Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Does HIPAA help or hurt patients?

The HIPAA law is long and complicated and most people, including many mental health professionals, do not understand the law’s provisions. Our office routinely receives phone calls from patients and family members alike that are frustrated by the privacy laws concerning patient medical records.

While it makes sense for patient medical records to be protected, there are situations that call into question whether absolute confidentiality is the best option for patients and the public. This is a question facing the Governor-appointed panel investigating the senseless deaths of 32 students at Virginia Tech. In an effort to understand what caused that tragedy and to prevent another one like it, should the panel be able to review the medical records of the deceased gunman?

Labels: ,