Are Your Medical Records Really Safe?
We All Know About HIPPA But What You Don't Know About It May Hurt You
How Attorneys Are Manipulating the Law
The HIPPA Act of 1996 was instated to help patients get access to their medical records. For the most part many institutions no longer make the patients pay for their records and are developing websites so their patient can access their records on line.
I have worked in medical records for five years and attorneys are manipulating the law to get lower cost copies of medical records, however the lower cost puts the patient at risk of not being protected anymore by the HIPPA laws.
You were involved in an accident and you decide to sue the party that caused you to become injured and even disabled. You hire an attorney and instead of giving you an authorization to sign giving him permission to obtain your records he just has a letter for you to fill out to make it seem like you are asking for records to be sent to your attorney. The downfall to this is you are no longer protected under the HIPPA laws and your attorney can give them to whom ever he wishes. This is a ploy to get your records at a much cheaper cost then paying a dollar a page for paper records or 50 cents a page for electronic records.
The reason you are no longer covered under the HIPPPA law is because you are not authorizing your attorney to obtain your records you are just asking that your records be sent to your attorneys office.
That is the difference between signing an authorization and just sending a letter. Your records can get into the hands of anyone and you won't even know it because they will never tell you that.
When you sign an authorization to have your medical records released the verbiage is completely different.
How Safe Is Your Medical Records?
What HIPPA Covers
Over the years medical record keeping has become mostly electronic. People think they are no longer covered under the HIPPA laws because of this. That is farther from the truth and if your doctor does not provide you with a copy of his HIPPA protection letter then you should ask for one.
HIPPA covers the inability for others to gain any information about you unless you give someone permission to share your health records. Many hospitals are providing patient portals so that patients can go online and download their records. This has been an issue because everything is not on the portals.
The problem with electronic records is that people can hack electronic records and use your information. Doctors are able to text other doctors with your health information so you are not completely covered by HIPPA laws when your records are electronic.
Although HIPPA was made to protect individuals from others obtaining records about you, it is not 100% safe once your records go live in an electronic setting.
The Difference Between Paper and Electronic Medical Records
What is The Difference Between Right to Access and High Tech Request of Medical Records
Right to access simply means that you, the patient, have a right to access your records at any time for free or reduced payments. You can get your medical records from any doctor, hospital or any other place you have received treatment.
A high tech request simply means you are able to get your records on a CD, by fax or on a flash drive.
If someone is requesting medical records for you such as an attorney or another doctor, it is better for you to obtain your records and then provide them with the records.
If you do obtain your records for an attorney for an accident you have been involved in, please make sure that you get a break down of all charges that is on your bill to see if the attorney still charged you for records. Just because they are your attorney doesn't always make them honest. Trust me I have been at this job long enough to know that attorneys are not always true to their clients.
You Always Have the Right to Your Records
How Your Rights to Medical Records are Being Violated
While patients have benefited from being able to obtain their medical records, there are still many physicians who are reluctant to give them to you.
Although tax payers have paid for half of hospitals to go to electronic medical records and has reduced the cost of producing them to almost zero, there are many hospitals charging thousands of dollars to get their medical records.
A patient can definitely challenge this and obtain their medical records. You have a right to know what is going on with your medical care and they have no right to charge you excessive fees to get them.
Hospitals and doctors may also not be releasing all of your records especially if they think you are trying to sue them. Medical malpractice is a big hump in the road to patients. Hospitals may only give you certain parts of your records without you knowing it.
Take charge of your medical care and know what is going on. Ask questions and don't leave without an answer. It basically is up to you, not your doctor, to know without a doubt that you are receiving the best care possible. Don't be kept in the dark about your medical history. It may save your life one day.