HIPAA and References

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This is really 3 questions, but the 1st has to do with HIPAA.

1. How long, after you're done working with a patient, would you have to wait before using the person as a professional or personal reference for a new job?  Many of our patients were friends or professional contacts and then became patients.  Now that the clinic is closed, they are no longer patients.  Does HIPAA still apply?

2. If the Doctor passes away does the spouse have to retain patient files, or can they be destroyed?

3. If the practice is sold, and the new doctor fails in business and closes, who has to retain the files?

1. I don't see how HIPAA would apply in this situation...it isn't like you are disclosing PHI about the former patient when using them as a reference.

2. Each state has laws on how long medical records must be kept. Research your state's laws. In my state, records must be kept for adults for 10 years, for minors until they reach age 21, and for 5 years after a patient dies.

3. The practice owns the records. If the doctor bought a practice, then went out of business, and he was the only doctor there, he retains the files.

I agree with Kristin
1.    I canít see how HIPAA applies in this context.
2.    It depends on the stateís laws, but personally, I think patient files should be handled in a way keeping their secrecy and privacy intact, whether the patient is alive or dead.
3.    Ideally, the last doctor should own those files.

Does HIPAA still apply?

Does HIPAA still apply to what?


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