In the United States, health care privacy is governed by what is referred to as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), 42 U.S.C. § 300gg and 29 U.S.C § 1181 et. seq. and 42 USC 1320d et. seq. HIPAA is the foremost privacy law relating to the privacy and confidentiality of patient’s medical information, where the primary goal “of the Privacy Rule is to assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public’s health and well being.” The purpose of such privacy standards is that such health care information is personal, contains personal medical details, and if placed in the wrong hands, can have serious and at times, very detrimental consequences for purposes of medical coverage, insurance claims, employment, and other purposes.
When Your Private Information is Shared
The issue for many patients is when they find that their health care information has been distributed, shared, sold, or otherwise provided without their consent to third parties including other health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, or even other medical based vendors seeking to solicit specific business from patients based on the private and personal information they received. Additionally, South Carolina, has specific health care records based laws that govern the maintenance, safety, privacy, and distribution or sharing of patient medical information, which “applies to how doctors and hospitals share our personal health information to make sure our medical records are safe and secure.” South Carolina for all intent and purpose, recognizes and adopts the federal HIPAA laws and attempts in every meaningful way, to preserve the sanctity of medical information.
Legal Consequences for Health Care Providers
A physician or health care provider’s failure to adhere to such medical record privacy and medical record maintenance records can have consequences, where patients may lodge a specific complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including state regulators. Additionally, patients through the government regulators, may seek the imposition of fines, penalties, and other enforcement measures for the violation of such HIPAA laws, including both civil and criminal based claims. Recent news stories have highlighted how a number of companies throughout the U.S., both large and small have been subjected by the government to huge fines for inappropriately sharing and distributing personal health related information. In such situations, the government has imposed various civil and at times, criminal enforcement measures to insure that going forward, patient information is maintained as private.
Contact an Attorney Today
As an individual that has been injured or harmed or found that your personal medical information has been compromised, such involves very complex and sophisticated legal issues. The Connell law Firm, LLC has experienced attorneys who are able to discuss your case with you today. Contact our office for a consultation.