Patient’s Guide to HIPAA Part II: The Seven Basic Patient Rights
Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Request Confidential Communications (FAQ 25 of 65)
You have the right to ask a health care provider to communicate with you by alternative means or at alternative locations. This means, for example, that you can ask your fertility clinic not to call you at work or to send you an email notification of an appointment. You could ask your psychiatrist not to leave a message about an appointment at your home telephone voice mail. You might also ask a specialized clinic not to send you a post card reminder of your appointment but to use a closed envelope. A provider must accommodate reasonable requests. We think that all of the examples in this paragraph are generally reasonable. We also think that that asking for written communications – including bills – to be in plain envelopes with no identification of the provider in the return address is also reasonable.
Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Request Confidential Communications (FAQ 26 of 65)
A provider may require you to make a written request to receive a confidential communication in writing. Read the notice of privacy practices to find out the local procedure. In a small office, an oral request may be sufficient. Still, if you orally tell the receptionist not to call you at your office, the doctor may not know about your request. A written request may be safer because it creates a formal record of the request. You should keep a copy of your written request.
Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Request Confidential Communications (FAQ 27 of 65)
Yes, but the rule is a bit different. To make a request to a health plan, the individual must clearly state that the disclosure of all or part of the information could endanger the patient. The plan may require that a request contain a statement that disclosure could endanger the patient. The plan can demand a written request.
Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Request Confidential Communications (FAQ 28 of 65)
A plan or provider can condition the accommodation on the patient providing an alternative address or means of contact for information about how payment will be handled. This means that you can’t ask someone to send all bills to the White House unless you are the President.
Roadmap: Patient’s Guide to HIPAA: Part 2: Basic Patient Rights: Right to Request Amendment (FAQ 29 of 65)
Start by obtaining a copy of the notice of privacy practices. You may already have a copy. If not, each HIPAA covered entity must provide a copy of its notice to anyone who asks for one. In addition, a copy should be available on the website of each covered entity (if the covered entity has a website). The notice of privacy practices describes your rights, including your right to ask for an amendment. The covered entity’s notice will tell you where to submit your request for amendment.