A recent article in the New York Times brought attention, not to mention grab ours, regarding new guidelines that remove barriers for patients wishing to access their own medical records. The article goes on to quote patients who have encountered resistance from hospitals with releasing their records.

Could this result in HIPAA violations and the need for patients to retain a HIPAA attorney to protect their rights? In this instance, our view is that doctors and staff are overworked and give low priority to requests from patients for copies of medical records.

Still, it's a tricky slope. Despite better access by patients, the new guidelines issued by the Obama administration do not translate into stricter privacy protocols. There is still a very real risk that patient medical rights are released to third parties without the patient's authorization. This constitutes a HIPAA violation and anyone in this position should seek out a HIPAA lawyer.

Consider another article regarding HIPAA violations occurring in Minnesota's VA facilities. One veteran requested his medical records only to find out they were sent to the wrong address. This is not unusual. From 2011 to 2015, the rate of a HIPAA violation occurring has more than doubled in Minnesota.

This type of lax privacy protocol is rampant throughout the country. Fortunately, patients do have a road to recovery when their privacy is violated. State law allows for a cause of action when the health care provider breaches its duty of confidentiality. If a HIPAA violation occurs to you or a loved one, consult with a HIPAA attorney who has experience protecting patient rights and a record of court approved recoveries.