One's medical records are generally considered confidential, which means only the patient or care providers involved in the patient's health may access these records without express permission. However, certain records may be shared with public officials if it is a matter of public health, such as the disclosure of a communicable disease. The privacy of medical records is protected at the federal level, while state laws often provide additional protections. When a patient authorizes the release of medical records to a third party, the health care provider is generally required to furnish a copy within a reasonable amount of time.
What Are Alabama's Laws on Medical Records?
Alabama law requires physicians, dentists, medical examiners, nursing home and hospital administrators, laboratory directors, school principals, and day care center directors to report certain diseases to the proper authorities. However, this information is considered confidential and should not identify individual persons. For instance, a day care worker would be required to report instances of tuberculosis among students to state authorities without naming the student.
But the privacy of medical records is enforced primarily by federal law. Additional details of Alabama's medical records laws are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Patient Rights section for related articles.
|Who Has Access to Records?||Notifiable disease records confidential (§22-11A-2)|
|What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?||-|
|Mandatory Reporting Requirements||Tuberculosis, STDs, and notifiable disease cases must be reported to state Board of Health (§22-11A-1 et seq.)|
|Patient Consent and Waiver||Waiver of medical record of persons infected with sexually transmitted disease by written consent of patient (§22-11A-22)|
|Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS||An individual must be notified of a positive test result including face-to-face counseling, information on health care services and services related to locating and testing persons who have been in contact with infected individual. Otherwise confidentiality must be maintained §22-11A-53 & §22-11A-54|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through new legislation, ballot initiative, higher court rulings, or other means. Be sure to contact an Alabama health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Alabama Medical Records Laws: Related Resources
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