According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) who sets national standards that gives patient assurance that their health care records information are safe, is keep private and are properly maintained by a health care organization. Many people consider their health care records to be very sensitive and private. For this reason some patients find it hard to disclose certain information sometimes even with the doctor’s, but the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act gives patients a sense of security by protection their right to privacy. However, many patients do not know that information in their medical records could be made available without their authorization in cases such as a response to a warrant or any other legal binding requesting the information for judicial proceedings. Patient’s information may become available in both civil and criminal cases. This paper will look at the judicial proceeding where a patients record may be introduce as evidence in the court system.
According to the author M.L. Bongers authorities in the Netherland propose a new legislation on patient’s right, dealing specifically with medical record of the deceased. In the Netherlands the physician is still bound to professional confidentiality after the patient’s death. However, in the legal doctrine and in case law some exceptions have been recognized, especially for circumstances where the relatives have a legitimate interest in the inspection of medical records of the deceased. It is concluded that there is a need to reconsider the provision’s wording or to adhere to self-regulation of the Royal Dutch Medical Association in order to strike an appropriate balance between the various interests concerned. (Bongers, 2011) There was on key factor in the proposed bill stating a stipulating of the condition under which the relative have a right to review their decease member’s private health records. Many citizens argued that this should not be a written law because if a family member didn’t care to share his/her records with their family when they were a live their medical records data should be given to them under no circumstance after death.
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in a case centering on whether the government is liable for disclosing to another agency the medical history of an HIV-positive patient. (Amednews.com). This case came about during an investigation when a pilot applied for long term care disability and a determination made that he lied on his FAA application about his medical history. Today many legal argument focus on the Privacy Act in enacted into law in 1974 to protect the privacy of individuals identified in information system maintained by federal agencies.
A recent case in the area where I lived a patient’s record was subpoena and her attorneys fought against it and won because the opposing part was her ex-husband who physically and emotionally abuses her during their marriage. He learned about her medical condition through a mutual friend and wanted to use it against her during the divorce proceeding and child custody case. Her attorneys argued that their record should be protect under the HIPAA and if their client’s record were to be views by her ex-husband it will cause more damage to her mental condition cause by her husband after she endure years of abuse. After hearing the argument on both side the judge ruled that her record would not be accepted as evidence. This ruling showed that not all subpoena of health care records will be granted and that some right are still protected.
The HIPPA law has been protecting patients for decades but just like any other law they are subjected to be challenged. A patient’s health care records maybe request by a court depending on the situation. Not all citizens know the full extent of the protection of their record and also the case where their records maybe used as evidence. In some of these cases it is clearly a violation of the patient’s right. The case of the new legislation in the Netherland to me is one such case. Even thou revealing confidential health information as required by law the ruling in the case of the divorcing couple’s show that’s a patient’s record may not be used in any case where it will cause more harm to the patient mental status.