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Privacy questions - Long

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  • betty12177@aol.com
    I attended a meeting about HIPAA issues last week. The attorney that was there said most authorizations you receive from attorney s offices are not HIPAA
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 30 9:30 PM
      I attended a meeting about HIPAA issues last week. The attorney that was
      there said most authorizations you receive from attorney's offices are not
      HIPAA compliant - and that the attorneys are not even aware. This was news
      to me and I get attorney requests all the time so I am quite concerned about
      this. I was just doing some research and found what she was talking about on
      the HHS website:

      ...... An authorization must specify a number of elements, including a
      description of the protected health information to be used and disclosed, the
      person authorized to make the use or disclosure, the person to whom the
      covered entity may make the disclosure, an expiration date, and, in some
      cases, the purpose for which the information may be used or disclosed........


      To be honest, I haven't paid that close attention to the authorizations I
      receive, but think she may be right - I don't remember ever seeing an
      expiration date on them.

      Has anyone else run across this problem and if so, how have you handled it??
      Does anyone have an example of what an authorization form should look like?

      She suggested we could supply the attorneys with an acceptable authorization
      form. My concern is this is really inconvenient for the attorney and the
      patient - If the attorney already has a signed authorization form on file
      that he has been using, he now has to have the patient come to his office
      again and sign a new one. I just want to be sure that I am understanding all
      this clearly before I go irritating a bunch of attorneys. These HIPAA issues
      are very hard to get a straight answer on - everything is so vague and
      different people interpret them different ways!

      Another thing I am confused about is what information I can and cannot say to
      someone other than the patient on the phone (related to payment/billing). I
      was told that if, for example, a patient's spouse calls about the bill, we
      cannot say anything to the spouse without an authorization. But I found this
      on that website: .... Yes. The Privacy Rule permits a covered entity, or a
      business associate acting on behalf of a covered entity (e.g., a collection
      agency), to disclose protected health information as necessary to obtain
      payment for health care, and does not limit to whom such a disclosure may be
      made. Therefore, a covered entity, or its business associate, may contact
      persons other than the individual as necessary to obtain payment for health
      care services. ..... It goes on to say use the minimum necessary
      information, etc., etc... So why can't I answer whatever question the
      spouse has related to the bill he or she has in front of them anyways???
      If the spouse has the bill, then most likely he/she is the one who will be
      paying the bill. If for example a wife calls on her husband's bill and wants
      to know why the insurance denied the claim. I could safely say to her "well
      your insurance applied the balance to the deductible" or whatever the case
      may be. What do you think? Do you think that they are being overly
      cautious and/or interpreting the rule wrong by telling us we cannot say
      anything to the spouse or other person calling about a bill?

      Thank you in advance for any help you can offer me on these two issues.


















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • mbbielinsk@aol.com
      I just had this situation with a request for records from the US Coast Guard for a pre-employment review. Their request was not sufficient so I faxed back our
      Message 2 of 2 , May 1, 2003
        I just had this situation with a request for records from the US Coast Guard
        for a pre-employment review. Their request was not sufficient so I faxed
        back our authorization stating I'd be happy to comply with their request once
        our authorization was fully completed. If we all do this when we get
        insufficient authorizations, they'll figure it out and at some point, it
        should no longer be necessary.

        ~M. Bridget Bielinski, JD, CPC
        Practice Administrator
        Aspen Medical Care, PC

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        In a message dated 4/30/2003 10:31:48 PM Mountain Standard Time,
        betty12177@... writes:

        > Has anyone else run across this problem and if so, how have you handled it??
        > Does anyone have an example of what an authorization form should look like?
        >
        > She suggested we could supply the attorneys with an acceptable
        > authorization
        > form. My concern is this is really inconvenient for the attorney and the
        > patient - If the attorney already has a signed authorization form on file
        > that he has been using, he now has to have the patient come to his office
        > again and sign a new one.




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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