What is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)?
Is your health information protected? Do you have questions about the forms you sign in the doctors office? Learn more about what HIPPA is and how you are protected.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law requiring the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. The HIPAA Privacy Rule was issued to implement the requirements of HIPAA. The HIPAA Security Rule protects a subset of information covered by the Privacy Rule which is related to electronic health information.
The Privacy Rule contains standards for each person’s right to understand and control how their health information is used. The goal is to insure a person’s health information is protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality care and to protect the health and well-being of the public.
Individuals and organizations (known as “covered entities'') are required to be compliant with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. These include healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates.
There are circumstances when “covered entities” are allowed, but not required to disclose protected health information without a person’s authorization for the following purposes or situations:
Disclosure to the person if the information is required for access or accounting of disclosures
Treatment, payments or healthcare operations
Opportunity to agree or object to the disclosure of personal health information
Incident to an otherwise permitted use and disclosure
Public interest and benefit activities.
There are 12 national priority purposes where protected health information (PHI) can be disclosed without the person’s authorization or permission. These are:
When required by law
Public health activities
Victims of abuse or neglect or domestic violence
Health oversight activities
Judicial and administrative proceedings
Functions concerning deceased persons such as identification
Cadaveric organ, eye, or tissue donation
Research, under certain conditions
To prevent or lessen a serious threat to health of safety
Essential government functions
The HIPAA Security Rule protects a subset of information covered by the Privacy Rule which is electronic protected health information. The Security Rule does not apply to PHI transmitted orally or in writing. All “Covered Entities” must do the following to be in compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule”
Ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all electronic PHI
Detect and safeguard against anticipated threats to the security of the information
Protect against anticipated impermissible uses or disclosures
Certify compliance by their workforce.
Any complaints about HIPAA should be reported to the HHS Office for Civil Rights.
Gentle Passage Doula Collective can help you better understand HIPPA and help you and your loved ones be prepared for health events. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or to book a meeting with us.
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Reference: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.CDC.gov
GENTLE PASSAGE DOULA COLLECTIVE
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