Health Information Management

Tip of the week: Take a closer look at your organization's amendment policy when defining your legal health record.

HIM-HIPAA Insider, April 3, 2007

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

An amendment is typically the correction of a finalized entry in a medical record that has been identified as incorrect. You should consider these corrections as part of the legal record and, as such, they must meet the four basic principles of a business record in order to be admissible as evidence in court.

According to the American Health Information Management Association, to meet these criteria, the record must be

  • documented in the normal course of business (following normal routines)
  • kept in the regular course of business
  • made at or near the time that the matter was recorded
  • made by a person within the business with the most knowledge of the  acts, events, conditions, opinions, or diagnoses appearing in it
  • Because the legal health record is a critical source of information that providers use as part of the patient's continued care and treatment, it must accurately reflect the correct information. HIPAA requires covered entities to think about the following:

  • Time constraints. Facilities are required to accept, review, and respond via written correspondence to all patient requests to amend personal health information within a 60-day period (you can request a 30-day extension, if you're eligible).
  • Policy. You are required to develop a policy to meet HIPAA regulatory guidelines for accepting and processing such requests.
  • Forms. Design an amendment request form for patients to use when they want to request an amendment. Doing so ensures that your team will have the information it needs in a clear and concise manner. Forms also make it much easier to conduct analysis.
  • Designated record set (DRS). Review the DRS to ensure that all of the documents you have listed are eligible for amendment.
  • Guidelines. Establish general guidelines for an approved versus denied amendment request.
  • Assessment. Assess system applications' effect on an approved amendment. System application limitations. Identify system limitations when processing amendments to the electronic health record.
  • Internal operations. Evaluate internal operation procedure for presenting amendment requests to providers, including time requirements and the procedure to amend a paper/electronic/hybrid health record.
  • Procedure. Establish a procedure to manage denied requests.
  • Editor's note: This tip was adapted from the new book The Legal Health Record Companion: A Case Study Approach by Deborah Adair and Karen Griffin. For more information or to order from HCPro's Web site, click here.

    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