Privacy Is Available—but at a Price, States Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

TUCSON, Ariz., June 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For patients who do not want all their medical data on the internet in these days of frequent cybercrime, Philip Eskew, D.O., J.D., M.B.A. offers some suggestions in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

Under the HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) of 2009, patients have an opportunity to limit sharing of protected health information that would normally occur automatically between HIPAA-covered entities (such as a physician’s office and insurance company), Dr. Eskew explains—if the information pertains solely to an item or service for which the patient has paid in full out of pocket, and if the disclosure is not required by law.

Laws that would prevent a “provider” from honoring a patient’s privacy request include some state laws pertaining to HMOs or Medicaid, and federal Medicare requirements, Dr. Eskew explains. Such patients might need to seek care out of network or in situations for which a Medicare claim does not need to be filed. If a Medicare patient sees a  physician who is not opted out of Medicare, the patient can invoke a HITECH exception to claims-filing.

HITECH can also be used to fight against inflated charges, Dr. Eskew notes.

The law is complex. Dr. Eskew provides some Frequently Asked Questions for the guidance of patients and physicians and a model HITECH request statement.

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.


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