Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Deceased Patient Records - What is Appropriate Access?

Even after death patients retain a right to medical records privacy. The laws defining appropriate and inappropriate access to medical records of the deceased can be confusing and frustrating. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) had a recent article covering the key questions about appropriate access.
If it is your medical information or your mother’s, and something happens to you or her, do you want everybody in your family poking around in that stuff?” “If the answer to that question is no, then you can’t be mad at HIPAA for making a person go and become the personal representative of a deceased patient’s estate. Because that is precisely what it is intended to do-to stop people from poking around in your stuff.” - Barry Herrin, JD, Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP
For more on this topic see:
(a) Accessing Deceased Patient Records—FAQ - Journal of AHIMA, March 2011
(b) Who Has Rights to a Deceased Patient’s Records? - Journal of AHIMA, April 2009

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