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Even after years of training programs, clarifications, and guidance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) continues to confuse healthcare professionals. A top 3 list presented in Physicians Practice outlines some cautions and misunderstandings about this comprehensive patient-protection law. Much of the list centers on proper protocol for workers in healthcare settings who might have access to the medical records of their fellow employees—in other words, “snooping behavior.” 

You can’t escape the work note: HIPAA even has its own take on the ubiquitous work notes that employers might request for workers’ compensation, sick leave, wellness programs, and the like. HIPAA rules say a provider can offer a work note to a patient for the employer to see but cannot directly give an employer information about a patient/employee without the patient’s authorization.

HIPAA Reminder About Snooping