PRC launches medical privacy microsite for California residents

From PRC, a new resource for California residents:

Many people consider their health information to be highly sensitive, deserving the strongest protection under the law. Medical records often contain not only personal health-related information – considered by most to be strictly confidential — but also Social Security numbers and dates of birth — the keys to identity theft.

Over the years, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has heard from thousands of individuals who feel their medical privacy rights have been violated. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about medical privacy laws and regulations. Most individuals think they have far more legal protection than they actually have.

What are your rights to medical privacy? As it turns out, that is not a simple question to answer. Chances are, you’ve heard of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law that sets a national baseline standard for the privacy of individually identifiable health information.

But HIPAA only applies to health care providers that conduct certain transactions electronically, health plans, and health care clearinghouses. A great deal of personal medical information exists that is not maintained by HIPAA “covered entities.” An example would be personal medical information provided voluntarily when one participates in an online chat forum for individuals with a specific ailment.

Fortunately for individuals who live in California, state law provides additional medical privacy protections. Today, the PRC has launched a microsite dedicated solely to medical privacy in California. It is available at

The Fact Sheets posted on the microsite are:

Over time, we will expand the site to include additional Fact Sheets.

For information about health privacy issues not specifically related to California, read these guides on our website:

Do you have a medical privacy question that our Fact Sheets don’t address? Use our Online Complaint Center to get a personalized response from our staff.

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