New Patient Rights Rules in Idaho

Dear IdHIMA member,

New patient rights rules have recently come into effect in Idaho that may have a significant impact on your organization. 

Below is a statement from our Legal-Legislative Director:
New Patient Rights Rules in Idaho

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has issued new patient rights rules, in effect as of July 1, 2019.  Among them is a change to the length of time required to provide a patient access to their clinical record. 

The Patient Access to Records rule (IDAPA and .14 – Rules and Minimum Standards for Hospitals in Idaho) requires access to the clinical record be given within three (3) business days.  This is substantially less than is authorized under the HIPAA Privacy Rule (45 C.F.R. § 164.524(b)(2)), which allows for up to 30 days.  HIPAA provides a “floor” below which organizations cannot go, but allows for rules that provide higher levels of restriction to healthcare covered entities, or that provide patients with greater rights.  This is an example of the patient receiving greater rights. 

The Idaho rule specifies that the patient may request clinical records either as a paper copy or in an electronic format.  Further, when requested electronically, the hospital must provide it on a currently popular media storage device and in a coherent format. 

Finally, the hospital may not charge the patient a rate for copies that is higher than that of the local library.  This requirement should be contrasted with the HIPAA that the hospital not charge the patient more than a reasonable fee based on its actual labor costs in creating and delivering the records, the cost of supplies for creating the paper copy or electronic media, and postage. Hospitals will need to ensure that the lower of the two rates is the maximum charged.

Idaho hospitals should immediately review their policies and procedures to determine what effect this rule has on current operations, and begin revamping existing practices to ensure the patients’ right of access can be met. 

For those who wish to read all of the changes, here is a direct link to the administrative rules – Click here

Wes Morris,
IdHIMA Legal-Legislative (Advocacy) Director