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  1. #1

    Default Can You Sign Away Your HIPAA Rights

    My question involves public health law in the State of: Pennsylvania
    Hi there, thank you for taking the time to read this post. First, a bit of background...
    I was an accepted medical student planning on attending school starting this fall. That was until I was referred by my school to my state's Physicians Health Program (PHP) due to my self-reporting (to the school) of an arrest that I had in the last year which involved alcohol. This arrest was for violation charges, that were dismissed following my compliance with a pretrial release program.
    The way that PHP works is they handle any medical student or doctor with legal problems involving alcohol and ensure you comply with their regulations or treatment plan in order for you to be in good standing for licensing. After my initial contact and explanation of my situation to the PHP they recommended me to have a multiple-day, inpatient substance abuse evaluation done to determine what treatment I needed. The PHP only allows you to be evaluated by their pre-selected short list of 'trusted' evaluation and treatment facilities. You cannot see any provider that is not PHP-approved (there are not many).
    The problem is this: You pay a couple thousand to get an evaluation done for PHP at one of these treatment facilities, and then you MUST comply with the evaluation recommendation or else you are non-compliant with the terms of PHP treatment/monitoring. So these facilities have a direct financial gain by evaluating an individual and recommending in/outpatient treatment or monitoring which they *coincidentally* just happen to provide!

    I paid $3,000 for my evaluation done by company/provider which was on my list of facilities who claimed they did not offer treatment, only the evaluations. I signed a contract/RoI there which released my medical information to be released from the evaluators to the PHP. After my evaluation I decided that I would rather hear what the report said and my treatment plan was before they released it to the PHP because I did not want to risk having a PHP non-compliance blackmark on my record. I revoked my authorization to PHP until I could see a copy of my report myself and then would decide to re-authorize or not. When I did this, I was told that I had also signed away my right to see the report that I paid for, a medical record, and that only the referring body (PHP) would see this. In addition to this, the provider also told me they had not written the report yet or collected necessary collateral information to write the report and would no longer be doing any of that unless I signed the authorization again.

    The short question is this: Can I sign away my HIPAA protected rights to see my own medical records which I, as the patient, paid for? And on top of this, I paid the provider the $3,000 to complete an evaluation and write a report which they stated they are no longer going to complete, so have they violated their end of the contract in
    performing the task for which they were paid? I've included a redacted scan of the contract/RoI that I signed and then revoked.
    https://imgur.com/a/ABSkzIh

    Any help is really appreciated, and I'm happy to clarify anything needed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,661

    Default Re: Can You Sign Away HIPAA Rights

    Can You Sign Away HIPAA Rights?
    Sure.

    It's a form called something like Authorization for the Release of Medical Information.

    I didn't even have to read your post to answer that question.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,155

    Default Re: Can You Sign Away HIPAA Rights

    This is not a hipaa issue. HipAa involves releasing protected information by a covered entity

    your own personal information being released to you is not protected information.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can You Sign Away HIPAA Rights

    Thanks for the reply.
    I know that you can sign the information to be released, but HIPAA also guarantees a patient the right to view their medical records, which is what my question pertains to.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,651

    Default Re: Can You Sign Away HIPAA Rights

    This provider was not acting as your doctor. They were acting for the school.

    But the form you signed does allow you to see a summary which is likely all anyone outside that provider's office ever saw.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,155

    Default Re: Can You Sign Away HIPAA Rights

    If they believe you can waive your rights under the law, simply rescind the revocation of your rights to be provided your health care info.

    also, if they have breached the contract, demand a refund a fraud if denied, sue them for breach of contract.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    362

    Default Re: Can You Sign Away HIPAA Rights

    So if I understand your situation:

    1) In order to be in good standing to get your medical license, you must be evaluated.
    2) If evaluation indicates that you need to complete treatment, you must do so in order to be licensed.
    3) You don't want the results of your evaluation to be seen by the people who have the power to keep you from being licensed until you've had a chance to see it.

    So let's say the evaluators determined that you need treatment. What is your plan? To not share that info with the PHP? Wouldn't that mean you're not going to be allowed to be licensed?

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