Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: Should I Worry that a Covered Entity will Retaliate if I File a Complaint?

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You are reading the Patient’s Guide to HIPAA, FAQ 50. 

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FAQ 50: Should I Worry that a Covered Entity will Retaliate if I File a Complaint?

Each covered entity’s notice of privacy practices must say that there will be no retaliation against a person who files a complaint. We would like to believe that.

But in the real world, there are no guarantees. We have seen, for example, a notice from a hospital that says – as required by the rule – that there will be no retaliation. The next sentence in the notice says more ominously that the hospital reserves the right “to take necessary and appropriate action to maintain an environment that serves the best interests of out patients and staff.”  We have no idea what that means or why the hospital chose to add that statement directly after the required language about not taking retaliation. But it sure sounds like a threat to us.

We would be happier to see a privacy notice that included a statement to the effect that the hospital reserves the right to take additional actions to protect the privacy of its patients. However, hospital lawyers don’t like statements like that, lest they be interpreted to oblige the hospital to do more than the bare minimum.

 

 

Roadmap:  Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Complain to the Secretary of HHS (FAQ 50 of 65)

Jump to list of FAQs 1-65 | See all of Part 2