Saturday, November 29, 2014
HIPAA, So Misunderstood
HIPAA does not mean your clinician cannot share information with your family. HIPAA does not mean that a doctor cannot share your information with another clinician. Many of us, as well as the people who work in healthcare do not understand HIPAA.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), provides protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.
If I do not object, can my health care provider share or discuss my health information with my family, friends, or others involved in my care or payment for my care?
Yes. As long as you do not object, your health care provider is allowed to share or discuss your health information with your family, friends, or others involved in your care or payment for your care. Your provider may ask your permission, may tell you he or she plans to discuss the information and give you an opportunity to object, or may decide, using his or her professional judgment, that you do not object. In any of these cases, your health care provider may discuss only the information that the person involved needs to know about your care or payment for your care.
Here are some examples:
· An emergency room doctor may discuss your treatment in front of your friend when you ask that your friend come into the treatment room.
· Your hospital may discuss your bill with your daughter who is with you at the hospital and has questions about the charges.
· Your doctor may talk to your sister who is driving you home from the hospital about your keeping your foot raised during the ride home.
· Your doctor may discuss the drugs you need to take with your health aide who has come with you to your appointment.
· Your nurse may tell you that she is going to tell your brother how you are doing, and then she may discuss your health status with your brother if you did not say that she should not.
· Your nurse may not discuss your condition with your brother if you tell her not to.
You may want information kept private - but it isn't always about HIPAA. Privacy and ethical behavior can’t be disputed, HIPAA can.
Before your next medical appointment, read about HIPAA here: