Good morning playnada!
Having dealt with HIPAA policy in the past, I was very interested in
this question and I thank you for posting it. HIPAA, unfortunately,
is hard for most people to understand. In general, consumers have
five general rights with respect to their medical records:
1. An unconditional right to be informed of the data-handling
practices of medical practitioners and providers;
2. The right to request, but not necessarily to always obtain completely,
the privacy protection of your healthcare information;
3. The right to review and copy your medical record;
4. The right to request that inaccuracies in your record are corrected;
5. The right to know who has accessed your medical records in the past.
The full Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
(HIPAA) can be found at:
( http://aspe.hhs.gov/admnsimp/pl104191.htm )
After reading through this document, I could not find any mention of
"ownership" of medical records, documents and things of that nature.
According to the article, Who?s Record is it Anyway, written by Kate Jackson:
"...patients have records, but their medical providers own the
records. Patients have access and control of the information in the
medical records but only to the extent that both the law and the
providers permit?whether their records are on charts, disks, or secure
Internet servers, consumers have a limited right to view, copy, or
amend their health records, but they don?t own their records. (They
may, in fact, own personal health records such as smart cards or other
forms of personal records, but not the actual record maintained by the
It may vary somewhat by state law, but the healthcare record is owned
by the healthcare provider that created it, explains Bill Spratt,
healthcare partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, a
Florida board-certified health lawyer, and chair of the Florida Bar
Health Law Certification Committee.
"In most states, even prior to HIPAA, patients had a right to access
and request a copy of their records,? he says. The privacy rule
essentially established a national standard confirming that right, and
HIPAA went a little further to also give consumers not only the right
to review their records but also to challenge inaccuracies."
Source: For The Record
Another article backs this up by stating:
"Underlying the entire health care informatics industry is the basic
issue of who owns data and how data may be used by others. There is
limited public law on this question and parties almost invariably
address the issue as a matter of private agreement. Generally, the law
in most states gives ownership of the medical and business records to
the provider who creates the records, subject to a general duty of
confidentiality and in some states a right of access for patients to
their own records."
Source: Physicians News Digest
( http://www.physiciansnews.com/computers/399shaydv.html )
If you continue to have questions, please contact:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Office of Civil Rights
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C., 20201
Phone: (866) 627-7748
Or if you prefer to talk to a customer service representative, you may
also call the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services? toll free HIPAA
Hotline during business hours for answers to your HIPAA related
questions. The toll-free number is 1-866-282-0659.
I hope this answers your question. If you need any further
clarification before rating, please do not hesitate to ask!