RealNews

Privacy, Please

Starting Monday, patients of Montgomery Internal Medicine Associates in Olney will no longer be able to call in to make an appointment for a spouse or obtain a relative’s test results without advance written consent. Any patient consulting one of the nine physicians at Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates in the District will be handed a copy of the practice’s new privacy policy, which informs patients that they have the right to inspect, copy and amend their medical records. And beginning next week, everyone admitted to Inova Health System’s five hospitals in Northern Virginia will be asked whether they want any information — including the fact that they are in the hospital — released to callers, including friends and family. These changes are part of a set of sweeping, complicated and long-anticipated federal medical privacy regulations thattake effect April 14. The rules will affect the way nearly all health care providers — doctors, dentists, psychologists, hospitals, pharmacies and health plans — do business. Full Story

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