AHIMA Releases Simple, Compliant Patient Request for Health Information Form

Michelle Urban

AHIMA’s new Patient Request for Health Information Model Form is intended to provide a plain language tool that provides patients a standardized mechanism to access their health information from a provider or organization. It is exclusively for access to the patient’s health information by the patient or their designated representative, and is meant to streamline the request to assist providers in complying with the 30-day timeframe for patient access addressed by OCR guidance.

ROI representatives at HIPAA-covered entities (CEs) like hospitals struggle in determining how and when to release records and/or assess fees for record requests when it’s unclear from the form submitted who is requesting the records. In particular, CEs face challenges when requests are forwarded by third parties.

To better understand what to do, it’s important to understand the difference between a request from a patient, a patient’s personal representative, and a third party—such as an attorney or another healthcare provider. For HIPAA’s purposes, a personal representative is someone who, “can stand in the place of the patient” and has healthcare decision making authority. The other challenge for covered entities is how to assess fees for records requests.

With HIPAA and HITECH laws continuing to become more complicated to comply with, the time has come to evaluate the Release of Information Process. With the rising costs of employing credentialed staff and the absorption of the costs for running an in-house program such as labor to answer phones, process requests, staff for walk-in requests, paper supplies, postage, etc., evaluating the cost savings and risk mitigation an ROI vendor can provide is critical to today’s healthcare environment.

By using an ROI vendor an organization can reduce or redeploy staff for an immediate cost savings in personnel. A good vendor would provide skilled, experienced and insured professionals along with highly digital processes to provide the timely and compliant release of information workflows demanded in today’s healthcare industry. Use this as a guideline when deciding on a partner to trust with your organization’s release of information requests.

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