Q&A: Copying records from other providers

December 19, 2008

My understanding of HIPAA is that we should not recopy records obtained from other providers. Can you clarify this?

Q: My understanding of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is that we should not recopy records obtained from other providers. I believe that third parties requesting the records should get them directly from the original source. Can you clarify this?

A: If a physician obtained the records from another provider as part of the treatment of a patient, they become part of the totality of the medical record. This is no different than taking the lab or X-ray report from another entity and putting it into the chart. Once it is part of the physician's record, he may disclose any aspect of it as part of payment, treatment, and authorization without patient consent. This is federal law; some state laws are more restrictive.