In this digital age of exposure to social media and the heightened risk of becoming a victim of hacking and phishing on the Internet, we value our privacy and confidential information more than ever more. However, that does not stop many individuals from sharing their private information voluntarily.
But what about your private health information, also known as “PHI”? Is there anything you can do to prevent a medical institution or doctor from making your PHI available to the general public? And can you sue a doctor for disclosing your private information regarding your health, medical bills, medical results, prescriptions, and claim information?
Our Philadelphia HIPAA and privacy violations attorney from The Weitz Firm, LLC, says that your private medical information is protected by federal and state law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a set of federal rules and regulations that prohibit hospitals, medical institutions, and members of their staff from disclosing your private health information.
Failure to comply with the complex federal rules imposed by the HIPAA are punishable by law, and include penalties that range from fines to criminal prosecution and even imprisonment.
Some of you might wonder which medical institutions in Pennsylvania are bound to comply with the rules and regulations imposed by the HIPAA. These medical entities include:
The main purpose of HIPAA can be broken down into two sections. The first section ensures that you maintain your health insurance when changing jobs (Title I), while the second one protects the privacy of your personal health information (Title II).
“Claims of HIPAA violations – filed under both Title I and Title II – are handled and investigated by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor,” explains our experienced HIPAA and privacy violations attorney Philadelphia.
But let’s focus on Title II, which protects your private medical information from being disclosed to third parties without your express consent. Private health information covered by HIPAA laws include your medical bills, prescriptions, test results and medical opinions, claim information, and many more.
Your private health information cannot be disclosed or distributed unless a medical institution or doctor has obtained your written authorization to do so. Authorization is not the same as consent. Generally, authorization means that you give permission to have your private information distributed to third parties excluding the medical institution providing treatment.
In fact, in order to be deemed valid and legitimate, authorization must include a description of the specific private health information that will be disclosed, the specific persons or companies with whom that information will be shared, an expiration date for the authorization, as well as the purpose of distributing the patient’s PHI.
Has a medical institution or doctor violated your HIPAA rights or privacy? You can report a HIPAA violation by filing a complaint today and seek a legal recourse. Speak to our Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer from The Weitz Firm, LLC, to get a free case evaluation. Call our offices at 267-587-6240.