What Is Protected Health Information?

litigation lawyer in Florida

PHI in healthcare stands for protected health information, but it is a term that is both vague and general. As a result, it can cause understandable confusion for both patients and healthcare providers.

It is a term that is generally connected to conversations about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a piece of legislation designed to protect the private healthcare and medical information of patients.

What Is PHI in Healthcare?

When it comes to the protected healthcare information protected by HIPAA, the following areas are covered:

  • Demographic information
  • Medical history
  • Results of medical testing
  • Health insurance information
  • Any identifying information that connects a patient to a healthcare service or healthcare coverage provider

Essentially, any information that connects a person to a medical issue through testing, treatment, doctors’ notes, or other areas must be protected.

This not only means that sharing that information with other sources is off limits without the consent of the patient, but also that great care must be taken when transmitting medical records lawfully over email or other means, so they are not lost, hacked, or inadvertently fall into hands that were not the intended recipients of that information.

It also means ensuring that the patient always has the ability to access these same records and the option to request revisions as appropriate.

How to Protect Healthcare Information Under HIPAA

Healthcare providers, health insurance providers, their business associates, and those responsible for the transportation of PHI are all accountable for the protection of this information.

In order to do this lawfully, it is necessary to do the following:

  • Get authorization to disclose protected health information from the patient, usually in the form of a consent contract or waiver.
  • Get permission from the patient to access privilege to protected health information that was generated in other offices, facilities, or organizations.
  • Avoid the destruction of protected health information that may stop the patient from having full and complete access to their medical records and healthcare information.
  • Gain authorization to use and disclose protected health information to anyone but the patient, including concerned family members. Even admitting that a patient is receiving treatment and has records to access at a medical facility is not allowed unless the individual person has been approved by the patient.

It is important to note a few things in regard to the protection of personal medical information.

All authorizations to share information needs to be in writing and kept on file. If the patient decides to revoke authorization at any point, they will need to update the information, even if it is a court decision, such as in the case of divorce or loss of legal child custody.

It may also be of interest to note that HIPAA laws no longer protect an individual once it has been 50 years since their death.

If you need assistance managing a HIPAA claim made against you or pending litigation, contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm for assistance today.

Florida Supreme Court Ruling Means Asset Protection is a Must

Physician Asset Protection Medical Malpractice Cap

By: Jeff Cohen

As expected for some time, Florida’s limits on non-economic damages has been ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court.  This event will likely drive medical malpractice premiums up and have healthcare providers reexamining (a) whether it makes more sense to “go bare” (without liability coverage), and also (b) their corporate structure to minimize exposure to professional liability claims. Continue reading

Asset Protection: Building Limits is the Best Defense

By: Susan St. John

Should you consider asset protection planning as part of your estate planning? The short answer to this question is yes if you have significant assets, will inherit sizable assets, or work in a profession that is routinely sued pursuant to medical malpractice complaints. In particular, healthcare professionals should go the extra mile when it comes to asset protection in light of the McCall and Kalitan cases out of the Florida Supreme Court and Fourth District Court of Appeals, respectively, invalidating the limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. So how can asset protection be accomplished?

Protecting your assets and preserving wealth can be accomplished through a variety of planning techniques. These techniques are used to protect assets from being wasted or levied against in a medical malpractice suit. Asset protection planning is part of estate planning, which should be reviewed whenever an individual has a significant change in life circumstances, becomes aware he or she will inherit a sizable investment or asset, or enters a profession that is considered to carry considerable risk.

The intent of asset protection is to protect assets from waste or exposure to potential creditors, without concealment or tax evasion. Asset protection can preserve wealth for use later in life or to be passed on to descendants, that is, children or grandchildren, or perhaps other family members.

Asset protection can be maximized through various vehicles such as:Continue reading

The Florida Healthcare Law Firm Goes National

Followers & Friends – BIG Announcement coming out today! If you haven’t seen our new NATIONAL platform, check it out here at www.nationalhealthcarelawfirm.com and stay tuned for our #healthcare #legal news at 2pm EST !!!

The Florida Healthcare Law Firm Announces National Expansion

(Delray Beach, FL) June 21st, 2012 – The Florida Healthcare Law Firm, one of Florida’s leading healthcare law firms, today announced a major increase in their legal practice capabilities with the official launch of the National Healthcare Law Firm, a d/b/a and new portal of the firm. The expansion to a national platform providing healthcare legal services to physicians and healthcare businesses is one that significantly increases resources for clients who lack qualified local healthcare counsel. While the Florida Healthcare Law Firm has for years assisted clients outside the state of Florida*, this new development further cements the firm’s commitment to providing ethical legal counsel in the healthcare industry.

“We are very excited about it. The fact that we serve clients all over the country has been a small secret for a while but we realized there’s a huge demand and decided to just go for it,” said Jeffrey L. Cohen, Esq. Founder and President of Florida Healthcare Law Firm.

According to Cohen, “It’s just a strange area of the law.  Nearly everything in healthcare business is regulated; leases, employment agreements, compensation.  Things you wouldn’t think are regulated are strongly regulated.  And there are large fines and criminal penalties for getting it wrong!  Our clients understand that healthcare business of any kind has serious legal risks and that they need uniquely qualified help.”

To request a service list or for any other firm information, call Autumn Piccolo at 888-455-7702 or visit the firm’s website at www.nationalhealthcarelawfirm.com or www.floridahealthcarelawfirm.com

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Acknowledged throughout the country for its service and excellence, Florida Healthcare Law Firm is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare legal services. Founded by Jeffrey L. Cohen, Esq and headquartered in South Florida, FHLF provides legal services to physicians and healthcare businesses with the right pricing responsiveness and ethics. From healthcare clinic regulation, home health agency representation and physician contracting to medical practice formation/representation and federal and state compliance matters, the Florida Healthcare Law Firm is committed to bringing knowledge and experience to a diverse group of clients.