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April 2, 2024 0 Comments

Medical Marijuana Patient Rights

Medical marijuana patient rights are the same as any patient in the United States. There are numerous laws in place to protect patients and allow for quality healthcare to be provided. Among those rights are the right to privacy.

What is HIPAA?

Most patients are aware of patient privacy laws. Medical practices that are compliant will have explanations in their intake paperwork. In 1996, the federal government passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPAA. This law created national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. However, many patients are not aware of how far HIPAA compliance extends.

What is the HIPAA Privacy Rule?

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the HIPAA Privacy Rule to implement the requirements of HIPAA.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other individually identifiable health information (collectively defined as “protected health information”) and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. The Privacy Rule also gives individuals rights over their protected health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, to direct a covered entity to transmit to a third party an electronic copy of their protected health information in an electronic health record, and to request corrections.

Who Does HIPAA Cover?

HIPAA compliance is required by anyone who touches or has access to your medical records. This includes any records related to medical marijuana. Compliance in safeguarding your records starts at the top level with healthcare providers including doctors, clinics, psychologists, dentists, chiropractors, nursing homes, and pharmacies if any information is transmitted electronically (recommendations are transmitted electronically from the physician to the pharmacy). HIPAA compliance is also required for any staff, trainees, or volunteers working under any of those named above.

In addition, those who may be granted access to your health care records outside of those named above (Business Associates), are also required to comply with HIPAA privacy rules. Protected health information shared with a business associate may only be used to help the covered entity carry out its healthcare functions and not for the business associate’s independent use or purposes. To comply with HIPAA, business associates are required to have business associate agreements on file with the healthcare provider.

Patient Rights Provided by HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides several rights to patients in the United States to protect their health information and ensure their privacy. Some of the key rights granted to patients under HIPAA include:

1. Access to Medical Records: Patients have the right to request and receive copies of their medical records from healthcare providers and health plans. This includes the right to inspect, review, and obtain a copy of their health information, typically within 30 days of the request.

2.  Request Amendments: Patients have the right to request corrections or amendments to their medical records if they believe the information is inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated. Healthcare providers and health plans are required to consider these requests and make appropriate changes if necessary.

3.  Privacy Protections: HIPAA establishes strict privacy safeguards to protect patients’ health information. Covered entities, such as healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses, are required to maintain the confidentiality of patients’ medical records and limit access to authorized individuals.

4.  Control Over Disclosure: Patients have the right to control who can access and disclose their health information. HIPAA requires covered entities to obtain patient authorization before disclosing protected health information (PHI) for most purposes, with certain exceptions such as treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.

5.  Right to Request Restrictions: Patients have the right to request restrictions on how their health information is used or disclosed for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. While covered entities are not always required to comply with these requests, they must accommodate reasonable requests when possible.

6.  Notice of Privacy Practices: Covered entities are required to provide patients with a Notice of Privacy Practices that explains their rights under HIPAA, how their health information may be used and disclosed, and how they can exercise their privacy rights.

7.  Breach Notification: Covered entities must notify patients in the event of a breach of their unsecured PHI, which may compromise the privacy or security of their health information. Patients have the right to be notified promptly of any breaches and receive information on steps they can take to protect themselves.

8.  Complaint Process: Patients have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) if they believe their privacy rights under HIPAA have been violated. Covered entities are prohibited from retaliating against individuals who file complaints or exercise their rights under HIPAA.

The Healing Clinics is HIPAA compliant for every requirement, from protected medical records to encrypted communications and every aspect in between. We take your privacy very seriously. Patients need to be aware of their rights and, if they feel their privacy is not being protected, to feel comfortable requesting compliance.

If you’re ready to get started with a medical marijuana doctor who values your privacy and patient rights, click the button below to start your healing journey.