Medical records are important files that discuss a patient’s ongoing medical history. These files tend to be used in a variety of situations. Therefore, medical records tend to be transferred from the physician to others more frequently compared to other files. Mishandling a patient’s medical records can put a physician in a legal situation, so it is important to know how to properly handle medical records requests.
Ways to Prevent a HIPAA Violation
In order to prevent a Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA) violation, a physician can employ several tactics after receiving a medical records request. For example, the physician could ask the patient’s permission to release their medical records, even if the patient requests the release. This helps inform the patient to prevent any accidental mishandling of their records. Also, the physician could have the patient sign a HIPAA privacy notice.
Red Flags When Transferring Medical Records
Physicians should be aware of the red flags in medical records requests. These red flags should be found prior to making the medical records transfer to avoid a lawsuit. When a physician’s staff receives a medical records request, they should first ask whether the patient made the request.
If the individual requesting the transfer is not the patient, the staff should determine if the individual has authority to obtain the records. There are only a few instances where others have the right to a patient’s medical records, such as in legal matters. However, doctors should also examine any subpoenas for medical records. There are instances of physicians receiving fake subpoenas from others in search of unauthorized medical records.
Have Staff Members Handle Medical Records Transfers
Maintaining patient privacy is important. Those with a private practice should only employ a few key staff members that will handle the medical records transfers. All staff should be familiar with HIPAA guidelines, but the physician should identify the staff members with the most experience to handle the transfers to ensure that the medical records are reaching the standards of the HIPAA guidelines. However, the entire staff should be committed to complying with HIPAA standards. HIPAA is meant to maintain patient privacy and rights. Staff members that display a commitment to their patient’s privacy are more equipped than the staff members who have no regard for HIPAA compliance.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Physicians with Medical Records Requests
If you or a fellow physician is being accused of mishandling medical records, contact a Philadelphia physician lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Our lawyers will evaluate your case and provide comprehensive counsel throughout the legal process. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.