Sunday, July 20, 2008

Buying and Selling of Your Medical Charts: Is this legal?

This post is a bit off topic but thought it deserved some space on my blog.

Recently I was reading a message board and a discussion came up relating to 'buying charts'.

It was about a young dental practice wanting to know how much they should pay per chart if they purchased them from a retiring dentist. (which means there was an offer from the retiring dentist to sell them in the first place right?)

Now something about that just bothers me. I thought my medical charts (dental or otherwise) were somehow a bit more protected than that. The idea that they can be bought and sold really burns my butt not to mention all the HIPPA issues I see that could arise.

Imagine your dentist retiring, soon you get another dentist peddling his services via your mail box or home phone from the info he just bought from your retired dentist.

During this conversation another professional came back and said that you can't really buy charts but you can take over custodianship of them. He advised not paying a dime for them but to offer the retired dentist to take over the charts saving the retiring dentist from having to store, make copies to send to his old patients, sorting them all out etc.

Does the fact that your private medical information, of any kind, can and is bought, sold or traded? Of course I don't guess this is much different than if a professional sold his practice is it? In selling that practice wouldn't the buyer get your charts?

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