Your Health Information Privacy Rights (HIPAA)
You have privacy rights under a federal law (HIPAA) that protects your
health information. These rights are important for you to know. You can
exercise these rights, ask questions about them, and file a complaint if you
think your rights are being denied or your health information isn't being
Who Must Follow This Law?
- Most doctors, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and
many other health care providers.
- Health insurance companies, HMOs, most employer group health plans.
- Certain government programs that pay for health care, such as Medicare and
Providers and health insurers who are required to follow this law must
comply with your right to:
1. Ask to see and get a copy of your health records.
You can ask to see and get a copy of your medical record and other health
information. You may not be able to get all of your information in a few
special cases. For example, if your doctor decides something in your file might
endanger you or someone else, the doctor may not have to give this information
- In most cases, your copies must be given to you within 30 days, but this
can be extended for another 30 days if you are given a reason.
- You may have to pay for the cost of copying and mailing if you request
copies and mailing.
2. Have corrections added to your health information.
You can ask to change any wrong information in your file or add information to
your file if it is incomplete. For example, if you and your hospital agree that
your file has the wrong result for a test, the hospital must change it. Even if
the hospital believes the test result is correct, you still have the right to
have your disagreement noted in your file.
- In most cases the file should be changed within 60 days, but the hospital
can take an extra 30 days if you are given a reason.
3. Receive a notice that tells you how your health information is
used and shared.
You can learn how your health information is used and shared by your provider
or health insurer. They must give you a notice that tells you how they may use
and share your health information and how you can exercise your rights. In most
cases, you should get this notice on your first visit to a provider or in the
mail from your health insurer, and you can ask for a copy at any time.
4. Decide whether to give your permission before your information
can be used or shared for certain purposes.
In general, your health information cannot be given to your employer, used or
shared for things like sales calls or advertising, or used or shared for many
other purposes unless you give your permission by signing an authorization
form. This authorization form must tell you who will get your information and
what your information will be used for.