International Physicians Management Services
HIPAA: Myth-Understandings
State Supreme Court Outlaws Balance Billing
NPI ~ Update
ALERT - Be Very Aware!
Fraud Alerts
Practice Management Issues
IVIG Reimbursement
Physicians Resources
Our Services
Contact Us
UCLA Physician Services

Myth - Understandings about HIPAA



According to the American Medical Association (AMA) there have been many myths leading to misunderstandings regarding the new HIPAA rules.  To help doctors voice their opinion and lodge their complaints about various rules, the AMA have, logically enough, created a new page on their web site called: HIPAA Complaint Form! It’s easy to fill out and it’s anonymous.  At last, we can let off some steam in a good old fashioned way without suffering any consequences!


CMS has its own complaint form, but it’s not expecting much of a reply.  As with most things, the form is hard to find on the agency’s site and it requires you to give your name and e-mail address in case CMS needs to follow up with an investigation.  Oh whoopee!  Let’s just invite Jack-the-Ripper for dinner and get it over and done with! One has to wonder if CMS really expects anyone to point a finger at themselves. Should this glorious event actually happen, I do hope the “reporting person” dabbles in stocks and shares, for now might be a good time to buy into KY Jelly!



   Myth: One doctor’s office cannot send a patient’s medical records to another doctor’s office without patient consent.


Fact: A physician can use or disclose protected heath information for treatment, payment or health care operations without patient consent.


   Myth: HIPAA prohibits or discourages e-mail between doctors and patients.


Fact: Physicians can use e-mail with appropriate safeguards, such as encryption software or other security measures.


   Myth: Only the patient can pick up his or her prescriptions.


Fact: A family member or other individual may act on the patient’s behalf to pick up filled prescriptions, medical supplies, x-rays or other similar forms of protected heath information.


   Myth: The privacy regulation mandates all sorts of new disclosures of patient information.


Fact: Disclosure is mandated in only two situations: to the individual patient upon request, or to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for use in oversight investigations.  Disclosure is permitted, not mandated, for other uses under certain limits and standards.


   Myth: If a patient refuses to sign an acknowledgement that he or she received a notice of privacy practices, the physician can, or must, refuse to provide services.


Fact: HIPAA grants the patient a “right to notice” of privacy practices for protected health information, and requires providers to make a “good-faith effort” to get patients to acknowledge receipt.  The law does not grant physicians the right to refuse to treat people who do not sign the acknowledgement, nor does it subject the physicians to liability if a good-faith effort was made.                    


Source: The Health Privacy Project