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Keeping Members’ Race, Ethnicity and Language Data Private

There are many language and cultural differences among Health Partners members. Health Partners uses information about these differences to help improve our members’ health. Every Health Partners employee must help protect the privacy of race/ethnicity and language data. We use many methods to keep your data safe.

Why We Use Race/Ethnicity and Language Data

We use race, ethnicity, and language data to help meet the needs of our members. Many organizations have shown that data on race/ethnicity and language can be collected and successfully used to help reduce healthcare differences between groups. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare gives us this data for each of our members. We are allowed to use it only for certain reasons, such as to:

  • Set up programs that address members’ cultural needs while helping them manage their health problems
  • Look into health differences by race, ethnicity, language, zip code and neighborhood
  • Set up outreach programs that are right for the communities we serve
  • Help doctors and other providers understand these differences and better meet the healthcare needs of all our members. This data can help providers develop education programs and offer culturally sensitive healthcare services.
  • Offer materials in languages spoken by our members or interpret the information in person or by phone
  • Help assure that Health Partners staff have language skills to meet our members’ needs
  • Help providers meet requirements of related state and federal laws. Providers cannot deny services or discriminate against people with Medical Assistance on the grounds of race, color, national origin or handicap.

How We Protect Race/Ethnicity and Language Data

We have rules to protect all data that is private and could be used to identify a member. Our rules follow federal laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Health Partners employees can only see your private data when needed to do their job. Then they can see only the data needed.
Here are some of the ways we protect your race/ethnicity and language data:

  • We share private data only on a “need to know” basis.
  • We only allow race/ethnicity and language data to be seen by departments and/or jobs that require it.
  • An employee must have a manager’s okay to see this data. The employee must use a personal computer log-on that is protected by a password.
  • Passwords must be changed often. If an employee no longer is required to use this data, our computer system blocks further use.
  • To protect private data that is on paper, we lock workstations and cabinets. We shred documents when no longer needed.
  • Employees who travel with devices or reports that contain private data must use proper carrying cases. They must also take extra steps to keep data safe.

Health Partners tells members how their race/ethnicity and language data is used and protected. We may use our website, newsletters and/or other ways to tell you. We also tell you if we share your data with doctors or other providers.

Race/Ethnicity and Language Uses that are Not Allowed

Every year, Health Partners’ management looks at our rules. They also look at the reasons we allow for the use of race/ethnicity and language data. If departments or jobs no longer need to use this data, we remove their ability to see it. We do not use race/ethnicity and language data to deny coverage or benefits.

We say “no” to requests from people who are not authorized to get this data. Data is not shared with anyone outside of Health Partners unless authorized. The number one responsibility of employees is to protect members’ data and use it only to improve their health.

Heath Partners Privacy Practices

Our employees know that any data we have about you is private. To learn more about how we protect your health and other private data, return to our Privacy Practices page.