HHS Site Gives Patients the Scoop on Their Legal Rights to Health Data
The federal government's revamped HealthIT.gov Web site includes extensive information for patients on their rights under the HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules.
One page, for instance, walks through the process of accessing medical records from providers and explains patients' rights: "A provider cannot deny you a copy of your records because you have not paid for the services you have received. If you request an electronic copy of protected health information, a covered entity is required to provide you with such electronic copy to the extent it is readily producible. Covered entities are permitted to charge reasonable, cost-based fees that cover the cost of copying (including supplies and labor) to provide you with a copy of your protected health information. They cannot, however, charge you a fee for searching for or retrieving your records."
Other pages explain the HIPAA rules in-depth, and the differences between standalone or connected personal health records, electronic health records and electronic medical records.