Insurance companies will rely on a patient’s medical records when they validate any claim for an injury. When someone has been injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or other accident requiring an insurance claim, the insurance carrier will require proof of those injuries. However, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, ensures a patient’s privacy and protects a person’s health information. It does this by limiting others from getting copies of their medical records.
If you have been injured in an accident and decide to pursue an injury claim or personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will need to have access to some of your medical records to understand your injuries, review what medical procedures have been done, and what compensation you may be due. If you give written permission, your attorney can request your records on your behalf. Without it, a healthcare provider can deny that request.
While it is necessary for your attorney to have access to these records to help pursue your claim or lawsuit, they have important and sensitive information about you, including delicate medical information and personal information such as your social security number. Do you know how your attorney extracts this information and what they do with it to ensure your privacy?
Why Does Your Attorney Need Your Medical Records?
Your attorney will need to understand the nature and extent of your injuries in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the viability of your case and what you may be entitled to as compensation. These records provide details about your injuries, possible causes, and enable the attorney to begin to calculate the damages.
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How HIPAA is Designed to Protect You
HIPAA is a federal law that was passed in 1996 to set national standards for the protection of individuals’ medical and personal health information. Anything that identifies someone and is maintained or exchanged by a healthcare provider, either electronically or by hard copy, is subject to HIPAA rules.
HIPAA was enacted to enable portability of healthcare coverage, improve the efficiency of the healthcare system in sharing important medical information, and protect the privacy of patients. HIPAA compliance is critical when anyone has access to your sensitive medical information.
How Does HIPAA Work in a Personal Injury Claim?
A patient must be prepared for some of their medical information to be released during a personal injury case, since this information is fundamental to the claim. If the case goes to court, these medical records become part of the case and both sides must be able to have access to the records. Consequently, there are some important exceptions to HIPAA privacy requirements:
- When there is a court order associated with a legal case
- When processing payments for services
- When tracking disease for public health reasons
- For law enforcement purposes
- When the individual requests their own record
How Ged Lawyers Protects Your Privacy
At Ged Lawyers, as designated “business associates,” we are bound by HIPAA rules. While we do need to access your records so we can determine fair compensation for an injury claim, we do so with complete care for your privacy and compliance with HIPAA rules. We are able to audit a patient’s records through a sophisticated electronic auditing process that is completely HIPAA compliant. All of our staff and auditors are HIPAA trained and get certified annually to ensure that your information is safe and completely protected.
To find out more about how we look at injury claims and how we access and protect records, see our YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DghFjk0h-Hk.
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Getting Skilled Legal Help in Florida
If you have been injured in an accident and are having difficulty collecting on an insurance claim or wonder if the at-fault party can be held accountable, let the Tampa Bay personal injury lawyers at Ged Lawyers help. Call us at (561) 562-4170 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.