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HIPAA Privacy Rules for Getting Medical Tests

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is an act or a federal law in The United States that ensures that people’s medical records are kept private by the covered entities. The covered entities refer to health insurance providers, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers. As such, these institutions and people or companies that work with them are not allowed to disclose the medical information of people without their express permission. For instance, laboratories may not reveal the CVS covid test results of an individual unless such a person gives consent to the same.

So, what are some of the HIPAA rules that govern the getting of medical results? What are the do’s and don’ts that HIPAA covered entities have to adhere to? Here are the rules:

  1.  Workers in medical laboratories are not allowed to disclose patient information. This information can only be shared with authorized persons who need it to make the care of the patient better.
  2.  The first thing you may want to know is that not all your medical information is protected by HIPAA. There are some medical records of information you may have supplied to people, organizations, or institutions that are not covered by HIPAA rules. The information you have shared on websites such as genetic data, info shared on Apple Watch, and such things are not protected.
  3.  There are apps that you may be using and sharing your information with. This information is not necessarily protected by HIPAA rules and one has to be careful where and how they share their medical information.
  4.  The HIPAA prohibits healthcare providers and businesses or other entities that work with these providers from disclosing your health information to anyone without your permission. Whether this information is about COVID-19 symptoms or any other medical information, this should remain private and confidential.
  5.  The HIPAA gives you the mandate to disclose your medical records to the organizations that need them for your benefit. This means therefore that you are the one who can tell them what to disclose and to whom. Even when you decide to share some of this information with family members, you can choose what to share and what not to. Your healthcare provider need not, for instance, share stigmatizing health information with your family. When this is the case, all you have to do is specify to them what can be shared and what cannot.
  6.  The HIPAA Rules do not allow a covered entity or a physician to disclose your medical information to law enforcement agencies. However, the rule allows the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) authority to investigate instances where the privacy rule is violated. The OCR ensures that all covered entities comply with the law and ensure that this is done all the time. The OCR is also required to ensure they maintain stringent controls over the information they receive.

In conclusion, information regarding health records and health conditions of individuals in The United States is kept secret and is not to be shared without express permission from the individuals concerned. Any non-compliance to the HIPAA rules can lead to the prosecution of the concerned parties.