The information to be released has to be factual and, it can be subiased in any way; it should be stantiated. This information should be presented in a manner which is not be relevant to what the claim is about. All the information and records of a patient cannot be provided. Once the copy of the information to be provided to the third party has been made, a copy should be provided to the patient. However, there are instances where it is not a must to provide a copy to the patient (3). Some of these instances include; when the patient has categorically stated that they do not need a copy of their own, when there is a likelihood that the patient will be seriously harmed with the information that has been provided in the disclosure or when the information provided will disclose information concerning a person who has not consented to his details being made public. In case the patient refuses to provide the consent, the information cannot be disclosed. It can only be disclosed if it is a requirement by the law or for public interest (4)
It is a must for covered entities to limit the amount of health information that they release with regards to a patient. The information should just be enough to accomplish and, fulfill the compensation of the worker in case of injury claims. Under this requirement, information can only be revealed for purposes to the extent upon which the state or the law authorizes (4). It is therefore imperative for covered entities to limit the amount of the patients information that they decide to disclose for payment purposes. These entities are allowed to disclose or reveal amount and type of the patients health information which is necessary and, a prerequisite to getting payment for health care provided to a worker who was either ill or injured. In instances where a covered entity constantly reveals information for compensation of workers (45 CFR 164.512(l) or for the purposes of payment, standards protocols have to be developed by the entity and, they will serve as the minimum prerequisite policies, rules and procedures which the address the extent and, amount of a persons health information that will be disclosed (3).
In situations where protected health information is needed by a government employees compensation, covered entities are allowed to depend on the officials representations that the information being sought is the minimum necessary for the purpose it is meant for. It is a breach of law when covered entities make a minimum prerequisite determination in revealing the health information of a patient as required and needed by the government, the state or pursuant to the authorization of the person.
How HIPAA Privacy law affects personal health information regarding substance abuse prior to an accident
Patients with past alcohol and drug abuse records are protected by the 42 CFR Part 2 which restricts and prohibits the disclosure of alcohol and drug abuse patient records which are being maintained by programs and institutions which are supported and aided by federal alcohol and drug abuse programs. The rule contains two parts; the privacy rule and the part 2 rule (1). The privacy rule deals with protecting the health information of the patient while part 2 deals with patient identifying information. It deals with any information that would disclose the identity of a person as an alcohol or drug abuse patient, however, this does not necessarily mean that it is a number signed assigned to a patient. The privacy rule on the other hand deals with the health information which is covered by an entity; this includes the medical record numbers of the patient. It is unlawful for any individual or institution which holds itself out as offering alcohol or drug abuse diagnosis, referral for treatment, or any medical staff in a medical care facility who is tasked with the responsibility of providing an alcohol or drug abuse diagnoses, treatment or referral for treatment to disclose any information with regards to the patient not unless the patient has given his or her consent or otherwise allowed under Part 2 of the law (2).
Information can only be disclosed or used as permitted by Part 2. It is important to note that all these disclosures are permissive in nature and, they are limited to that which is necessary and prerequisite in carrying out the purpose of the disclosure. Before information of a patient with past alcohol and, drug abuse is given, several stipulations must be met (Kouzoukas, 2002). The patient must provide his or her consent in writing, the name and description of the entity should be provided, the name of the person or institution seeking the information should be provided, the name and particulars of the patient, what the disclosure is meant for, the description of the information that is required, a statement by the patient that he or she may decide to revoke the consent ant time he sees fit, the date or condition where the consent will become null and void, the original signature of the patient and the exact date which the consent was signed.
There are several prohibits on disclosure of information when it comes to patients with past alcohol and drug abuse records. Information can only be disclosed pursuant to consent or any other permitted and, allowed purpose. There should be a written prohibition statement attached to the consent; any recipient of information is subject to the rule and is not allowed to disclose the patients information except when permitted by the law.
Some of the mandatory rights accorded to the patient include; he or she has to be given a written summary of confidentiality provisions and notice which the Federal law and regulations offer protection to the confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records; the patient has the right to access his own information, obtain an accounting of disclosures, request restriction of uses and disclosures, request transmittal of communications in an alternative manner and receive notice of covered entitys privacy practices (5). All the information with regards to the patients diagnosis, prognosis, treatment of the patient which are maintained in connection with the performance of activities leading or relating to substance abuse education, prevention, rehabilitation and treatment should not be revealed and it does not matter whether the patient is being treated or not. The party seeking information should show that the disclosure is in connection with the accident (6).
How certain personal health information is determined to be relevant to a specific personal injury matter?
Medical records and personal health information play a very crucial role in any personal injury claims. It is important for the two sides to have access to the relevant medical records of the plaintiff. However, it is not a precondition for bringing a modest claim for personal injury that a claimants entire medical history no matter how irrelevant and personal should be disclosed. On most occasions, defendants usually request disclosure of the victims medical history so that they can challenge the credibility of their claims,
A request for the release of the medical records is required. In the request, there are several things that have to be included. All the personal information of the patient (the name, the date of birth, the physical address, the marital status, the account number, and the social security number) should be included. It is important to state whether one wants specific records or all the record. However, the request should be accompanied with the authorization of the patient or someone acting on his behalf. Before the information is released, it has to meet the following criteria;
Should allow the two sides to assess and evaluate the physical injuries sustained
If it will help in the viability of the case
If the information provides proof of physical injuries
If the information is going to assist in the calculation of damages that were sustained by the injured person
If it will help medical experts in analyzing the records and know what the cause of the injury was, and if its in the case of a medical negligence or malpractice, it should help in establishing whether due caution and reasonable care was exercised by the doctors
If it will help the person alleged to be at fault not to pay for any preexisting injuries
It is important to note that when an injured person decides to pursue a lawsuit, then he or she is at risk of waiving the physician-patient privilege and, the alleged guilty party can draft and serve the medical records subpoena on the medical providers of the party that was injured (7).
How the HIPAA Privacy Law affects how damages are calculated when an injured person has pre-existing injuries.
In most injury accident cases, the defendant may claim that the injured party had a preexisting injury prior to the accident happening. The plaintiff cannot be paid damages for conditions which existed before the injury, however, he or she is entitled to collect damages for the conditions that were aggravated by the accident, be they mental or physical in nature (7). It is important for the plaintiff to disclose any preexisting injuries so that they are not used against him. When the preexisting injury is established, then a comparison is done between past medical records and current diagnostic and medical tests to verify the manner and extent to which the accident has aggravated the preexisting injuries of the plaintiff. Through the comparison of X-rays and MRIs taken in the past and after the accident, it can be testified how the accident has worsened the former injuries.
Clinical records can also be used in providing a comparison of the victims degree and extent of pain, the extent of care, the extent of deformation and disability prior to the accident and after the accident. If, because of the accident, the victim has suffered a permanent disability...
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