Health Information Privacy, mental health counseling, professional home health care, Health Insurance, SAMHSA

Your Health Information Privacy:

The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rules determine federal protection of your Health Information Privacy by restricting the use and sharing of certain information. In many cases, you can control who can access your health information and play an important role.

What information is protected by HIPAA privacy rules?

Privacy protection applies to your “individual identification medical information”, which means.

  • Information relating to personal past, present or future physical or mental health or condition; provision of health services to individuals; or provision of personnel, past or future payments to health care for individuals.
  • Identify personal information, or have reasonably based information available to identify individuals.

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Who must comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rules regarding the use and sharing of my health information?

  • Most doctors, nurses, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and many other fitness providers.
  • Health insurance companies, health maintenance organizations (HMO), and most employers’ fitness programs.
  • Some government programs that cover health care costs, such as medical insurance and medical assistance.

These third parties must also comply with most of the restrictions in the HIPAA privacy rules if the provider, insurance company, or government plan to make arrangements with a business partner (third party) that involves sharing medical information. The HIPAA rules require the business person to agree in writing to properly protect your medical information.

What are some of the ways my medical information may be used and shared?

To ensure that your health information is protected and does not affect your health care, the HIPAA Privacy Rules allow you to use and share your information in the following ways:

  • Coordinate for your treatment and care. For example, your doctor can see what tests and results you have, so the test does not have to be repeated.
  • With the doctors and the hospital to provide you with care for their services to pay.
  • Ensure that doctors and other professional home health care are given good care.
  • To protect the fitness of the public, for example, report a cold in your area.

Your Health Information Privacy plan provider does not have to ask if you can use or share your medical information for this purpose.

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Can I control who sees or uses my health information?

In many cases other than the above, you have the right to control who sees or uses your medical information. Some examples are:

  • In general, your Health Information Privacy cannot be provided to your employer, used to the cell phone or advertisements using or shared, or used or shared for many other purposes unless you sign your authorization form by signing your license. This authorization form must tell you who will get your information and your information will be used. This is different from your provider that may ask you to log into your first visit to the document, telling you how to use and share your medical information and how to exercise your rights.
  • Providers generally do not share personal notes about mental health counseling sessions unless you grant them permission.
  • You may ask your supplier or a medical insurance company not to share your fitness information with certain people, groups or companies. For example, if you go to a clinic, you can ask your doctor not to share your medical records with other doctors or nurses in the clinic. But the clinic does not have to agree to what you are asking for. In some cases, for example, your doctor may need to share your information to ensure proper treatment and coordination between doctors at the clinic.

Learn more about the collection, use and disclosure limits for your medical information.

Do I have the ability to control how information related to behavioral health care is used and shared?

In addition to HIPAA, there is also the federal law to protect information on alcohol and drug abuse treatment received at federal-supported treatment centers. For information and guidance on the confidentiality of behavioral and HIPAA privacy rules, see 42 CFR Part 2 and the Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services Authority (SAMHSA).

Health Information Terminology





What do I need to know about HIPAA notifications from doctors and medical insurers?

Most of your fitness care providers and your health insurer must give you a notification about how to legally use and share your biological information and how to exercise your fitness information privacy. Providers or fitness insurers may not use or disclose information in a manner that does not comply with their notice.

For more information on this notice, please refer to the HHS Ministry of Civil Affairs for information on the notice.

To learn more about your rights and how your information is used and shared, please visit the US Department of Health Information Privacy and Human Services for guidance on your medical information collection, use, and disclosure restrictions.


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