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Policy

HHS Strengthens Patients' Right to Access Lab Test Reports

As part of an ongoing effort to empower patients as informed partners with their health care providers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken action to give patients direct access to their completed laboratory test reports. The final rule, which was announced this week, amends the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) regulations to allow laboratories to give a patient, or a person designated by the patient, access to the patient's completed test reports. "The right to access personal health information is a cornerstone of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule," said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Information like lab results can empower patients to track their health progress, make decisions with their health care professionals, and adhere to important treatment plans."

The final rule is available for review at: http://www.federalregister.gov

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