The Right to Privacy
The right to privacy is a cornerstone of American democracy. It is so important that it is guaranteed by the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution in what is known as the Bill of Rights. The amendment contains provisions that limit the actions of both state and federal governments and to prevent unreasonable search of American citizens or seizure of their property without due process. The right to determine who can see your health information is important to both patients and healthcare providers because it forms the foundation of trust.
The patient should be able to trust that the health care professional will keep health information private, secure, and confidential. Healthcare professionals must trust that patient information is accurate and complete and has not been accidentally or intentionally modified, corrupted, or destroyed. Healthcare professionals must also have patient health information available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As such, that information is stored in secure electronic files so that healthcare providers will have access any time they need it.
Physicians and other providers have earned the trust of patients over many centuries by maintaining professional standards of care and ensuring that patient information is kept private and confidential. To do that, health professionals are required to follow strict standards of confidentiality. Beyond the standards of the profession, there are specific laws in both the United States and the world that were designed to protect patient information.
Laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), give patients the right to privacy and the right to control who sees their personal health information. These rights and laws pertaining to the privacy of patient health records are discussed in detail at the U.S. Health and Human Services website. Those rights include the following:
- The right to control who sees your health information
- The right to get a copy of your health information
- The right to verify your health information is correct
- The right to see the provider’s HIPPA notice
SETMA has taken steps to ensure that patient health information is accurate, private, and secure. The information must be available when needed and not accidentally or intentionally modified, corrupted or destroyed. Some of the benefits of your electronic medical record is that your information is readily available at any time and any place a SETMA employee who needs the information has electronic access. SETMA has made a large investment in both time and financial resources to assure your medical information is both secure and readily available when needed such as the outpatient clinic, hospital, lab, radiology department, or nursing home. (See below links to articles in The Examiner that detail this benefit)
Trust is at the foundation of healthcare. Both the patient and healthcare provider must trust the system that holds the information. Patients must also trust the healthcare provider to maintain their information privately and securely. Laws such as HIPAA protect your right to privacy, and SETMA pledges to you that it, too, protects your rights.
To get a copy of your medical records, to verify the information contact SETMA
To make corrections to or update your personal health information maintained by your primary care provider, including medications, treatments, and medical history, contact that provider’s office.
To learn who sees your health information at SETMA, Notice of Privacy Practices
Problems, Complaints, or Comments
If you have a question or problem that is not resolved within (10 business days), please contact the privacy officer below. Â
Southeast Texas Medical Associates
Attn: HIPAA Privacy Officer
2929 Calder, Suite 100
Beaumont, Texas 77702