You can receive a notice that tells you how your health information is used and shared
You have the right to know how your health information is being used and shared. Your provider or insurer must give you a notice that tells you exactly how they may use and share your health information. In most cases, you should receive this notice on your first visit to a provider, or in the mail from your health insurer. Additionally, you may request a copy at any time.
You can decide whether to give your permission before your information can be used or shared
Generally speaking, your health information cannot be given to your employer, used or shared for things like sales calls or advertising, or used or shared for many other purposes unless you grant express permission by signing an authorization form. This authorization form must tell you who will get your information and what the information will be used for.
Who can receive and view your health information?
To ensure your health information is protected in a way that does not interfere with treatment, your information can be used and shared:
For treatment and care coordination;
To compensate doctors and hospitals for your health care and help run their businesses;
With your family, relatives, friends, or others you identify who are involved with your health care or payment, unless you object;
To ensure doctors give good care and How To Make A Healthy Lifestyle Plan nursing homes are clean and safe;
To protect the public’s health, such as by reporting when there is a flu outbreak; and
For mandatory reports to the police, such as reporting gunshot wounds.
Your health information cannot be used or shared without your written permission unless this law allows it. For example, without your authorization, your provider generally cannot:
Give your information to your employer;
Use or share your information for marketing or advertising purposes; or
Share private notes about your health care.
You may request that your information not be shared
You can ask your provider or health insurer not to share your health information with certain people, groups, or companies, such as with other doctors or nurses in a particular hospital or clinic. However, they do not have to agree to do what you ask.
You have the right to file a complaint
You may file a complaint with your provider or health insurer if you suspect your information was used or shared in a way that is disallowed under the privacy law, or if you feel you were unable to exercise your rights.
Who must follow this law?
Most doctors, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health care providers. Also required to follow this law are health insurance companies, HMOs, most employer group health plans, and certain government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Who is not required to follow this law?
Workers compensation carriers;
Most schools and school districts;
Many state agencies, for example child protective services;
Most law enforcement agencies; and
Many municipal offices.
When you make an original visit to a doctor’s office, hospital, or other health care provider, you should be given a copy of your HIPAA rights, which you will be asked to sign. Make sure you read the entire document, and request a copy for your own files.
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