Security of Your Medical Records – From HIPAA to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act
July 1, 2009
Richard T. O’Connor, Esq.
Your medical record is full of very personal information. It is not unusual that such a repository of confidential information may be of great interest to others – relatives, employers and health insurance companies, to name a few. It is well documented that decisions regarding hiring and promotions have been made after reviewing the information in a medical record. State and federal governments have addressed the concerns of their constituents by passing legislation establishing standards of privacy and security applicable to medical information.
In 1996, the federal government enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA.) Although the privacy rule of HIPAA did not impact physician offices until 2003, the legislation was aimed at promoting standardization, efficiency and privacy regarding the transmission, disclosure and confidentiality of patient information. The HIPAA privacy rules apply strict standards of privacy and security to all entities electronically transmitting patient information. Hospitals, physician offices, and health insurance companies electronically transmit patient medical information and billing information, and consequently, must comply with the standards of privacy and security established by HIPAA. With few exceptions, your authorization is required before such organizations may release your medical information to others. …
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by: Richard T. O’Connor, Esq.