Upon agreeing to receive treatment from a health care provider, we should be confident that they will see to our needs in a manner that is competent and discreet. If the treatment we receive is substandard or even injurious due to some form of medical negligence, then we should be able to seek compensation. One important component in the pursuit of compensation is access to our medical records that reside in the provider’s possession.
The year 1996 saw the passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The HIPAA is a federal act designed to, among other things, protect patients from having information in their medical records shared without their permission. Clearly this is a very important and desirable protection to have in place.
Unfortunately, health providers have at times used the HIPAA as means of denying patients critical information contained in their own medical files. This is done not as a benefit to the patients, but rather as a way for the providers to look after their own interests.
The Center for Democracy and Technology’s previous director for the Health Privacy Project states the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights frequently receives complaints of patients being denied access to their own records on the basis of the HIPAA. He also says that it is difficult to determine if this denial is due to confusion, or deliberate obfuscation on behalf of the provider.
If you incur injury while receiving treatment from a health care provider, you may be eligible for recompense. In order to determine your eligibility, a thorough investigation into your treatment must be conducted. This investigation would include going over information contained in your records.
The fact is that the HIPAA provides you with the right to have access to your own records. Should you be denied this right, you should consider acquiring legal representation.
An Arizona attorney, who understands how to analyze the elements of medical malpractice claims, may be able to examine your case and help you in your pursuit of fair compensation.
Source: ProPublica, “Are Patient Privacy Laws Being Misused to Protect Medical Centers?,” Charles Ornstein, July 24, 2014