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What is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is a federal law that must be properly followed by every hospital, medical clinic or dental office which keeps and circulates confidential information about their patients. The purpose behind this act is to keep patient records protected and secure while they are in storage. HIPAA also requires the proper destruction of patient files once they no longer require in-house storing.

HIPAA provides security and privacy of personal health information, including but not limited to health insurance plans, electronic healthcare transactions, and personal identifiers.

Who is subject to HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA is a federal law and therefore applies to every hospital, medical clinic or dental office that circulates and/or stores private patient records. All health care providers and institutions, as well as any business associates, must establish and follow strict processes that guarantee the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This refers to all variations of PHI, such as documents, oral conversations, and electronic data. Furthermore, it’s important that only health information that’s completely vital to perform business processes is used or shared.

What are my Rights Under HIPAA?

As a patient, you have the right to assume that your medical and other health information is kept private, and you should also be informed as to who has access to this data. The Privacy Rule, which is also a Federal law, supplies you with particular rights over your health information and creates rules and restrictions on exactly who can see and receive your private health information.

The Privacy Rule states that HIPAA covered entities provide individuals with access to their protected health information (PHI) in one or more “designated record sets” that is currently in the hands of a healthcare provider if requested. This means you have the ability to review or take a copy of the specific file or have a copy of the PHI transmitted to a person of choice. As a patient, you have permission to access your PHI for the length in which it’s maintained at your health care institution. Individuals have a right to access this PHI for as long as the information is maintained by a covered entity. This remains true regardless of the date the information was collected or created, and whether or not the data is in paper or electronic format. This is a given right; the only drawback of this law is that healthcare entities are welcome to charge for this service if they would like to.

Who does HIPAA Protect?

HIPAA creates a national standard and is in place to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information from unauthorized exposure.

Why is HIPAA Important?

HIPAA allows you to instruct who may represent you on your behalf if there is ever an emergency or accident that withholds you from communicating yourself. This is vital for your protection and can be one individual or you may also request several people to speak for you in these circumstances. HIPAA was generated to protect patient privacy. All healthcare institutions must have a compliance department so that if you are ever concerned about a specific compliance problem or breach of data, be sure to get in touch with this department to resolve the issue promptly.

Where can I find more information about HIPAA?

To learn more, visit this link: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-individuals/guidance-materials-for-consumers

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