As a patient, you have medical privacy rights that need to be protected. Especially if you’re in the doctor’s office. These rights may include the right to confidentiality and privacy of medical records. The right against being exposed in an examining room when someone comes in without warning or leaves the door open, and other similar circumstances.
However, more often than not, you may not know what to do when you believe someone violated your privacy in the doctor’s office. Fortunately, there are ways to handle the violation and make things right for you.
Keep reading this article to learn what to do when your privacy is violated in the doctor’s office.
Make A Complaint To The Person Who Caused The Violation
When someone in the doctor’s office violates your privacy rights, the first thing you should do is file a complaint to the person who caused it. It can be the physician, nurse, medical assistant, or any other healthcare professional. In most cases, the negative situation is more likely addressed if it’s brought to the attention of the person involved.
When you wait for several days before you complain, there’s a high chance the doctor’s office won’t remember what happened and who exactly was the violator. Consequently, you lose your opportunity to address the situation. Hence, to avoid this from happening, make sure you complain to the person who violated your privacy in the doctor’s office. The liable party may be willing to correct the violation that occurred.
File A Complaint With HIPAA
Suppose the violation of your privacy rights in the doctor’s office involves your medical records. In that case, the best thing to do is complain with HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Generally, health insurance companies and healthcare providers, including physicians who administer any healthcare service, may not be required to share or disclose patients’ medical information without their consent, subject to the privacy rule. For instance, they should get their written authorization to share private information with other entities.
However, when your privacy right to medical information has been violated in the doctor’s office, filing a complaint with HIPAA will make a lot of sense. Once the complaint is submitted, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will investigate the alleged HIPAA violation. If they find that someone in the doctor’s office has indeed violated your privacy rights, they’ll warn or impose a disciplinary measure for the responsible person.
On the other hand, it’s best to be prepared when making a complaint. So, make sure to secure copies of anything related to the complaint, including the emails you sent or received related to the complaint, and other forms of documentation about the investigation. Also, ensure to educate yourself about HIPAA by reading some reliable information about safeguarding protected health information. By doing so, you can keep track of the progress of your complaint and determine your chances of fixing your privacy rights violation successfully.
Lodge A Complaint Against The Doctor Involved With The State Medical Board
If the violation of your privacy is so serious and you think the doctor in the office is responsible for it, then your other course of action is complaining about them with the medical board in your state. They’ll also investigate what happened and identify the doctor’s liability involved in your case. From there, they may decide what to do with the erring medical professional to correct the violation they committed.
Sue For Breach Of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality
If the violation also involves improper disclosure of confidential and private health information, you may try other legal options for relief. For instance, depending on the law in your state, you may be entitled to sue the erring medical practitioner for breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. This legal action is intended to obtain compensation for the injuries and other losses you sustained due to the violation of your privacy rights.
Although HIPAA doesn’t give you a right to file a case in the federal court, this type of lawsuit uses the HIPAA rules and regulations to determine the liability of the medical professionals in the doctor’s office.
Dealing with privacy violations in the doctor’s office can be frustrating. If you have no idea what to do in the first place, you may be unable to protect your rights. Therefore, if you firmly believe that a medical professional in the office violated your privacy, keep the information mentioned above in mind, and you’ll be in the right direction. By doing so, you can get the justice you need and prevent a violation like this from happening to you in the future.