Thursday, July 7, 2011

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA~ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This act establishes privacy and security standards to protect a patient's health care information. HIPAA was passed by Congress in 1996. The act includes rules covering administrative simplification by making health care delivery more efficient. Portability of medical coverage for preexisting conditions was a key provision of the act as was defining the underwriting process for group medical coverage. Another key area was standardizing the electronic transmission of billing and claims information.

HIPAA privacy regulations require that access to patient information be limited to only those authorized and that only information necessary for a task be available to them. Personal health information must be protected and kept confidential. HIPAA provides for uniformity of rules and regulations on consumer control over health information, ensuring patients understand their privacy rights, ensuring patient's rights to access their medical records and request amendments in response to information they perceive as inaccurate. Failure to comply with HIPAA can result in civil and criminal penalties.

HIPAA now provides for universal access by a patient to review and copy his/her own medical record. So, the next time you go to your physician's office and your given several papers to fill out and sign, one of the papers is the HIPAA form. If your like the many, many people who have never fully read through the HIPAA form and only signed, now you know and have been fully informed.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN