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⭒ CANHR Advocate Did You Know Articles

HIPAA and Medical Records 

HIPAA Is Usually Not a Valid Reason for a Nursing Home
to Deny Access to Medical Records.

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, went into effect on April 14, 2003. This federal law protects consumer privacy by regulating disclosure of medical records by healthcare providers.

While the law affects disclosure of records between healthcare providers, it does not and should not significantly affect patient access to their own records. In fact, the law specifically creates a right of access for patients and their personal representatives, including next of kin, guardians, conservators, and healthcare powers of attorney. A patient can also authorize disclosure to others through a HIPAA-compliant authorization form.

A nursing home can deny access based on HIPAA only if it believes such disclosure will cause substantial harm. Any such denial must be in writing and accompanied by a chance for third-party review.

For questions on HIPAA, call the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights toll-free at (866) 627-7748, or visit them online at

If you have complaints related to the denial of access to medical records based on HIPAA, please contact the CANHR office.