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HCR 210 Assignment Releasing Protected Health Information

HCR 210 Assignment Releasing Protected Health Information

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Published by: NathanielandKenda Collier on Sep 29, 2010
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Releasing Protected Health InformationKenda Collier HCR/210August 24, 2010
Donna DeGrio
 
Established by the U.S. Congress in 1996 and made effective July 1, 1997, theHealth Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a group of regulationsworking against abuse and fraud in health insurance and the delivery of health care.HIPAA’s purpose also includes improving the health care system’s effectiveness andefficiency, providing for the continuation of health insurance coverage, and deliveringconsequences for organizations and individuals who do not comply with HIPAAregulations (Highmark, 2007). Different representatives and agencies can request, with or without patients’ consent, patients’ protected health information (PHI). PHI isinformation that is connected to an individual and includes name, telephone number,address, date of birth, social security number, name of employer, and/or Medicaididentification number (Green and Bowie, 2005).Many situations arise when the government has the legal obligation or right to a patient’s medical records. For example, state agencies are required to keep records of deaths and births. They must also maintain registries of people who have received adiagnosis of a serious illness like cancer. Disclosures of such information to thegovernment typically do not require an individual’s authorization (Highmark, 2007).Medicaid, Medicare, veteran’s activities, national security and intelligenceactivities, the military, armed forces personnel, correctional institutions and presidential
 
 protective services do not require authorization—all may receive protected healthinformation without the consent of the individual. Some government agencies, such asthe Bureau of Disability Determination and the Department of Social Services, have toreceive the individual’s authorization prior to receiving his or her PHI (Green and Bowie,2005).Attorneys almost always have to obtain the individual’s authorization for therelease of PHI. The exception is if a health care provider’s attorney requests it and theinformation is released during normal business. Employers also have to get authorizationfrom the individual but not in cases of work-related injuries or illnesses (the reporting of them). Health care providers are also obligated to get authorization from patients for therelease of PHI, except for caregivers who are directly involved in the patients’ care. TheIRS, or Internal Revenue Service, along with law enforcement agencies, has to receiveconsent from the patient for the disclosure of PHI. The patient or his or her representativehas to obtain authorization to release PHI unless it is a situation where no authorization isrequired by HIPAA. Patient authorization must also be obtained by third-party payersexcept in the cases of treatment, payment, and any health care operations.The majority of providers allow medical professionals who are working onclinical research access to patients’ records. They may also exchange such informationwith other researchers. If activities have been approved of by an Institutional ReviewBoard, PHI can be received by a research group without the individual’s authorization. If research includes actually treating the patient, authorization is required, unless the personis involved in the patient’s direct care.Patients do have the right to access their PHI for verification of information and

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