Corporate Compliance

Q&A: Releasing records to attorneys

Compliance Monitor, August 4, 2010

Q: When an attorney requests we release all records, must we comply and send all of the patient’s medical records?

A: If the attorney’s request is accompanied by the patient’s authorization; review the authorization to determine what information the patient consented for release.If the patient’s authorization states that you may release “any and all records”, you still must apply minimum necessary criteria. Speak with the attorney to determine which records he or she needs and release only those records.

If a patient’s authorization specifies release of a limited subset of records, you must comply with that authorization, even if the attorney requests more information.

If a subpoena seeking “any and all records” accompanies the attorney’s request, you must apply minimum necessary criteria.

Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS answered this question in the August 2010 issue of the HCPro newsletter Health Information Compliance Insider. For more information about this newsletter visit the HCMarketplace.

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