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OBRA versus HIPAA: Who Has the Right to Demand Access to My Residents’ Medical Records?

“I represent your resident and I want a copy of her medical records.” If you work in a nursing facility or assisted living community and you’ve never heard these words, something’s seriously wrong with your ears. About once a week, I get a call from a provider asking for guidance on these types of requests, often from lawyers but not always.

You Can “Just Say No” To Weapons At Your Facility

There is NO constitutional right under the U.S. or North Carolina Constitutions for any person to possess a firearm or other weapon on the campus of your assisted living community or nursing facility. That means that you can develop, implement and enforce facility policies preventing residents from having guns or other weapons in the facility and in their rooms or living units.

Mind Your PHI – Even in the Trash

A Greensboro urgent care center recently agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a case filed by the N.C. attorney general after the center’s discarded patient records for more than 750 individuals were discovered in a Dumpster, complete with individuals’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, insurance account numbers and PHI.
HHS Set to Identify by Name All Private Practices Experiencing a Breach Affecting 500 or More Individuals
As you know, HIPAA-covered entities experiencing a security breach are obligated to notify affected individuals, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and, in some cases, the media. When a breach affects 500 or more individuals, the covered entity must report the incident to HHS within 60 days of discovery.

Postscript on ‘The Irresponsible Responsible Person’

Our article on “The Irresponsible Responsible Person” in the April 2010 issue of Shorts prompted a number of great responses and questions, along with a few new clients wanting revised admission agreements (Thanks!). The article, in short, pointed out that the term “responsible person” or “responsible party” is used frequently in SNF and assisted living admission agreements but is not defined anywhere in applicable state or federal law.

Ken’s Quote of the Month
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.”
Mark Twain

CPR Training with the Health Law Group
Would you trust this lawyer to save your life? On June 11, the entire PS Health Law Section received CPR training and certification from the Triangle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. We’re pretty sure we’re the only law firm Health Law Section in the country that can honestly say “We can save your license AND your life.”


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