What Personally Identifiable Information is Collected
VG members that register for www.vetsguardian.com and individuals that sign up to receive VG e-communications voluntarily provide us with contact information (such as name and e-mail address). We may use this information for specific, limited purposes. You may always “opt out,” either now or at any time in the future, if you do not wish to receive our messages.
The VG uses your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server, to administer www.vetsguardian.com, and for statistical metrics used to track website visitor traffic.
Cookies www.vetsguardian.com uses “cookie” messages to automatically help provide better services. They remind us who you are and your preferences for our website based on what you’ve done and told us before. The “cookie” is placed in your computer and is read when you come back to our website. Cookies let us take you to the information and features you’re particularly interested in. They also let us track your usage of www.vetsguardian.com, so we know which parts of our sites are most popular. You can reject cookies or cancel them by instructing your Web browser accordingly.
How Your Information May Be Used We use your personal information to provide you with personalized service; to send e-mail alerts to you; to answer your requests; to process your membership application; etc. You may choose to opt out at any time, which will cease all communications from us. We may also use your information to track visitor of our website. This lets us see which of our features are the most popular so we can better serve our users’ needs. It also lets us provide aggregate data about our traffic (not identifying you personally, but showing how many visitors used which features, for example) to outside parties
Email Privacy The VG does not provide, sell, or rent email addresses to anyone outside the organization.
External Links www.vetsguardian.com includes links to external websites. These links do not fall under the www.vetsguardian.com domain, and the VG is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of external websites. Your use of any linked website is solely at your own risk.
The appropriate collection, use and disclosure of a client’s protected health information (PHI) is fundamental to assisting clients in the development and submission of VA disability claims. Protecting the privacy and the confidentiality of client PHI is of vital important to Veterans Guardian and its staff. This policy explains the client’s rights and Veterans Guardians responsibilities with regard to PHI. This policy explains how and why the clients PHI is utilized, safeguards, limitations on disclosure, client consent and rights, information about applicable laws and how changes to this policy will be made available to the client. Veterans Guardian abides by its commitment to privacy and protection of client PHI. This policy was last modified on the 1st of February 2019.
This policy applies to any and all information regarding a client’s PHI related to the client’s physical and mental health. A client’s PHI may include documents and information provided by the client, documents and information developed by Veterans Guardian to support a client’s VA disability claim, documents and information produced by medical professionals providing medical assessments to support the development of a client’s VA disability claim and administrative and billing information. PHI may include documents or information that identifies you, relates past, present and future physical and mental conditions, past and present diagnosis, test results, treatment and symptoms, present and future treatments and tests and administrative and billing information.
Veterans Guardian considers protection of PHI a vital priority and has developed and follows a set of policies to maintain appropriate protections. This policy reflects compliance with fair information practices, applicable laws and standards of practice. This policy is constructed around 8 Principals of Privacy:
Limited Collection. Collecting and maintaining PHI is limited to information necessary to provides advice and assistance in the development of VA disability claims. Collection of past and present PHI is limited to that which is provided by the client. Veterans Guardian will not attempt in any way to gain additional past or present PHI through any other means than requests to the client. The only exception to this policy is if the client chooses to use a medical professional pre-identified by Veterans Guardian for a physical or mental health assessment as part of an individual claim strategy. In this case Veterans Guardian may coordinate directly with said medical professional to obtain PHI. If the client chooses to use any other medical professional Veterans Guardian will coordinate solely with the client and will not attempt to contact said medical professional. THE CLIENT CONTROLS WHAT PHI IS PROVIDED TO VETERANS GUARDIAN. It is important for the client to understand that limitations on PHI provided to Veterans Guardian limits our ability to provide effective advice and assistance. Limited Use, Disclosure and Retention.
b. Limited Disclosure: Veterans Guardian will limit disclosure of PHI to the minimum necessary to support operations. PHI may be disclosed to selected Veterans Guardian employees to support development of a client’s disability claim and the conduct of Veterans Guardian operations. PHI may also be disclosed to selected medical, legal, Veterans Administration and other VA claim professionals for the sole purposes of gaining opinions, recommendations, peer review and quality control to support development of a client’s disability claim. Disclosure may also be made to medical professionals that are providing physical or mental health assessments to support development of a client’s disability claim. Any persons to whom PHI has been disclosed will comply with the accountability and safeguard provisions of this policy.
Disclosure of PHI pursuant to legal obligations may occur as required by state or federal entities which may include but is not limited to disclosure to government agencies for health oversight activities, licensing and auditing, when abuse or neglect is apparent, threats to health or safety or to prevent serious harm, court order or subpoena, coroners and medical examiners and national security matters. Any disclosure under this consideration will be limited to the minimum legal and statutory requirements. PHI will not be disclosed to family, friends or others without express permission from the client. Under no circumstances do we sell client lists or other protected information to third parties.
c. Limited Retention. Veterans Guardian will only retain PHI for the duration of the consulting relationship which ends once all claims have been pursued and all consulting fees have been paid. Once the consulting relationship has ended PHI will be physically destroyed or electronically erased in accordance with industry standards for PHI protection. Veterans Guardian may retain copies of documents we have produced to serve as templates for development of other client claims. Any retained documents will remove any personal identifying information.
5. Access and Correction. a. Right to Access. The client maintains the right to access PHI maintained by Veterans Guardian. Clients may request copies of PHI maintained by Veterans Guardian in writing (either electronically or by mail). Requests should designate how the client would like to receive copies (either electronically or by mail). Requests will be processed in a reasonable time after confirmation of identity. Veterans Guardian may charge a fee for this service, and if so, will provide notice in advance of processing the request. b. Amendments and Corrections. The client maintains the right to request corrections to PHI created by Veterans Guardian if the client believes that any information is incorrect or incomplete. Any requests for corrections must be submitted in writing (either electronically or by mail) and must include the correction desired, reasoning for the correction, and any supporting evidence. Veterans Guardian is not required to agree to requested corrections relating to any opinions made in good faith. Veterans Guardian will provide its decision and reasoning for any requests for correction in writing. If the request is not granted, Veterans Guardian will include the request for correction and/or a statement of disagreement from the client in their file. Any corrections to PHI not created by Veterans Guardian must be addressed to the party that created the PHI, such as any medical professionals that provide physical or mental health assessments. Veterans Guardian does not have the authority to correct PHI provided by another party, but can include statements of disagreement from the client. c. Disclosures. The client maintains the right to know to whom their PHI has been disclosed by Veterans Guardian pursuant to this policy. Upon request, Veterans Guardian will provide a list of parties to whom a client’s PHI has been disclosed.