You’ve undoubtedly heard of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, but do you know all the ways HIPAA protects your privacy and your rights as a patient?
Michael R. Jackson, Director of IU Health Physicians' Corporate Compliance & Integrity, explains how our organization is committed to protecting the privacy of your health information.
Whether your health records are stored on paper, in electronic form, or both, you have specific rights to the management of those records. For instance, you have the right:
- To keep your records private. This means you, the patient, determine who your health information is shared with; you may keep this information private even from your family.
- To access your health records. You may request a copy at any time.
- To request that any mistake you may find be corrected.
- To submit a written amendment if you disagree with any information. This amendment is kept with your record.
Obviously, your provider may share your health details without your permission under certain circumstances, most notably among the nurses, physician assistants, and other doctors who take part in your treatment. Your provider will also share your information with your insurance company in order to be paid for services performed. In addition, if you’re not able to object, your provider may share information if he or she determines it would be in your best interest. Examples would be immediately after a surgery or during a coma.
However, your provider may not share your health information with your employer, and you have the right to request an Accounting of Disclosures of everyone who has accessed your information.
IU Health Physician’s role in protecting your privacy
Under the HIPAA Security Rule, healthcare providers are required to keep all health information secure and confidential. IU Health Physicians has invested enormous resources in order to meet, and in some cases exceed, all standards of compliance. From risk analysis and auditing to administrative, physical, and technical safeguards, we are committed to protecting your privacy.
If you feel your privacy has been violated, you have the right to file a complaint. As the director of Corporate Compliance & Integrity, I take this responsibility seriously. You may email me directly with any concerns you might have. You may also file a complaint at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.
Rest assured that IU Health Physicians is committed to providing the care you need, balanced with the privacy you’re entitled to.