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Chiropractic Documentation and HIPAA

Who Owns a Chiropractic Patient’s Record?

The question about who actually owns the chiropractic patient’s x-rays and patient records comes up often when a patient decides to seek care elsewhere. Some doctors think the best way to insure payment for services rendered, if the patient has a balance due, is to not release the x-ray films or patient records to another office. That choice is not the wisest course of action. You must abide by HIPAA regulations.

What Do I Have to Do with My Chiropractic Documentation to Be HIPAA Compliant?

According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the physician owns the patient’s medical record and is required to securely maintain the patient record for a set period of time. Keep in mind, there are slight variances according to state law with respect to minors, worker’s compensation, and psychiatric patient records. However, HIPAA grants five specific entitlements to the patient that relate to the information in the patient records. The right to:

  • Know how Protected Health Information (PHI) is handled in your practice
  • Request their confidential information
  • Review and/or have a copy their confidential information
  • Request inaccuracies in their record be corrected
  • Know who has accessed their medical record

The doctor is not required to release the original record; however, the patient has the right to a copy of their record. It is appropriate to charge reasonable fees to cover the cost of copying and postage if it is needed.

Back to: Chiropractic Documentation Basics

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