What Are Your Options if Your Doctor Releases Your Private Medical Records?
Your medical records are considered private information between you and your healthcare provider. Under the Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), your healthcare provider is prohibited from releasing your medical records without your prior written consent. If you believe your medical records have been released without your consent, you may be able to sue your doctor. Our West Virginia personal injury attorneys are extremely adept at handling cases like this.
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Under federal HIPAA regulations, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals cannot release your personal identifying medical information to anyone without your consent. If they do breach this regulation, HIPAA does not allow for a private cause of action. What this means is, just because your doctor or pharmacy may have released your personal medical information to someone without your consent, this does not mean you are able to file a lawsuit against them. If your medical records were released without your consent, you may contact the U.S. Department of Health & Human Safety Services and file a complaint.
Medical records include information such as:
- Medical History
- Lifestyle information
- Past medical procedures
- Laboratory test results
- Prescribed medications
In order for you to have a civil case against your medical provider for releasing your medical records, you must prove that by doing so you suffered harm. When someone suffers harm, it means they have suffered a certifiable monetary loss. For example:
Steve has been selected to open a new branch of his company’s retail stores overseas in China. He is excited as this would mean a promotion and a raise. While Steve’s employer is performing the necessary background checks they need in order to approve all their employees for international travel, they contact Steve’s doctor and request copies of his medical records. The company representative claims to have Steve’s permission to do so over the phone and the medical professional releases the records to Steve’s employer. A few days later, Steve is told that he will no longer be going on the trip to China as they have found a more suitable candidate for the job.
In this example, Steve could follow through with civil legal action against his medical provider because he may be able to provide proof he has suffered loss as a direct result of the federal HIPAA violation. Steve’s damages would be a loss of income had he been able to travel to China and work in the position he had been promoted to.
What do I do now?
It is important to note that if your medical history has been released without your consent and you have suffered damages, you should always file a complaint with the HHS. If you file a complaint with the HHS, a full investigation into the complaint will be launched and our West Virginia personal injury attorneys could use their investigation and findings as solid evidence in your case.
If you’ve suffered from your medical records being released without your consent, you need to consult a West Virginia personal injury lawyer. Our accomplished trial attorneys can help you get the reparations you deserve. With over 30 years of experience and a consistent record of success, you can be confident you’re getting exceptional legal counsel.
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