Part 2: Basic Patient Rights (FAQ 34 of 65)
Right to Request Amendment
34. Can I Appeal if a Covered Entity Refuses to Make an Amendment?
Maybe. An institution must accept complaints about its health privacy policies and practices. Filing a complaint with an institution may not be the equivalent of filing an appeal of a denial of a request for amendment, but it may help if it forces someone new at the covered entity to review your request. However, some institutions may accept formal appeals. Consult the institution's notice of privacy practices to see if there is an appeal method for a denial of a request for amendment.
You can also complain to the Secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services about how your request was handled. The Department's Office of Civil Rights processes complaints. You can find information about the process at www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/index.html. Whether the Department will actually investigate your problem is uncertain.
You have another alternative. When a covered entity denies your request for amendment, it must tell you that you can request the covered entity to provide a copy of your request for amendment with any subsequent disclosure of the disputed information. In some instances, it may be important to make the request. Remember that the covered entity is not required to tell others about the dispute unless you ask.