When it comes to the handling of patient’s records and them being released, it is not an easy process. It is very important for each patient that opts to have their information released for whatever reason sign a release form stating that they authorize their information being released. There are times in which a patient’s records can be released without having their authorization. In this case, the records can be requested from government agencies, legal agencies or a representative, and a research that may subpoena a medical profession for this information. Every person that becomes a patient in a healthcare facility is protected by something called HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law passed by Congress that amended “the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve portability and continuity of health insurance coverage in the group and individual markets, to combat waste, fraud, and abuse in health insurance and health care delivery, to promote the use of medical savings accounts, to improve access to long-term care services and coverage, to simplify the administration of health insurance, and for other purposes,” according to Essential of Healthcare Management (2011). HIPAA is a set of rules that address the use of privacy and confidentiality of an individual’s health records. Any facility that practices with the care of a patient is subject to the privacy rule of HIPAA.
The covered entities would be considered privacy and disclosure of information as protected health information. The covered entity is required to obtain an individual’s authorization prior to disclosing any health information. Every patient when seen by a healthcare professional is made aware of their rights to how they want their medical information to be used. The reason for this is to keep patients information private and protected. What it does allow is some information to be able to be transferred with the patient from physician to physician so that they the physician can know something about the patient to help them in the best way that they can. There are different circumstances by which agencies or covered entities have the right or legal obligation to access or obtain Patient’s Healthcare Information (PHI). PHI is under the HIPAA that gives the privacy regulation the privacy that should remain between the patient and doctor. Under some circumstances the government has the right or legal obligation to a patient’s medical records. Any health care data for analysis in support of policy, planning, regulatory or management functions, it is permitted to disclose information to other government agencies for health data systems (according to http://www.ncdhhs.gov/healthit/exchange/NCLaws_alignment.pdf). Any non-covered government entities may only maintain a limited amount of data sets of information.
This is so that the identifiers (name, address and Social Security numbers) can be removed before the government agency receives them. When files are usually authorized to the law officials, it may be because the person can be a victim of domestic violence to a government authority, abuse, and neglect. In a case like the patient is informed that their information has been released unless the health facility believes that a serious harm will occur or the person may portray to themselves. Researchers may need to use files without being authorized to do so if they need to find a treatment for the person. Trying to receive the approval from a patient can be time consuming by which can getting a glimpse at the files and starting the job is much easier. I believe that no matter what kind of storage that is placed on medical records, it is secured and should be assessable when needed. Law official/ researchers are able to subpoena records due to research or something.
I believe that they should be authorized to obtain records without a patient’s authority depending on the case. I believe that having records subpoena should go by a base-to-base case. I believe that privacy safeguards are adequate to support the law agencies, researchers, and government agencies of having them be able to obtain information about a patient even without their consent. I believe that in the long run, it makes it easier for some of these agencies to be able to do their job without any interruptions and debater. Before starting this class, I did not know as much as I do now. I believe that the HIPAA law is something that protects patients from their PHI being exposed to the wrong people. It is something that is great that is in place!
Green, M. A., & Bowie, M. J. (2011). Essentials of Health Information Management (2nd ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning. Legal Requirements for Consent to Disclose Patient Information. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.ncdhhs.gov/healthit/exchange/NCLaws_alignment.pdf U.S. Department Health & Human Services. (2013). Retrieved from http://ww