Patient’s Guide to HIPAA Part II: The Seven Basic Patient Rights

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: Who Has to Provide Me with an Accounting of Disclosures?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Receive an Accounting of Disclosures (FAQ 40 of 65)

Any HIPAA covered entity must provide a copy of an accounting of disclosures. For most individuals, your health care providers (doctors, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, etc.) and health insurers (HMOs, health plans, Medicare, etc.) will have accounting records that you may want. You may also want to ask your Pharmacy Benefit Manager or PBM. A PBM is a company that contracts with managed care organizations, self-insured companies, and government programs to manage pharmacy network management, drug utilization review, and other activities. A PBM is likely to be the organization that fills your drug prescriptions by mail.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: What does it Cost to Obtain an Accounting of Disclosures?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Receive an Accounting of Disclosures (FAQ 41 of 65)

You are entitled to receive at no charge one copy of the accounting of your medical record in any 12-month period. If you make more than one request, the institution may impose a reasonable, cost-based fee. The institution must tell you the cost in advance so you have a chance to modify or withdraw your request.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: What are the Limitations of an Accounting of Disclosures?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Receive an Accounting of Disclosures (FAQ 42 of 65)

Limitations in the HIPAA rule make the accounting of disclosures much less valuable than it should be. First, covered entities do not have to account for all disclosures. They don’t have to keep an accounting of disclosures for treatment, payment, or health care operations. Most disclosures are likely to be for one of these purposes so this loophole is large.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: Why Bother Asking for an Accounting if It Has so Many Loopholes?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Receive an Accounting of Disclosures (FAQ 43 of 65)

Why seek an accounting of disclosures? First, obtaining a copy of the accounting is free. All you have to do is fill out a form or write a simple letter.

Patient’s Guide to HIPAA – Basic Rights: Do I have Greater Rights under State Laws, Other Federal Laws, or Hospital Policies?

Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Receive an Accounting of Disclosures (FAQ 44 of 65)

Maybe. A few states may have health privacy laws that require health care institutions to maintain better accounting records or to disclose more accounting records to you. If your records are held by the federal government (e.g., Medicare or VA), your rights to have a copy of an accounting under the Privacy Act of 1974 will be greater than under HIPAA. These two sets of privacy rules overlap to your benefit. See FAQ 2 to find other online resources that may help you understand state laws.