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Do You Know What to Do if Subpoenaed to Provide a Patient’s Medical Records?
Posted on: 12/2/2016
Special Advisory: The Cook County Circuit Court recently posted an alert indicating that failure to comply with requests for PHI under a qualified protective order could result in sanctions.

The day may come when you are subpoenaed to provide your patient’s medical records. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the summons for protected health information (PHI):

  1. All physicians and health care professionals must immediately comply with subpoenas for PHI accompanied by a qualified protective order (which means the data will be treated as confidential).
  2. If your standard procedure has been to first request a written release from the patient concerning a subpoena for PHI, ISMS advises that a written release from the patient is not necessary in this circumstance under federal HIPAA law.
  3. If you receive a subpoena labeled as a grand jury subpoena, you must comply – no protective order or authorization is required.

Subpoena grapic

Now might be a good time to review your practice and personal procedures for subpoenas. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers general guidelines.

If in doubt, contact your legal representative for recommendations on best practices that fit your situation.

What is a Qualified Protective Order?

A qualified protective order is a document that originates from a court, an administrative tribunal or between two parties that limits use or disclosure of PHI for any reason other than the use stated in the document.

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