Virtually all U.S. jurisdictions, including federal and state laws, consider an individual's medical records to be confidential. There are some exceptions, such as medical records pertaining to suspected criminal activity or the use of medical data without any personal identifying information for use in research and tracking.
Medical Records and Privacy in Washington, D.C. at a Glance
Any medical records that identify the patient are considered confidential, as in all other jurisdictions, but the District of Columbia allows anonymous records to be used for research or publication. Any medical records that suggest child abuse or other criminal conduct causing bodily harm are exempt from the confidentiality requirement.
Additional details of the District of Columbia's medical records privacy laws are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Patient Rights Basics section for related articles.
|Who Has Access to Records?||Medical records generally confidential, but may be transmitted for peer-review or anonymous use in publications (§32-501 et seq.). Public mental health facility must make patient records available to patient's attorney or personal physician upon that person's written authorization (§21-562)|
|What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?||Physician and mental health professionals (§14-307). Does not apply to child abuse reports or in criminal cases involving serious bodily harm (§7-1911)|
|Mandatory Reporting Requirements||Mayor may issue list of diseases which physicians must report to Commission of Public Health (§7-131)|
|Patient Consent and Waiver||-|
|Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS||Information and records pertaining to persons with AIDS are confidential (§7-1605)|
Note: State laws may change at any time in a few different ways, including the decisions of higher courts and the enactment of new legislation. You may want to contact a District of Columbia health care law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Medical Privacy Under Federal Law
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) created nationwide standards for the privacy protection of electronically stored medical information. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also enacted a requirement that medical professionals keep any individually identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers, confidential.
Research the Law
Washington, D.C. Medical Records Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.