Health Information Management

Q&A: prescription records

HIM-HIPAA Insider, February 23, 2009

Q. May a spouse obtain the prescription records of an incarcerated spouse without written authorization? Generally, does a spouse have access to the medical records of their spouse?

A.
A competent patient is the only person who can authorize release of his or her medical records, including prescription records. Even though a person is incarcerated, he or she is still legally competent. The spouse would need the patient’s written authorization to access his or her PHI.

Editor's note: Mary Brandt, president of Bellaire, TX-based Brandt & Associates, LLC, answered this question. This is not legal advice. Consult your attorney regarding legal matters.

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