Privacy Policy

Veterans Guardian VA Consulting (VG) places a high priority on protecting your privacy. This privacy policy was created in order to demonstrate the VG firm commitment to the privacy of our members and website users. This policy explains what types of information is collected by the VG websites www.vetsguardian.com and how this information is used. ​

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. ​​

IP addresses ​

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. ​​

Modifications We may amend this privacy policy from time to time; please review it periodically. We maintain the option to modify this privacy at any time by electronic notice posted on our website. Your continued use of our website after the date that such notices are posted will be deemed to be your agreement to the changed terms. ​​

Protected Health Information Privacy Policy

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:​

Purpose of maintaining PHI. Veterans Guardian collects, maintains, and utilizes PHI for the purpose of assisting clients in the development of VA disability claims. PHI is the basis for any and all VA disability claims. Veterans Guardians ability to effectively advise and assist clients in the development of VA disability claims is predicated on access to PHI, ability to produce new documents based on that information, and consult with other medical and legal professionals about a client’s specific case. Consent. Veterans Guardian possession and use of PHI is contingent on consent from the client. Consent to maintain and utilize PHI for the purpose of advising and assisting clients in the development of VA disability claims is assumed as a result of consent to the consulting services agreement, this privacy policy and by providing PHI to Veterans Guardian. Veterans Guardian may utilize and disclose PHI in accordance with the limitations of this policy without any further written consent. However, the client retains the right at any and all times to determine or change how their PHI is used and disclosed or request return and/or destruction of any and all PHI in Veterans Guardians possession. Any requests to remove consent or specific limitations on the possession and use of PHI must be submitted in writing (either electronically or by mail). Veterans Guardian will comply promptly with any client requests relating to consent and PHI. However, any limitations on the utilization and disclosure of PHI beyond the scope of this policy will significantly impact Veterans Guardians ability to provide advice and assistance and may create a situation where Veterans Guardian can provide no further assistance to a client.​

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. ​

a. Limited Use: The client consents to Veterans Guardian’s limited use of PHI as follows: evaluate a client’s physical and mental health conditions to develop individual claim strategies, develop medical assessments to support a VA disability claims, make recommendations and schedule additional physical and mental health assessments, develop VA documents for claim submission, and to support administrative and billing activities. Veterans Guardian may also use PHI to support development of Veterans Guardian internal practices and procedures and to train staff. Veterans Guardian may also use any documents we have produced as templates to support claim development for other clients. Utilization of PHI for these purposes will separate an individual client’s identity from the information as an added level of protection. Veterans Guardian will always seek client consent (either electronically or in writing) before using or disclosing PHI for purposes beyond the scope of this privacy policy. ​

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. ​​

3. Accountability. Veterans Guardian takes its commitment to securing client privacy very seriously. Every employee and third party associated with disability claim development and administrative functions of Veterans Guardian is responsible for the protected information under their control. All parties with access to PHI are informed about the importance of privacy and receive information and training periodically to update them about this privacy policy and related issues. Veterans Guardian is required by law to protect your health information and provide notification of any compromise of PHI. Veterans Guardian may need to make changes to this policy in the future to better protect PHI and remain in compliance with legal obligations. While a client, Veterans Guardian will provide notice of any changes to this policy and make available a copy for the clients review​ ​

4. Safeguards: Protecting PHI. Veterans Guardian protects PHI with appropriate safeguards and security measures. a. Storage. Veterans Guardian maintains PHI only as electronic files. All paper copies of records received are immediately scanned and stored electronically and the paper copies are destroyed by shredder. Electronic files are maintained on HIPAA compliant cloud based storage. All electronic systems comply with industry standard security protocols. b.Access Control. Access to PHI will be limited to employees and third parties directly involved in advising a client, developing claims and medical-legal evidence and administrative functions and only when required in the performance of their duties pursuant to the consulting services agreement. Hard copy paper files are controlled with physical safeguards and access procedures. Electronic files are controlled through pass-word security and access limitations based on each employee’s role and responsibilities. c. PHI Transmission. Veterans Guardian utilizes electronic transmission procedures in the conduct of operations. Veterans Guardian transmits documents electronically through email with password protection. Please remember that e-mail is not necessarily secure against interception. If communications are very sensitive, transmission should only be conducted through password protected files.. d. Confidential Communications. The client has the right to request confidential communications both in the manner and place of communications. The client may specify a particular means of communication (e.g. by email only) and a specific place (e.g. work phone only). The client may limit communications to specified individuals. Any requests for confidential communications must be made in writing (either electronically or by mail) and include all specified instructions. Veterans Guardian will grant all reasonable requests in a timely manner. e. Third Parties. Veterans Guardian may consult with third parties such as medical, legal and VA professionals to assist in the development of your claim. Any third parties are also bound by law and ethics to safeguard PHI and must agree to abide by this privacy policy. Any PHI provided to third parties is limited to the information necessary to perform the service for which they are engaged and will require that they not maintain or disclose the information for purposes other than that which they are contracted. ​

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. ​

Challenging Compliance. Veterans Guardian encourages clients to contact us with any questions or concerns they might have about their privacy or Veterans Guardian’s Privacy Policy. We will investigate and respond to any concerns about any aspect of our handling of PHI without any fear of repercussions. If the client is not satisfied with Veterans Guardian’s response or believe that their privacy rights have been violated they may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Instructions for how to file a complaint can be found at the following web address: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/filing-a-complaint/complaint-process/index.html