If a collection agency has a copy of my medical history, is this a violation of HIPPA?

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If a collection agency has a copy of my medical history, is this a violation of HIPPA?

Collection agency sent me a copy of my actual medical bill, including meds I was given and tests that were run during my stay in the hospital. This seems to be a violation of my privacy. They did not need this information to make collection. Anyone at the collection agency could have read this personal information.

Asked on November 26, 2010 under Personal Injury, Louisiana

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Depending on when the collection agency obtained this information, yes it could be a violation of HIPAA.  You are absolutely correct that a third party collection agency who is seeking monies for medical services you have not paid for should not need nor have cause to have your medical details.  The only item that collection agency needs is the amount you owe and when it was incurred. You may wish to consult with an attorney who specializes in HIPAA because there may be federal and state statutory issues here that can help you recover certain costs possibly, even forgiveness of debt if you negotiate it properly. Every state has an option to make its laws stricter than the federal HIPAA legislation, so oftentimes it is not an issue of federal pre-emption as much as it is an issue of which law the court will indicate it will use.


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