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HIPAA and Medical Records: What you Should Know

There can be a lot of confusion about the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) which was enacted by the US Congress in 1996. Formulated to ensure that a patient's access to insurance was still in place when moving between companies, additional policies/amendments were later added to cover new developments in technology.

Crucial Information 1: You are allowed to share your HIPAA with anyone you designate

Many healthcare providers struggle to fully understand and opt for the easy route by dis-allowing all sharing of PHI. However, you are entitled to state and allocate some specific permissions, in writing, for anyone you select.

Crucial Information 2: Groups can access your healthcare history

 It is a common misconception that only patients or caregivers can obtain copies of medical histories. However, there are special exceptions to this that will legally allow organizations to access PHI. Additionally, cybercriminals can gain illegal access to the record. 

Crucial Information 3: Your Employer if Forbidden from seeing your medical history without permission from you

Even if your employer is paying for you private medical insurance, they are not given special permission to access your medical history. HIPAA prohibits employers from accessing a patient's records, visit HIPAA Guide Net for more information about it.

Crucial Information 4: You can correspond with your Doctor via email HIPAA Laws Prevent Doctors from Exchanging Email with Their Patients

If the correct security measures and filters are in place then it is perfectly acceptable for you to communicate with your Doctor using email. However, a lot of doctors are unwilling to correspond in this fashion for fear of unknowingly breaching HIPAA.

Crucial Information 5: Your healthcare provider must give you access all your PHI

This is not the case as your healthcare provider may believe that the PHI is harmful to you and deny you access to it. 

Crucial Information 6: You cannot take a legal action to obtain withheld PHI

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a process in place a procedure patient may follow if they believe their rights have been violated under HIPAA laws, however there is no provision for taking an official legal action. The online process provided by HHS allows you to submit a formal complaint.

Crucial Information 7: All groups are no subjected to HIPAA Laws

There are many organizations that are not bound by HIPAA. The groups that are subject to HIPAA are: Healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, and sometimes insurers are the only entities bound by HIPAA.

Crucial Information 8: Organizations do not always have to correct mistakes in your HIPAA

It may be the case that your provider refuses to make the changes you requested. If this happens, you may write a dispute letter about the mistakes you have found and the provider or facility must include your letter in your patient file.

Crucial Information 9: Credit Records can impact by your medical history

If you are being investigated for not paying a debt linked to payment for medical treatment then your relevant files could be turned over to a collection agency.

Crucial Information 10: Marketing Companies can obtain your PHI

You have to be careful what permissions you provide when you subscribe to a service as you may unwittingly provide authorization for marketing companies to view your PHI.