You have likely noticed that when seeking care at a hospital or healthcare clinic in Bozeman, nearly every aspect of your visit is documented. Your demographic information is taken at the front desk, and the details of the conditions that you may be suffering from and the treatments that you have received are recorded in your medical record. Much of this information is very sensitive, and is likely not something that you want shared without your permission. You are, of course, protected from being the victim of negligent or fraudulent care. Yet what about the negligent or fraudulent disclosure of your medical records?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (commonly known as HIPAA) protects you from the unauthorized access and use of your health information. HIPAA stipulates that, in general, any information from your medical cannot used or shared in any case that does not directly involve your care. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule. According to the Office for Civil Rights, your health information can be shared legally in the following situations:
- When coordinating care between providers.
- For epidemiological purposes.
- To ensure care centers are compliant to state and federal regulations.
- In any scenario where it is required by law.
You should know, however, that you can request to see who was accessed your medical record at any time. Any unauthorized sharing of your medical record with your employer or with any research or marketing organizations could open the door for accusations of misconduct. The same may be true if you ask to see your medical record, and your doctor or his or her office fails to give you access to it within 30 days of your request.