New federal law give patients more protection

Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Earlier this year, WECT revealed a major medical mishap regarding some private medical records.  A local mental health facility accidentally leaked confidential patient records online.

Read WECT Investigates: Privacy on the line

Now there will be tougher rules against these types of breaches, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23.

A new federal law applies to all heath care providers covered by HIPAA.

If patient records are breached, they must notify both the government and their patients.

If more than 500 people are affected the media must be alerted.  Patients should know there is now more accountability over their confidential information.

"They don't know what their rights are they're read to them, but they still don't understand it," said Independent HIPAA Trainer Barry Harrill.  "I feel like now they can feel safer with the information they're sharing because now the companies are going to be held accountable and they'll be no excuses."

WECT's investigative report on the breached mental health records has now become a federal investigation.

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