Citizens are concerned about keeping their health data protected and protected. That is why the U.S Department of Health and Human Services determines policies, according to federal law, on who can get access to one’s health information. With limited exceptions, the HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals the right to access, upon request, the medical and health information (protected health information or PHI) about them in one or more designated record sets maintained by or for the individuals’ health care providers and health plans (Health Information Privacy, 2021). In addition, the individual possesses the right to amend or update data if needed.
The individual’s health information is not allowed to be shared with any organizations, employers, or educational establishments without his written permission. However, there are cases in which health data, according to federal law. For instance, to ascertain if the individual is provided with quality medical care. The individual possesses the right to ask his doctor not to share his medical records with other doctors or nurses at the clinic. The individual may as well ask for different kinds of restrictions, but medical doctors do not always have to agree to do what the patient requests, particularly if it could affect his care or treatment (Office for Civil Rights, 2021). The patient always has the right to request a statement on the conditions under which his health information can be shared.
In case the patient has a trustee, he may transfer his rights to access health information. Personal representatives, as defined by HIPAA, are “those persons who have authority, under applicable law, to make health care decisions for a patient” (Health Information Privacy, 2021). A personal representative of a patient possesses the same rights to access health information as the patient does.
There are cases when one has the right to file a complaint regarding a HIPAA. According to Office for Civil Rights (2021), if an individual believes that his rights are being denied or his health information is not being protected, he has the right to file a complaint. There are three ways of filing a health information privacy or security complaint. The complaint may be filed online, in writing, or via the Office for Civil Rights online portal.
In order to file the complaint, it may be required to provide a detailed description of the acts the individual believed violated the requirements of the Privacy, Security, or Breach Notification Rules. The individual should give the Office for Civil Rights information about himself, details of the complaint, and any additional information that might help OCR when reviewing his complaint (Health Information Privacy, 2021).
To validate the complaint, the individual might be asked to sign the complaint and complete the consent form electronically. In order to submit a written complaint, the patient should print and mail the completed complaint and consent, including his name, full address, telephone numbers, and detailed information of the person or agency the individual believes his or someone else’s health information privacy rights were violated.
If the individual fax the complaint, he should send it to the appropriate OCR regional office based on where the alleged violation took place. OCR has ten regional offices, and each regional office covers specific states (Health Information Privacy, 2021). The individual then may need to send his complaint to the attention of the OCR Regional Manager.
The security of the patient’s health data is strongly controlled by federal law, yet there are cases when the HIPAA Privacy Rule is violated. If a covered entity discovers that the PHI was breached, the covered entity generally is obligated to notify the individual and HHS of the breach and otherwise comply with the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule (Health Information Privacy, 2021). However, if the patient requested to share the information without respecting the security rules, and after being notified of breach risks, did not change his decision, the covered entity is not responsible for such cases.
The Office for Civil Rights may consider complaints against covered entities. The Office for Civil Rights carefully reviews all health information privacy and security complaints (Health Information Privacy, 2021). Under federal law, if the patient’s rights were denied by a covered entity or business associate, then The Office for Civil Rights may take action on the filed complaint. In order to ensure the examination of the complaint, the patient has to follow all the requirements and terms carefully. If the individual requests the consideration of his complaint, it has to be filed within 180 days of the incident.
Once the investigation is completed, the individual will receive the letter which informs the individual about the Office for Civil Rights’ judgment. There are two ways of resolution to the given problem. If the violation of the patient’s security has been confirmed, the entity or business associate must voluntarily comply with the HIPAA Rules, take corrective action, and agree to a settlement (Health Information Privacy, 2021).
In cases when the covered entity is not taking the necessary measures to resolve the issue, the Office for Civil Rights has the right to impose fees and penalties on the accused associate. The Office for Civil Rights may decide to impose civil money penalties (CMPs) on the covered entity or business associate. In the case of imposing civil money penalties, the covered entity has two ways of resolving the issue. The covered entity has to pay the civil money penalties imposed by the Office for Civil Rights. The covered entity has the right to demand the law. In such a case, an HHS administrative law judge will decide whether the penalties are accompanied by the relevant evidence.
Health information privacy. (2021). HHS. Web.
Office for Civil Rights. (2021). Health information privacy rights. Health Information Privacy. Web.