medical confidentiality

medical confidentiality - PHL 116 Bioethics Medical...

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PHL 116 Bioethics Medical Confidentiality I. Rule of Medical Confidentiality Health care workers are obligated to refrain from revealing to third parties, information about a patient obtained in the course of treatment. It is considered to be a prima facie duty of the physician to keep a patient’s information a “secret” from third-parties such as family, employers and authorities. [contained in Hippocratic Oath] II. Medical Confidentiality: HIPAA On April 14, 2003, Congress called on the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a set of patient privacy protections as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). ( http://www.hhs.gov/news/facts/privacy.html ). These were the first-ever federal privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and health information. The protections include: Access to Medical Records . Patients generally should be able to see and obtain copies of their medical records and request corrections if they identify errors and mistakes. Health plans, doctors, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other covered entities generally should provide access these records within 30 days and may charge patients for the cost of copying and sending the records. Notice of Privacy Practices . Covered health plans, doctors and other health care providers must provide a notice to their patients how they may use personal medical information and their rights under the new privacy regulation. Limits on Use of Personal Medical Information . The privacy rule sets limits on how health plans and covered providers may use individually identifiable health information. To promote the best quality care for patients, the rule does not restrict the ability of doctors, nurses and other providers to share information needed to treat their patients. In other situations, though, personal health information generally may not be used for purposes not related to health care, and covered entities may use or share only the minimum amount of protected information needed for a particular purpose. In addition, patients would have to sign a specific authorization before a covered entity could release their medical information to a life insurer, a bank, a marketing firm or another outside business for purposes not related to their health care. Prohibition on Marketing . The final privacy rule sets new restrictions and limits on the use of patient information for marketing purposes. Pharmacies, health plans and other covered entities must first obtain an individual's specific authorization before disclosing their patient information for marketing. At the same time, the rule permits doctors and
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medical confidentiality - PHL 116 Bioethics Medical...

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