The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates the adoption of standards for the exchange of electronic health information in an effort to encourage overall administrative simplification and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare industry. Ensuring the privacy and security of patient information is one of the key “accounting” factors driving the legislation. The other major factor, portability, refers to Congress’s intention to ensure that individuals may take their medical and insurance records with them when they change employers.
In December 2000, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued final regulations concerning the privacy of healthcare information. These regulations control the use and disclosure of protected health information, whether communicated electronically, on paper or verbally. All affected entities were required to comply with these regulations by April 14, 2003. The regulations also provide patients with significant new rights related to understanding and controlling how their health information is used or disclosed.
The Privacy Rule requires that the average healthcare plan or healthcare provider (1) notify patients about their privacy rights and how their information can be used; (2) adopt and implement privacy procedures; (3) train employees so that they understand the privacy procedures; (4) designate an individual responsible for ensuring that privacy procedures are adopted and followed; and (5) secure patient records containing individually identifiable health information.
Valir Health has established policies and standards that are compliant with HIPAA and protect the privacy and security of key information. If you would like a copy of our policies and standards, please contact:
866.894.8202 (confidential fax)