Did You Know?
HIPAA Is Usually Not a Valid Reason for a Nursing Home
to Deny Access to Medical Records.
HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act, went into effect on April 14, 2003. This federal law protects consumer
privacy by regulating disclosure of medical records by healthcare providers.
While the law affects disclosure of records between healthcare
providers, it does not and should not significantly affect patient access
to their own records. In fact, the law specifically creates a right of
access for patients and their personal representatives, including next
of kin, guardians, conservators, and healthcare powers of attorney. A
patient can also authorize disclosure to others through a HIPAA-compliant
A nursing home can deny access based on HIPAA only if it
believes such disclosure will cause substantial harm. Any such denial
must be in writing and accompanied by a chance for third-party review.
For questions on HIPAA, call the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights toll-free at (866) 627-7748,
or visit them online at www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.
If you have complaints related to the denial of access
to medical records based on HIPAA, please contact the CANHR office.