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Florida Medical Records Laws

We trust our doctors with an enormous amount of personal information. Yet we rarely think to ask about the rules and regulations regarding how our medical information is stored and shared. Most of us consider our medical records to be private, but which laws apply to sharing our most important personal information? Here is a brief introduction to medical records laws in Florida.

Medical Records Laws Generally

American medical records are considered highly sensitive and protected. They are available only to those who need to know and/or have been given consent. Medical ethics rules along with federal and state laws govern the privacy protection of medical records, and determine whether doctors may share your medical information without your permission. Florida medical records laws lay out a patient's right to keep sensitive medical records confidential, including records of abortions and venereal disease. A Florida patient generally must given written consent to the release of medical records. Florida physicians, meanwhile, must report cases of tuberculosis and STDs to the state Department of Health.

Medical Records Laws in Florida

The following table highlights the basics of Florida medical records laws.

Who Has Access to Records?

Patient or his/her legal representative or health care provider except for psychological or psychiatric records which may be provided as a report instead of copies of records (§456.057); patient's guardian, curator, or personal representative, anyone authorized in writing (§395.3025)

What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?

Psychotherapist-patient (§456.059)

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Physicians must report cases of tuberculosis and STDs to Dept. of Health (§384.25, §392.53)

Patient Consent and Waiver

Medical records not disclosed unless patient gives written authorizations exceptions to the written authorization as provided in (§456.057)

Insurance Companies

-

Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS

Confidential with exceptions to nondisclosure as provided in §381.004 (3)(e)

Along with Florida state law, the federal law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), normally requires doctors and their staff to keep your medical records confidential, unless you allow the doctor's office to disclose them. There are, however, three general exceptions:

  • Emergency: If you have suffered a traumatic injury and cannot make medical decisions for yourself, a doctor may discuss your medical information with a spouse or family member;
  • Part of a Court Case: If you bring a personal injury lawsuit or a worker’s compensation claim, a doctor may testify about your health or injuries;
  • Government Reporting: Doctors are required to report certain information (births, deaths, and some communicable diseases) to the government for public health interests.

Related Resources for Florida Medical Records Laws:

Health care law can be confusing, and dealing with illness and doctors can be stressful. If you would like legal assistance with a health care matter, or if you would like to know your rights should one arise, you can contact a Florida health care attorney in your area. You can also visit FindLaw’s health care law section for more general information.

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