For the most part, medical records are considered confidential and protected by a combination of federal and state laws. These records contain very personal information that could be used for illegitimate purposes. For instance, genetic information could be used by an employer to discriminate against a job applicant with a family history of serious depression, or a therapist's notes could be used for blackmail. Medical records are accessible only to the medical care providers (and authorized health care and health insurance administrators) who need it for legitimate purposes, in addition to the patient and -- if a minor -- the patient's parents.
Since it's sometimes necessary to share medical records with a third party, such as an employer if filing for workers' compensation, each state has a process for authorizing the release of these records.
Medical Records and Privacy in Idaho: Overview
Idaho's medical records privacy laws allow the release of confidential files with a subpoena (and in some civil actions if needed for discovery), to the patient, or the parent of the patient if a minor. In addition, the state may collect general information about AIDS and other infectious disease for statistical purposes.
Additional details of Idaho's medical records laws are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Patient Rights Basics section for related articles.
|Who Has Access to Records?||Patient or agent by subpoena (§9-420); parent of minor child whether custodial or non (§32-717A); in some civil actions records may be open to discovery (§39-1392e); government medical records exempted from open records law (§9-340C)|
|What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?||Physician (§9-203(4)), psychologist (§9-203(6))|
|Mandatory Reporting Requirements||Child abuse cases within 24 hours (§16-1619); enumerated venereal diseases including AIDS and HIV (§39-602)|
|Patient Consent and Waiver||Patient or doctor or nurse responsible for entries in hospital record may request protective order to deny or limit access (§9-420)|
|Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS||Confidentiality of patient information maintained; use of information restricted to "public health requirements" and "those with a legitimate need to know" (§39-609)|
Note: State laws are always subject to change, most often through the enactment of newly signed legislation or voter-approved ballot initiatives but sometimes through higher court decisions or other means. You should contact an Idaho health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Idaho Medical Records Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.