What is “Private Information?”
Private Information means any information relating to an individual that identifies that individual or could reasonably be used to identify the individual regardless of the medium involved (e.g., paper, electronic, video, audio). Private Information also can constitute “protected health information” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).
Whose Private Information is covered?
NOTICE – COLLECTION AND USE; INFORMING THE INDIVIDUAL
A. Collection and Use
Vanguard seeks to collect and use Private Information it acquires as a business from individuals and third parties only in a lawful manner.
Cookies: When you visit a Vanguard website, we may assign your computer one or more “cookies.” A cookie is a small text file that contains information that can later be read by us to facilitate your access to the site and personalize your online experience. For example, when you sign into a Vanguard website, we may record your user ID in a cookie file on your computer. In addition, through the use of a cookie, we may automatically collect information about your online activity on the Vanguard site, such as the web pages you visit, the links you click, and the searches you conduct. Most browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies by visiting the Help portion of your browser’s toolbar. If you choose to decline cookies, please note that you may not be able to sign in or use some of the interactive features offered on the Vanguard website.
Other Technologies: We may use standard Internet technology, such as Web beacons (also called clear GIFs or pixel tags) and other similar technologies, to deliver or communicate with cookies and track your use of the Vanguard site. We also may include web beacons in e-mail messages or newsletters to determine whether messages have been opened and acted upon. The information we obtain in this manner enables us to customize the services we offer and measure the overall effectiveness of our online content, advertising campaigns, and the products and services offered through the site.
- Why does Vanguard collect and use Private Information?Our collection and use of Private Information is essential to the conduct of many of the Vanguard’s business functions. Examples of the purposes for which Vanguard collects and uses Private Information include:In response to the inquiries that you submit to Vanguard via the online forms, in request for our services and to help you achieve your goals; Administer and facilitate your access to and provide you with the Vanguard resources, decision-support tools, and other materials available to you through our website; Communicate with you about appointments, surveys, marketing, promotions, events, and other exclusive opportunities offered by us, including information about other Vanguard programs in which you may be interested; Engage in research and analysis in order to maintain, protect and improve Vanguard services, as well as develop new services; Enhance the Vanguard services; and to help ensure the technical functioning of the Vanguard website.Informing the Individual: In those cases where we obtain Private Information about an individual from the individual directly, we inform that individual of (or make available to that individual information relating to) the type of data we collect, the purposes for which we collect it, how to contact us with any inquiries or complaints, the types of parties to whom we might disclose the Private Information, the privacy and information safeguards we employ, and that person’s right to access and, if necessary, correct the Private Information. We will provide or make available this notice when individuals are first asked to provide Private Information to Vanguard, or as soon thereafter as is practicable.
Vanguard recognizes the importance of respecting individuals’ privacy preferences.We may share individuals’ Private Information with third parties who are acting on our behalf to enable us to provide the individuals with certain services. In addition, where consent of individuals or their representatives (such as a family member or guardian) for the collection, use, or disclosure of Private Information is required by law, contract or agreement, we will obtain such consent or seek assurance that Vanguard has obtained such consent.
- Are there cases when Vanguard may disclose Private Information without consent?Yes. In certain limited or exceptional circumstances, and in accordance with legal requirements, we disclose an individual’s Private Information without the individual’s consent, such as (a) when we are required to disclose the information by law or legal process, (b) when the vital interests of the individual, such as life or health, are at stake, or (c) when we believe it is appropriate to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal or suspected illegal activities; to protect and defend the rights, property or safety of Vanguard, our members, customers or others.
- What happens if Individuals object to the collection, use, and disclosure of their Private Information?We will make reasonable efforts to address the concerns of any individual who objects to providing us his or her Private Information. See also the complaint resolution procedures set forth below.
Vanguard provides individuals about whom it maintains Private Information with a reasonable opportunity to examine their information, to challenge its accuracy, and to have it corrected, amended or deleted as appropriate, subject to certain exceptions.
- How do Individuals exercise their rights under the Access Principle?Upon request, individuals will be given reasonable access to the Private Information that Vanguard holds about them. Reasonable access applies to both the process of accessing Private Information and the types of Private Information to be accessed. In terms of the process, reasonable access means, for example, that requests for access are made during normal business hours, following standard procedures, and that the frequency of access requests is not excessive. In terms of the types of Private Information to be accessed, reasonable access means recognizing certain exceptions discussed in frequently asked question #2 that follows. If we deny an individual access, however, we will provide such individual with the reason(s) for denying access and a contact point for further inquiries.If we are notified that Private Information maintained by us is incorrect, where requested and provided with appropriate supporting documentation, we will either correct the information or direct the individual to the source of the information for correction. If, upon review, we believe that the existing information is correct, we will inform the individual. If the individual continues to dispute the accuracy of the information, Vanguard will note that dispute in the individual’s record upon request.
- Is there any Private Information of an Individual maintained by Vanguard that such Individual would not be permitted to access?Yes, there are some exceptions to the obligation to provide access. These may include access to confidential or proprietary information, such as physician notes, or situations in which granting access might have to be balanced against the privacy interests of others. In addition, access may be denied when the information requested relates to an ongoing investigation of the individual, litigation or potential litigation or where the burden or expense of providing access would be disproportionate to the risks to the individual’s privacy. In cases of sensitive medical information, it may be more appropriate to provide such information to the individual’s health care provider who in turn can provide such information to the individual and be available to interpret properly the meaning of the information collected.
Vanguard employs reasonable steps to keep Private Information accurate, complete and up-to-date.
- Is there a role for Individuals to play in maintaining the accuracy of Private Information?Yes. Keeping Private Information as accurate, complete and up-to date as required for the purposes for which it is used is in the best interests of both individuals and Vanguard. We expect all individuals to assist in keeping the Private Information we hold about them accurate, complete and up-to-date, and facilitate the cooperation by the individuals in doing so.
Vanguard has implemented technical and organizational security measures to help protect against unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of Private Information. We review our systems regularly to help ensure that the security and integrity of personal information in our possession is not compromised. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be entirely secure and we do not assume any liability for any damage suffered by you caused by the interception, alteration, or misuse of information during transmission that is outside of our reasonable control.
Within Vanguard, we restrict access to Private Information to employees, contractors, and agents who need to know that information in order to operate, develop, or improve our programs and services. We subject our third party contractors and agents to contractual controls to help ensure that they apply suitable protections to any personal information they access or receive from us.
- Is there a role for Individuals to play in maintaining the security of Private Information?Individuals play a vital role in maintaining security by, for examples, protecting passwords used to access a system, keeping their own paper records under lock and key when not in use, and disposing of records and reports no longer needed in a secure manner. Effective security with respect to the Vanguard website depends, in part, on Vanguard patients and their employees ensuring that any IDs and passwords that they have been issued by us are kept confidential and secure and that members adhere to the restrictions on password and ID-sharing.
- How are decisions reached about who has access to Private Information about individuals?Access to Private Information about individuals is given only to those employees, vendors, or other persons with a legitimate need to know the information to carry out their responsibilities.
- What is to prevent a person who has access to some of an individual’s Private Information from browsing through other parts of it for other reasons?It is the Vanguard’s policy to grant employees, agents and contractors access only to the amount of information necessary to carry out their responsibilities.
Vanguard website contains business-related content and is specifically aimed at and designed for use by adults. We do not knowingly solicit or collect Private Information from individuals under the age of 18 years. If we discover that we have received Private Information from an individual whom we believe to be under the age of 18 in some other manner, we will delete such information from our systems.
ENFORCEMENT-COMPLIANCE AND COMPLAINT RESOLUTION
B. Complaint Resolution
- What are the procedures for filing a complaint about the handling of Private Information?All individuals having questions or complaints concerning Vanguard’s privacy practices can send a letter to:
Compliance/Website, Vanguard Medical Group, P.A., 123 N. Union Avenue, Suite 204, Cranford, NJ 07016.
- What types of independent dispute resolution mechanisms are available?Some jurisdictions have established data protection authorities overseeing the processing of Private Information that are willing to assist in the resolution of complaints. Vanguard is committed to working with these authorities to resolve any complaint and to complying with their decisions in such cases.Alternatively, in jurisdictions where there is no data protection authority available to provide dispute resolution, we identified and will utilize an independent alternative dispute resolution mechanism administered by the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution (www.cpradr.org).Vanguard will be able to provide additional information about the use of independent dispute resolution mechanisms.
CHANGES TO THIS POLICY