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The Minnesota Health Records Act

Most people are familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, most people are not familiar with the Minnesota Health Records Act (“Act.”). If your business is subject to HIPAA, most likely your business is also subject to the Act. However, if your business is not subject to HIPAA that does not automatically mean that your business is not subject to the Act. The analysis of both laws has to be separately completed. It is important that you understand your obligations under both HIPAA and the Act if it applies to your business.

Under the Act, you must provide written notice to each patient about your business’s practices and patients’ rights with respect to access to health records. The notice must include an explanation of disclosures of health records that may be made without the written consent of the patient, including the type of records and to whom the records may be disclosed and the right of the patient to have access to and obtain copies of the patient’s health records and other information about the patient that is maintained.

Under the Act, you cannot be charged if you request a copy of your health record to review your current case. In addition, while you can charge a $10 retrieval fee (unless the person is receiving public assistance, is represented by an attorney on behalf of a civil legal services program or a volunteer attorney program based on indigency), you cannot charge a per page fee to provide copies for purposes of appealing a denial of Social Security disability income or Social Security disability benefits under title II or title XVI of the Social Security Act. For other requests, you can charge for copies. However, there are limits placed on the maximum charge. You will need to make certain that you are not charging more than what is allowed under the law. Furthermore, if you are charging for copies, make certain you are collecting and remitting sales tax to Minnesota Revenue as required.

Under the Act, health records can be withheld under certain circumstances. For certain types of providers health care records can be withheld if the provider reasonably determines that the information is detrimental to the physical or mental health of the patient or is likely to cause the patient to inflict self-harm or to harm another. For other types of providers, health care records can be withheld, if prior to a request, the provider has designated and described a specific basis for withholding the records. Also, under the act, if your business conducts Independent Medical Exams (IME), the Act specifically covers an IME.

Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP assists business owners with most legal issues relating to their business, such as formation, governance, compliance and maintaining a corporate veil.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.