AHIMA's Advocacy and Policy Efforts

AHIMA has created a model Patient Request for Health Information form to help providers streamline the process when patients request their protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and comply with the timeframe and fees set out by the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) guidance of 2016.

HIPAA requires covered entities (health plans and most healthcare providers) to provide patients, upon request, access to their protected health information (PHI) maintained by or for the covered entity. Patients have the right to inspect or obtain a copy, or both, of the PHI, as well as to direct the covered entity to transmit a copy to a designated person or entity.

For those involved in release of information (ROI), a lack of consistency in the forms accompanying these requests can make it difficult to determine whether they should be approved or denied. This free form provides a standardized mechanism, written in plain language, that can be easily read and understood by patients and may be customized by providers and organizations to capture the data you need as well as organizational contact information.

The form’s reverse side explains how to use it and contains information and links to related HIPAA requirements and resources, including the OCR guidance.

Download the model form

Patient education and access to information are two significant focuses of AHIMA’s policy and advocacy work. To accurately tell a patient’s story, we need to start with the correct identification of the patient. But as electronic health records become more common, incorrect patient matching becomes a greater risk and a potential cause of costly or even dangerous mistakes. AHIMA believes a public-private collaboration on a national voluntary patient safety identifier is the solution to the problem of patient matching. Work on this issue is core to our work toward the betterment of patient safety and access to health information.

In March, AHIMA launched the MyHealthID campaign and a petition asking the White House to lift the federal budget ban that prohibits the US Department of Health and Human Services from participating in efforts to find a patient identification solution. Through media attention, in-person meetings with legislators, and new partners gained during the petition effort, AHIMA laid the groundwork for progress with Congress — a must for making this change.

You can learn more about patient matching in articles in the Journal of AHIMA and Perspectives in Health Information Management.