Credit Card Chargebacks and HIPAA

This week we discuss how a provider can compliantly contest a credit card chargeback following a patient dispute of the charge. Watch the video to learn more!

Referenced Link:

Federal Register (page 53219)



I got a call from a member today who was asking about a problem they had where a patient declined or disputed a credit card charge for legitimate services provided in their practice, and they wanted to know what they could do in order to push back or to dispute the chargeback with the merchant processor. So, I wanted to make sure that everybody was really clear on this. First of all, the concern is typically HIPAA and what information can be released, it’s important to know that the exceptions that are very clear inside of HIPAA indicate that you can release information for treatment for payment, and for healthcare operations. So payment being that key element, right? In this particular case, we are talking about payment.

In fact, if you want, you can actually go back and look at the Federal Register, so the rules that really defined the clarity of within HIPAA, the Federal Register for August 2002, you can go to page 53,219. That’s 53219. And you can see right at the top of the page, where it says that they allow providers to disclose protected health information as necessary to obtain payment for health care, and does not limit to whom such disclosure is made. So in this particular case, when you have a patient who has disputed that credit card charge on their bill, and you need to, if you will, dispute that chargeback you need to fight back. In those particular instances, you are able to provide the necessary information in order for the credit card processing company to go ahead and run the charges through or to reject their dispute. Now, this does lead to a very important thing that you need to consider in all of these cases, when you’re pursuing payment or even any other things related to treatment and healthcare operations, you can only release that information that is necessary. So the minimum information necessary for you to obtain the payment. So you need to limit it. Of course, you wouldn’t send everything all the notes and documents related to service dates on other days and things along those lines.

Instead, you send the minimum amount of information that allows you to demonstrate that the patient was in your office and receive the services, sign-in sheets, as long as you’re not disclosing other patients’ information that can be redacted. Or if you have individual sheets that are sign-in sheets or other forms that were signed by the patient that always helps, credit card signatures on slips, that helps as well clearly demonstrates, if you hand manually run that credit card also, that is another clear evidence that the patient was in the practice and that the charge was appropriate because the patient was there and those services were rendered. So the biggest thing is this yes, you’re able to pursue payment. Remember, you provide a good and valuable service. You deserve to be paid for it. In those cases, go ahead and dispute those chargebacks with your merchant processing company, ensure that you get paid for the service that you have provide them with the clear evidence that the patient was in your practice, and that is allowable under HIPAA. We hope this information helps you out and we’ll catch you next week.

About Author

Marc Abla, CAE

Marc Abla began working at the Illinois Chiropractic Society in 2002 and became the Executive Director in 2008. He brings his extensive financial, administrative and association experience to the ICS. He is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the Certified Leadership Series through the Illinois Society of Association Executives. Additionally, he is a member of the Illinois Society of Association Executives, the American Society of Association Executives, Association Forum, Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, and the American Chiropractic Association.

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