request a copy by calling 919-814-4400.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with the Plan or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be penalized or retaliated against for filing a complaint.
To file a complaint with the Plan, contact the Privacy Contact identified in this Notice.
To file a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil rights use this contact information:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW.
Room 509F, HHH Building
Washington, DC 20201
1–800–368–1019, 800–537–7697 (TDD)
File complaint electronically at https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/portal/lobby.jsf
Complaint forms are available at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/office/file/index.html
The Privacy Contact at the Plan is:
State Health Plan
Attention: HIPAA Privacy Officer
3200 Atlantic Avenue Raleigh, NC 27604