Privacy and data protection attorneys Linn Freedman and Kathryn Sylvia of the Nixon Peabody firm have written a brief explanation of provisions under a new federal rule to give patients or designated representatives the right to receive copies of medical test results from most clinical laboratories:

Recently, the Final Rule to amend the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations, which will now allow patients and their personal representatives access to lab test reports and results from laboratories, was published in the Federal Register. This Amendment stems from collaboration between U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office for Civil Rights. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “The right to access personal health information is a cornerstone of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Information like lab results can empower patients to track their health progress, make decisions with their health care professionals, and adhere to important treatment plans.”

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