Assignment: Releasing Protected Health Information Essay

There is a set of standards nationwide that aid in the protection of individuals health information, called HIPAA - Assignment: Releasing Protected Health Information Essay introduction. HIPAA is a set of rules that address the use and privacy of an individual’s health records. Organizations subject to the privacy rule, otherwise known as covered entities, refer to the privacy and disclosure of information as protected health information. HIPAA also makes sure that each individual is aware of their rights to control how their health information is used.

The main reason for the privacy rule is to keep patients information private and protected while allowing some specific information to flow from physician to physician when needed to provide the best health care possible. This rule was made to be flexible so that it can cover several uses and release of information. Entities are required by the privacy rule to abide by the regulations (HHS, 2010). Any information that it shared between a patient and health care provider is considered privileged communication, or in other words means that the information is private. The patient has the right to confidentiality between them and their doctor.

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Confidentiality is the act of keeping any information between patient and doctor a secret unless the patient allows the information to be disclosed. In the case that the information is subpoenaed the patients authorization is not needed (HHS, 2010). All employees that work in health care are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of confidentiality of all protected health information as well as the release of the information when requested. Although the health care provider owns the medical record they do not own the information within the medical record, the patient owns all of the information within the record.

Because of the previous statement, third parties that have justifiable reasons to want to access the medical record have the right by law to request to obtain the record (HHS,2010). Authorization to Disclose When disclosing PHI authorization by the patient is usually required, except for certain situations such as; health oversight activities, public health activities, law enforcement activities, judicial and administrative proceedings, identification and location purposes, decedents, research purposes, FDA, specialized government functions, and workers compensation.

Under these special requirements the authorization of the patient is not needed when disclosing their health information. A covered entity may disclose a patient’s health information to law enforcement agencies in the event the patient is a victim of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence, unless of course it is not in the best interest in the victim. The entity may include information to law enforcement agencies such as certain types of injuries, name, address, date and place of birth, SSN, blood type, date and time of treatment.

The patients authorization is needed in situations such as attorney requests, employers, government agencies, health care providers (that did not treat patient), HIV-related information, IRS, Law enforcement agencies (except by HIPAA rules ), Marketing communications, research that includes treatment, third-party payers, and workers compensation carriers (Ch. 8, 2005).

The patient’s authorization is required for most requests of the patient’s medical information. The patients consent is not required in situations where the information is being used for payment, healthcare operations, treatment or if it is being used by a business partner of the patient’s health care provider or plan. A business partner of a health care provider or plan could provide services such as accounting services, legal services, and consulting.

A patients authorization is not needed when the disclosure is made by a covered entity to or in connection with; disclosure required by federal, state or local regulations; public health authorities; the federal food and drug administration; someone exposed to a communicable disease; and employer conducting medical surveillance in the work place or evaluating a work related injury; victims of abuse, domestic violence, or neglect; court order, discovery request, and/or subpoena; collection agency for unpaid bills; coroners and medical examiners; funeral directors; organ procurement organizations; threat to public health and safety; U. S. as well as foreign military commanders; U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs for eligibility of benefits; federal government and intelligence officials; U. S. Department of state; Correctional Institutions; Workers Compensation; and in some cases Law enforcement access is permitted by HIPAA standards (PRC, 2011).


Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. (2003-2011). (PRC, 2011, p3) Retrieved February 19th, 2011, from Fact Sheet 8a: HIPAA Basics: Medical Privacy in the Electronic age: http://www. rivacyrights. org/fs/fs8a-hipaa. htm Thompson Delmar Learning, A part of the Thompson Corporation. (2005). (Ch. 8, 2005, p3) Chapter 8 Legal Aspects of Health Information Management. Retrieved from https://ecampus. phoenix. edu/classroom/ic/classroom. aspx U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2010). HHS. gov. (HHS 2010, p2) Retrieved from http://www. hhs. gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/summary/index. html

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