How do I file a complaint if my health information has been violated?

If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you should contact the privacy officer of the provider or hospital where you believe the violation occurred to try to resolve your concern. If you are unable to resolve your concern locally, you can file a formal complaint regarding the organization’s privacy practices directly to the organization, health plan, or to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is charged with investigating complaints and enforcing the privacy regulation.

Complaints to the OCR must be filed in writing, either on paper or electronically; name the provider that violated your rights according to the privacy rule and what occurred. Complaints must be filed within 180 days of when you knew the act or omission occurred. Violations must have occurred on or after April 14, 2003, for the OCR to have any authority to investigate. For additional information on filing a complaint, visit the OCR website.

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If you believe your health information has been used or shared in a way that is not allowed under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, or if you were not able to exercise your rights, you can file a complaint with your provider or health insurer. The notice of privacy practices you receive from them will tell you how to file a complaint. You can also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights or your state's Attorney General Office.

If you believe that an online company that is not covered by HIPAA, such as a message board, has shared your health information in a way that conflicts with the privacy policy on their website without notifying you, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.