Health care providers frequently misunderstand HIPAA

Recent studies suggest that patients and their families are being denied access to medical records too frequently due to an overzealous application of a federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA was designed to allow people to take their health insurance with them when they changed jobs, but it also set out rules on when a health care provider could or could not disclose medical information. Experts say that health care providers either do not understand the hyper-technical law or have been trained to apply it whenever there is any doubt about what constitutes protected information or whether a disclosure would be permissible.

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