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Compliance - HIPAA Myths & Facts
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HIPAA Myths & Facts

Myth : One doctor's office cannot send medical records of a patient to another doctor's office without that patient's consent.

Fact : No consent is necessary for one doctor's office to transfer a patient's medical records to another doctor's office for treatment purposes.
Myth : A patient cannot be listed in a hospital’s directory without the patient’s consent and the hospital is prohibited from sharing a patient’s directory information with the public.

Fact : The Privacy Rule permits hospitals to continue the practice of providing directoryinformation to the public unless the patient has specifically chosen to opt out.
Myth : Members of the clergy can no longer find out whether members of their congregation or their religious affiliation are hospitalized unless they know the person by name.

Fact : The Regulation specifically provides that hospitals may continue the practice of disclosing directory information “to members of the clergy,” unless the patient has objected to such disclosure.
Myth : A hospital is prohibited from sharing information with the patient’s family without the patient’s express consent.

Fact : Under the Privacy Rule, a health care provider may “disclose to a family member, other relative, or a close personal friend of the individual, or any other person identified by the individual,” the medical information directly relevant to such person’s involvement with the patient’s care or payment related to the patient’s care.
Myth : A patient’s family member can no longer pick up prescriptions for the patient.

Fact : Under the Regulation, a family member or other individual may act on the patient’s behalf “to pick up filled prescriptions, medical supplies, X-rays, or other similar forms of protected health information.”
Myth : The Privacy Regulation mandates all sorts of new disclosures of patient information.

Fact : Disclosure is mandated in only two situationsto the individual patient upon request, or to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for use in oversight investigations.
Myth : Patients will sue health care providers for not complying with the HIPAA Privacy Regulation.

Fact : The HIPAA Privacy Regulation does not give people the right to sue.
Myth : Patients’ medical records can no longer be used for marketing.

Fact : Use or disclosure of medical information is explicitly permitted for certain health related marketing under the HIPAA Privacy Regulation.
Myth : If a patient refuses to sign an acknowledgment stating that she received the health care provider’s notice of privacy practices, the health care provider can, or must, refuse to provide services.

Fact: The HIPAA Privacy Rule grants the patient a ‘right to notice’ of privacy practices for protected health information, and requires that providers make a “good faith effort” to get patients to acknowledge they have received the notice.
Myth : The press can no longer access vital public information from hospitals about accident or crime victims.

Fact : HIPAA allows hospitals to continue to make public (including to the press) certain patient directory information - including the patient’s location in the facility and condition in general terms - unless the patient has specifically opted out of having such information publicly available.

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