Health Information Management

HIPAA Q&A: You've got questions. We've got answers!

HIM-HIPAA Insider, October 26, 2015

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to HIM-HIPAA Insider!

 Submit your HIPAA questions to Associate Editor Nicole Votta at and we will work with our experts to provide you with the information you need.

Q: I received a request of information for a deceased patient's record. The patient passed away almost 80 years ago. How do I handle this?

A: The HIPAA omnibus rule clarifies that a patient's privacy must be protected for 50 years after death. So, there is no expectation that a record this old would be protected under HIPAA. However, I would be curious as to who was requesting it and why. Also, many organizations destroy records once their state's retention rules permit. Consider looking at your retention policies to avoid these kinds of time-consuming requests.

Editor's note: Chris Simons, MS, RHIA, answered this question for HCPro’s Medical Records Briefings newsletter. This information does not constitute legal advice. Consult legal counsel for answers to specific privacy and security questions.

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to HIM-HIPAA Insider!

    Briefings on APCs
  • Briefings on APCs

    Worried about the complexities of the new rules under OPPS and APCs? Briefings on APCs helps you understand the new rules...

  • HIM Briefings

    Guiding Health Information Management professionals through the continuously changing field of medical records and toward a...

  • Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies

    Submitting improper Medicare documentation can lead to denial of fees, payback, fines, and increased diligence from payers...

  • Briefings on HIPAA

    How can you minimize the impact of HIPAA? Subscribe to Briefings on HIPAA, your health information management resource for...

  • APCs Insider

    This HTML-based e-mail newsletter provides weekly tips and advice on the new ambulatory payment classifications regulations...

Most Popular