If you work in childcare or health care, you’ve probably heard of HIPAA in the past. However, you may be unsure of what HIPAA is exactly. If you’re wondering, “What is the HIPAA Privacy Rule?” there are plenty of resources out there to help you uncover the ins and outs of HIPAA. Figure out the answer to, “What is HIPAA Privacy Rule?” so that you always know if you’re staying in line with these important regulations.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule was introduced in 1996 after it was passed by the United States Congress. It was originally implemented in order to protect unemployed people against being turned away from health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. The acronym HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The HIPAA Privacy Rule is also sometimes referred to as the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule was the first regulation in the United States that protected the private health information of patients. Before HIPAA, patients couldn’t be reassured that their personal information, medical records and family history wouldn’t be leaked to outsiders. HIPAA rules control how health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and healthcare providers use a patient’s personal information, particularly how they keep this information private. According to HIPAA, personal patient information cannot be disclosed for public benefit or even national interest.
Thanks to HIPAA privacy security, patients now have a lot of control over their personal business that they didn’t have in the past. According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, HIPAA allows patients to see their health records, request copies of their health documents and even to ask for corrections to be made to inaccurate documentation. These health privacy laws regulate the use of personal information on a national level. If data privacy isn’t followed in line with the Privacy Rule, the case will be thoroughly investigated and violators will be held accountable. Civil and even criminal penalties can be the outcome for the violator.
HIPAA IT and EHR software is also monitored by HIPAA laws. According to CMS, electronic health care transactions are regulated along with other medical information. There are specific operating rules for HIPAA transactions as well as electronic funds transfers, or EFTs. Claims attachments and RA, or electronic remittance advice, are monitored as well.
Sometimes, family members of the patient should be allowed access to certain medical information. If the patient wants to allow specific people to know their medical information, they only have to inform their healthcare provider in writing that these specific persons should be allowed access to this information. A request to share your medical information must be made in writing and signed by you. However, if an employer is paying partial health insurance costs, they will not be able to access your medical information. Since HIPAA rules can get tricky to understand, it’s always best to ask a professional who understands the many HIPAA regulations well.