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Medical Records and Patients’ Rights

Doctors, nurses, or other professionals involved in health care who treat individuals generate a great number of health records pertaining to the patients. Running into a lot of pages, these records form crucial part of malpractice suit at times. Medical records, when maintained properly, consist of vital details that interpret the reason for any medical procedure going wrong. Hence they are considered very important in the legal point of view. Vital medical details such as blood pressure, oxygen level, or heart fluctuations are recorded on a continuous basis so that any change or detrimental effect may be tracked precisely and quickly.

As they contain personal health details, medical records are privy to select people, namely, the patient, doctor, and any authorized representative of the patient. The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures that no other third party can access these private information.Accessing or sharing medical records with those not authorized is an offense. Under HIPAA, without prior authorization by the patient, any third parties such as employers or even family members cannot access an individual’s protected medical information. In case such protected information has been disclosed to an unauthorized party, legal action can be taken against the entity responsible for custodianship of the information.

Patients have absolute rights over their health records. When a patient makes a formal request for his or her medical records, the hospital, doctor, or the provider needs to oblige within 30 days of such request. Law allows extending the period by another 30 days in special circumstances. Providers may charge a nominal fee for processing and furnishing the records. This amount will be minimal in case of digital records as opposed to paper records.

HIPAA law demands individuals to sign an authorization that empowers providers to view health records that have been protected. This assists the records department of care providers to dispel confusions or doubts, if any, about missing records. It also allows them to request for additional records, when needed. HIPAA law clearly necessitates complete privacy and confidentiality of an individual’s personal health information.

HIPAA law restricts eligibility of claiming health records in the event of death of an individual. The process has been streamlined for making it easier to family members to access their deceased relative’s health records. The right of requesting for a decedent individual’s health records are with the spouse.In case the decedent is unmarried, the records may be accessed by a sibling or parent. The formal request needs to be made in writing and it must consist of an affidavit called Authorized Certification of Relative. The affidavit has to state the requesting person’s relation to the deceased. A copy of death certificate also needs to be attached.

Health records are meant for the well-being of individuals while strict rules must be followed in order to honor the privacy and confidentiality of the sensitive medical details. Complying with stipulated rules and laws need to be mandatory for the safe-keeping of patients’ personal health records.



Shedding Light on Medical Billing & Coding

What’s about this Medical Coding & Billing?

Driven by demand and fueled by growing dearth of professionals, the process of medical billing and coding is fast unfolding into one of the most sought-after operations in the medical industry. No wonder it attracts limelight and much following among medical support professionals. Medical coding and billing field promises to be one fruitful career option. Here, we have attempted to discuss about a few facts that will throw some light on the various pros and cons involved in the process.

Why choose this field of Coding?

There are a lot of opportunities that present themselves across the globe in this particular field. A real shortage of qualified medical coders is being felt across the world as of now. In the coming years, the demand is expected to rise by almost double- making the availability of expert coders to be around a mere 50% of the requirement.

Medical coding has been marked to contain great career advancement – with great number of progressive opportunities along with experience. When you are qualified with appropriate education, there are additional chances of growth as well.

Comparatively better salary and perks – possibility to make a decent living. Having a good entry point, medical coders may earn good amounts along with other employment benefits.

Role of Training & Certification

Medical standards require high standards to be maintained and various codes to be adhered to. Evolving legal compliances and claim procedures necessitate certification and industry-specific training. There are online certificate programs that better hone the caliber of coders and enable them to be industry-worthy. AHIMAA approval is one such requirement.

Building Credentials

As many employers seek people with proper certification, it is better to gain CCA and CPC credentials that will fetch better job prospects.  In fact, such certifications mostly enable job seekers to get started right away.

Industry-based Training

Most employers look for people with experience – a hands-on experience in any job activity is naturally welcome by employers, more particularly in the medical billing and coding segment.

Medical Billing and coding is especially good for those who seek a meaningful career in medical industry without having to directly get involved in patient care.