Patient’s Guide to HIPAA

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: What is a HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to a Notice of Privacy Practices (FAQ 13 of 65)

The rule requires each covered entity, like a hospital, to publish a notice of privacy practices. The notice describes how each entity implements the rule. Notices from different health care institutions may look similar because the rule is the same for everyone. However, each notice will have some details (procedures, addresses, etc.) that are specific to the institution. If you want to learn more about health privacy, a notice of privacy practices is a good place to start. So is this FAQ!

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: Why Are the Notices Long and Boring?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to a Notice of Privacy Practices (FAQ 14 of 65)

One answer is that the rule is long and complicated. Another answer is that lawyers write many of the notices. Often, lawyers write like…lawyers, and the results are sometimes complete, precise, and often incomprehensible. Some privacy notices – and not just notices for health – are deliberately written to be obscure. Even other lawyers can’t understand them. Not every organization really wants you to understand or exercise your privacy rights.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: Should I Read the Notice?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to a Notice of Privacy Practices (FAQ 15 of 65)

Only if you want to. Every expert says that people should know their rights and understand privacy. We agree, but we recognize that people often don’t have the time or interest. Don’t feel guilty if you just don’t have the interest today to read the notice from your doctor, hospital, laboratory, pharmacy, etc. What is important is that the notice exists and that the record keeper who produced the notice has a privacy policy and – we hope – actually implements the policy appropriately.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: What Are the Forms that My Doctor’s Office Asks Me to Sign?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to a Notice of Privacy Practices (FAQ 16 of 65)

The rule generally requires a health care provider to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgement that each patient received the notice. Some people think that it is a dumb requirement and a paperwork burden, but that’s what the rule says. Signing a standard acknowledgement does not waive your rights.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: What Are the Most Important Parts of the Notice?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to a Notice of Privacy Practices (FAQ 17 of 65)

Almost any health privacy notice will tell you something that you probably didn’t know. For example, a notice is supposed to include examples of the uses and disclosures that a covered entity can make. These examples will likely be both enlightening and disturbing. The basic list of uses and disclosures is long to begin with, and that may be upsetting if you’ve never read about them before.