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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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Can my college ask for specific medical notes to allow withdrawal

Customer Question

Can my college ask for specific medical notes to allow withdrawal from a class. My doctor has already written a generic letter to them without releasing specific information. Because I have worked in the medical field for almost 10 years, I feel this violates HIPAA laws. Do colleges have exemptions to these laws?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer!

HIPAA restrictions apply to medical care providers. HIPAA restrictions do not apply to employers or colleges. Yes, the college can request additional information.

Good luck and best wishes! I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Are there any laws or regulation that protect students from releasing personal medical information to colleges. (I am requesting a late withdrawal from course due to miscarriage. My school will not accept generic letter from doctor that states it is in my best interest to do so. They are requesting specific notes from doctor visits which I do not feel comfortable releasing to them due to the nature of the issue. If I don't give the school this information, I will receive an F in the course.)
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 4 years ago.
As the Department of Health and Humans Services explains:

Who Is Not Required to Follow These Laws

Many organizations that have health information about you do not have to follow these laws.

Examples of organizations that do not have to follow the Privacy and Security Rules include:

  • life insurers,
  • employers,
  • workers compensation carriers,
  • many schools and school districts,
  • many state agencies like child protective service agencies,
  • many law enforcement agencies,
  • many municipal offices.
Hope this helps to clarify things.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 4 years ago.
What additional information are you seeking?

The privacy protections of HIPAA do not apply in your situation. Yes, you can choose to give the school the information or not. If you choose to not to give it, you have no legal leverage to fight against them failing you in the course. HIPAA provides no cover.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/consumers/index.html
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
There must be some type of regulation in place to protect students. I am a military veteran currently using my GI bill and feel the school is doing anything they can to disregard my situation.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 4 years ago.
I understand your frustration and I understand the outcome that you want.

However, current law does not prohibit the school from seeking that information from you.

Now you can choose whether or not you want to release that information to them. If you choose to not release that information, you have to be prepared to accept the fact that they will fail you on that class.

I am sorry that I cannot give you the answer that you want. However, I trust that you understand that I am not responsible for the current state of the law and will not hold that against me.

I do hope that you find this information to be helpful in giving you a better understanding of where you stand and why.

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