A recent letter writer, James F. Smith, wrote lamenting the medical costs his wife incurred during her recent stay at a local hospital. He stated in his letter that "miscellaneous expense was hidden behind federal law HIPAA, which prohibits disclosure of services rendered!"
I'm writing to let Mr. Smith know that, in regards to HIPAA guidelines, he is only partially correct. Yes, under HIPAA law, in general, the hospital is forbidden to disclose medical information to anyone not given authorized consent to receive it. However, as stated in the Patient's Bill of Rights, Mr. Smith's wife is entitled to "receive a copy of an understandable itemized bill and, if requested, to have the charges explained."
In addition, Mr. Smith can also have access to that same medical billing information and have it explained to him with his wife's signed authorized consent.
If he, or anyone else, would like to read more about Patient's Bill of Rights, he can search online under the title "Summary of The Florida Patient's Bill of Rights." Also, the local hospitals carry a copy of this document and can provide it to their patients upon request.
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