New law keeps athletes records private

By Ashlee Lensmyer
November 20, 2003

Miami Herald/KRT

“Could you please tell me if Casey has gotten out of surgery yet?”

“I am sorry, but I can not release this information.” The previous scenario is something that is becoming more and more frequent ever since the passing of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA is, “a federal program that requires that all medical records and other individually identifiable health information used or disclosed by us in any form, whether electronically, on paper or orally, are kept properly confidential.” HIPAA was enforced in April of 2003, and now is aiming at actually giving patients an overall sense of more direct control of their health information and records.

Not only has HIPAA had an impact on the public when attending a doctor’s appointment, but it also has had a great effect on athletes who incur an injury. No longer can coaches call up the hospital and obtain this information on one of their player’s who is in the hospital with an injury. “In athletics, we cannot release student-athlete’s medical records or injury reports without their permission,” Athletic Director Leslie Danehy said.

Each college’s athletic department is dealing with HIPAA in different ways. Although Cabrini athletes do have to release their information to the team physician to assure that they are fit to play, that is as far as it goes. Danehy said, “Our department respects this new federal regulation.” If an athlete wants to talk to a reporter or anyone else who asks about their injury, that is their option, but hospitals or doctors are not allowed to release any information to the public.

The new changes to HIPAA are affecting the media, as well as sports fans too. Journalists who are covering the star athlete can no longer call up a hospital to find out news on the injury. Instead they have to find other ways around obtaining their information. This then does not allow the sports fans to find out the information on their favorite players.

Before HIPAA was defined, patients and athletes for that matter were not as sure of their rights, but now they are being spelled out all over the place, whether it is at the hospital, doctor’s office, pharmacy when picking up their prescriptions. Athletes are now given the option as to who hears about their injuries and what is said about them.

Posted to the web by: Cecelia Francisco

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Ashlee Lensmyer

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