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Medical Records

Please explain the following regarding medical records and HIPPA regulations:

1. What are three ways that medical records could be used in court?

2. According to HIPPA and organization policy, are there ways that medical records could be disclosed without patient consent? If so, what might those be?

3. What are some regulatory protections regarding privacy that are required of providers and health plans by HIPPA?

4. What obligations regarding the storage and disposal of paper and electronic medical records are imposed by HIPPA?

Solution Preview

1.A medical records subpoena is an order to produce medical records so that they can be used as evidence in court or in an investigation having to do with a trial. Medical records can be subpoenaed in both civil and criminal cases, and there are some rigid rules about when they can be ordered and released. These rules are designed to protect the confidentiality of such records while still providing a way to examine them when it is necessary. Patients should remember that their records can be subject to subpoena and they will not necessarily be notified when their records are subpoenaed and released.Some legal advocates do not use medical records regularly in civil contexts or they use them completely in criminal contexts. They may be used as evidence of sexual abuse during trials where someone is being charged in that crime. Medical experts may be called in to examine a victim's medical records to try to prove some sort of violation such as rape took place.
There are ways in which a patient may "waive" the confidentiality of medical records. A common way by filing a lawsuit or claim for personal injury. By doing this the patient has put his / her physical condition "at issue" in the lawsuit. Therefore, the law presumes that the patient has waived all confidentiality regarding his/ her medical condition, and there is an implied authorization to the patient's doctor for disclosure of all relevant information and medical records.
If individuals are involved in litigation, an administrative hearing, or a worker's compensation hearing and his/her medical condition is an issue, the relevant parts of your medical record may be copied and introduced in court. Whether or not some or all of your medical information is deemed relevant may depend on the judge or or the ability of the attorneys in the case to prove their relevance.

2.In recent years, many courts have held that doctors are supposed to protect others who may be harmed by patients. This often results in a duty to release medical records or medical information without the pateint's knowledge or consent. For example, unbeknownst to a patient, doctors may warn others or the police if the patient is mentally unstable, potentially violent, or has threatened a specific person. In some states, the duty to report or warn others superceeds the right to confidentiality or privileged communication with a doctor. Courts will decide these ...

Solution Summary

Medical Records and HIPPA regulations are clearly articulated in this solution.