Our medical records contain intimate details about ourselves and our health. Therefore, federal and state laws have been developed to ensure that our medical records stay private. One of these laws is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). You may be aware of this law because of a HIPAA notice your doctor’s office provided you and required you to sign as an acknowledgment that you received the notice. Oklahoma law also treats mental health and substance abuse treatment records as confidential and no one has the right to know a patient received these services.
Privacy of Medical Record Exceptions in Oklahoma
Your health care providers usually can’t release your records to a third party, but you can provide permission, such as for your personal injury attorney or spouse to get a copy of the records. Oklahoma has a standard authorization form that you can use with any of your Oklahoma medical providers.
Other times medical records could potentially be released is for tracking of communicable diseases, like HIV/AIDS, by public health officials. However, no more information than necessary can be released. In addition, a waiver of these privacy rights may be required in some situations, such as to participate in a medical research study. Parents and guardians typically have access to their children’s records. Also, in wrongful death cases cases where the health care facility, doctor, or nursing home may be sued, the plaintiff can get the records, but will have to provide copies with the other party.
The following chart describes the Oklahoma medical records privacy laws.
|Code Sections||Oklahoma Statutes Title 76 Section 19 – Access to Medical Records and Title 43A Section 1-109 – Privileged/Confidential Nature of Medical Records & Physician/Client Communications|
|Who Has Access to Records?||Patients have access to their own medical records. However, you can be charged up to $.50 per page for the records. If the records are electronic, the maximum rate is $.30 per page, up to a maximum of $200 plus postage or delivery.
Other limitations on access to records include:
|Penalty||Refusing to provide medical records as required is a misdemeanor offense in Oklahoma.|
|What Privileges Apply to Medical Records?||Medical records are subject to the physician-patient and psychotherapist-patient privileges. These privileges mean that, unless an exception applies, medical records can’t be turned over to anyone, including cops and courts.
Exceptions to this privilege include a proceeding to commit someone for mental illness, when an inmate threatens other’s safety, and a lawsuit between the patient and the doctor or psychiatrist.
|Mandatory Reporting Requirements||State law requires health care providers mandatorily report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. In addition, mental health or substance abuse providers also must report criminal threats by patients to the police, such as when the patient clearly states a present intention to kill a specific person.
Health care providers also have to report certain communicable disease and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
|Patient Consent and Waiver||Patients can consent to share their medical records with third parties. However, the medical provider can’t provide them to the third party without a written authorization or waiver form on file.|
|Insurance Companies||If an insurance company or attorney requests medical records, they are charged an additional base fee of $10 for medical records.|
|Provisions Related to HIV/AIDS||The HIV test results of defendants will be provided to the victim of sex crimes upon the victim’s request.|
If you think your medical records were disclosed without your permission, you should contact the medical provider to request your records are returned and any unauthorized copies are destroyed. You could have additional legal options, including suing for any negative consequences of the unlawful breach. To learn more, speak to an experienced, local health care lawyer.
Note: State laws are constantly being revised, therefore it’s important to contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these state laws.
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