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Privacy Rights and Medical Treatment  

What Are Privacy Rights?

Privacy rights as they relate to medical treatment deal with how and which medical reports are kept private. Medical records often contain sensitive material which is told to the doctor in strict confidentiality. The doctor is only allowed to release certain types of medical records to outside parties and in many instances only when the patient consents to such a release of information.

Protection by Federal Law

The federal law which deals with privacy rights of patients as they pertain to medical records is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This law was enacted in 2003 to set some guidelines as to what documents were private, which could be released to outside parties and in what circumstances they could be released to such parties.

Access to Medical Records is Allowed in Certain Instances

There will come a time when one must sign documents to allow other parties to view their medical records. Some of the parties who may need to review the medical records of an individual include health insurance companies who pay health benefits for the individual, government agencies, employers and lawyers who need such documents for legal issues. These privacy documents are often signed prior to receiving treatment at a new facility. This allows the medical records to be released to those parties whom the patient says may view them.

Why Are Privacy Rights Important?

Privacy rights are important for a number of reasons. First, by having privacy rights in place, individuals can rest assured that their information will not be unreasonably disseminated to parties who have no right to view such information. Secondly, by establishing privacy rights for patients, the patient will be much more comfortable relaying their medical issues to the medical health professional who in turn will be better able to help them with their medical condition. Privacy rights are vital rights to have in place as it provides the best overall results for the patient.

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