Patient Privacy Rights Lawyers

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Do I Have the Right to See My Own Medical Records?

Normally your health care provider or any other holder of your medical records must implement certain technical and administrative safeguards to make sure that information within those records is not available to just anyone.

However, you do have the right to view your own medical records. You can request a copy of those records from your health care provider or whoever else holds that information, and they must deliver the records to you within 30 days. Keep in mind, though, that while you have a right to see a copy of your medical records, it is not illegal for your health care provider to charge you a fee for providing you with a copy.

Does My Employer Have the Right to See My Medical Records?

Your health care provider is generally prohibited from releasing any information in your health records to anyone, including your employer. However, in the case that your employer is providing your health care plan, they are permitted to have some access to your medical information that would normally be kept confidential from your employer. 

This information can only be used by your employer in a capacity related to health care issues, and your employer cannot share this information with any other employees in the company you are working for.

Do I Have to Disclose Information about Therapy Sessions?

Therapists, psychologists, and any mental health providers do not have to disclose information about the mental health of the patient to health care providers, and generally do not unless they first obtain the patient¿s authorization to do so. The patient cannot be denied benefits from the health plan just because she has not revealed private information about her mental health.

What Other Privacy Protections Do I Have for My Medical Information?

A patient at a hospital can request that information about their health not be made available to the public in the hospital's directory.  Also, you can request that the hospital not share information regarding your health to any family members or friends, and the hospital is obliged to follow your request.

In terms of police and other law enforcement, they must obtain some kind of legal permission, such as a subpoena, before they are authorized to view your medical records.

Seeking Legal Help

You may want to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health against the offending party. Also, you may want consult an attorney who has experience in civil rights matters. While you do not have the right to sue for violation of patient privacy under federal law, a violation of the law may assist in a more general invasion of privacy suit against another party.

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Last Modified: 03-05-2014 11:43 AM PST

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