Virginia Strengthens Patient Privacy

A pair of amendments to the Virginia Code on Health Records Privacy have been signed by the Virginia Governor. Effective July 1, 2022, the amendments require health care providers to make the health records of minor patients available to them and their parent or guardian through a secure website. It also clarifies the rules around patient authorizations for the disclosure of their health records. 

H916

The first amendment addresses the records of minor patients. Health care providers must make the health records of minor patients available to the patient and their parent or guardian through a secure website. The only exception to this is if the provider cannot make them available in a manner that prevents disclosure to unauthorized parties. 

H1359

When an authorization to disclose health records has been made it will be deemed to include authorization to assist the patient in accessing health care services, such as scheduling and attending appointments, unless otherwise expressly limited in the authorization. The authorization will remain in effect until whichever of the following happens first:

  • The authorization is revoked in writing and delivered to the relevant health care entity by the person who executed it
  • Any expiration date set forth in the authorization
  • The health care entity maintaining the record becomes aware of any expiration event described in the authorization. 

Any revocation of an authorization shall not apply to any disclosure made prior to the revocation. Upon receipt of a written revocation of authorization, a copy of the revocation shall be included in the person’s original health record. 

A statement in an authorization that the information to be used or disclosed is “all health records” is a sufficient description for the disclosure of all health records by the health care provider. Anyone named in the authorization must have health care records made available to them to the same extent as the patient, if requested. 

Health care providers must allow a spouse, parent, adult child, adult sibling, or other person to make an appointment for medical services on behalf of a patient. This is regardless of whether the patient has said to disclose health records to that person. No protected health information shall be disclosed unless the patient has authorized the disclosure, or it has been authorized by federal or state law or regulations. 

Find out more about healthcare and privacy.

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