Patient FAQs

How is the consent policy determined?

The state of Vermont determines what the policy is. VITL’s role is to implement the policy.

How can patients find out who has accessed their data?

Under the Vermont policy, patients do have the right to see an audit log of accesses to their health information. To make a request, please call the VITL office at 802-223-4100 or complete a Contact Us form.

When can a patient withdraw consent?

Patients can decide at any time to withdraw consent for their information to be viewed. They must document the decision in writing by signing a revocation form. Revocation forms are available at participating healthcare providers.

Is substance abuse treatment data included in the VHIE?

It depends on whether the provider is subject to a federal law regulating the handling of patient data for substance abuse treatment (42 CFR Part 2). If so, then substance abuse treatment information from that provider may be excluded from the VHIE until VITL is able to comply with all the technical requirements of the federal law. But not all providers who offer substance abuse treatment are subject to Part 2, so there may be some information about substance abuse treatment in the VHIE.

Is there a way for patients to control which individual providers see their data?

No, patients cannot decide which individual providers access their data. Once consent is granted, any provider who is treating the patient can access the patient’s data.

Does data go into the VHIE, regardless of whether a patient consents?

Yes. Because VITL holds data in the VHIE on behalf of participating health care providers, there is no patient consent required for data to be stored in the VHIE. Patient consent is only required for data stored in the VHIE to be viewed.

What happens to the physical consent form?

This will depend on the workflow that your organization decides to implement. In many cases, the consent form will be scanned into the patient’s EHR so that your organization has a record of the signed consent. The organization will then set a notification flag in the VITLAccess system to indicate your consent. The organization must keep records of your consent for audit purposes.

How often does the consent need to be signed?

Once signed, a consent is good until revoked. When a minor turns 18, they will need to sign a new consent form as a legal adult. 

What happens if the patient does not sign the consent? Do they need to sign a form to opt out?

According to Vermont policy, all patients are opted out by default. If a patient does not sign the consent form, he or she remains opted out and his or her information in the VHIE cannot be accessed except in emergency situations as defined by the policy.

Who may give consent to access the VHIE for a minor age 12 or older?

Generally, unless a minor is established as a legally emancipated minor, a parent or legal guardian must provide consent for a provider to access a minor’s health information on the VHIE. However, there are a number of situations when a minor may consent to treatment and therefore should be providing the consent to access his or her record which may include information related to that treatment.

These situations may include:

  1. Minors age 12 or older consenting to treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, drug dependence or alcoholism
  2. Minors age 14 or older seeking voluntary inpatient treatment for a mental health condition
  3. Minors of any age seeking treatment related to reproductive health or sexual abuse. 

Because information regarding treatments for which the minor has consented may be mixed with information regarding other treatment received by the minor, VITL suggests that providers obtain written consent from both the parent or legal guardian and a minor age 12 or older to access the minor’s protected health information on the VHIE.