Patient’s Guide to HIPAA Part III: What You Should Know About Uses and Disclosures

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA Part III: What You Should Know about Uses and Disclosures (FAQ 54 – 65)

FAQ 54: Does HIPAA Really Restrict Use and Disclosure of My Health Records?
FAQ 55: Is My Consent Needed to Disclose Records for Treatment or Payment?
FAQ 56: Are Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations Okay?
FAQ 57: Do I Have a Say in Any Disclosures? (Facility Directories and Caregivers)
FAQ 58: Does HIPAA Allow Uses and Disclosures Without My Approval?
FAQ 59: What Are Uses and Disclosures Required by Law?
FAQ 60: What Are the Allowable Uses and Disclosures?
FAQ 61: What Should I Do if Asked to Sign an Authorization to Disclose my Record?
FAQ 62: Do I Need a Disclosure Authorization to Care For My Elderly Parent?
FAQ 63: What Can I Do if I Foolishly Signed an Authorization?
FAQ 64: Can My Health Records be Used for Marketing?
FAQ 65: What Does the Breach Notice I Received Mean?

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Uses and Disclosures: Does HIPAA Really Restrict Use and Disclosure of My Health Records?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 3: What You Should Know about Uses and Disclosures (FAQ 54 of 65)

This is a tough question to answer in a simple way. The answer depends in part on your perspective. If you thought that your health records would never be disclosed without your consent, then you won’t think much of the HIPAA use and disclosure provisions.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Uses and Disclosures: Is My Consent Needed to Disclose Records for Treatment or Payment?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 3: What You Should Know about Uses and Disclosures (FAQ 55 of 65)

No. Medical records can be used and disclosed without your approval for treatment, payment, and health care operations. Treatment is the providing, management, or coordination of health care by a health care provider. The formal definition is slightly more complicated, but the basic concept is relatively simple.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Uses and Disclosures: Are Disclosures for Treatment, Payment and Health Care Operations Okay?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 3: What You Should Know about Uses and Disclosures (FAQ 56 of 65)

At one level, yes. Health care is a complex enterprise that represents a large chunk of America’s economy. There are hundreds of thousands of health care providers and probably as many support organizations. Daily transactions measure in the millions. If you think about it, you may realize that major health care treatment and payment institutions are big businesses that engage in a wide variety of activities just like other businesses. Management and internal controls require access to some records. If we spent the time to list the comparable data-intensive activities engaged in by banks or governments, we would also find a long list of uses and disclosures of personal information that are, for better or worse, a routine part of those functions.