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HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was enacted in 1996. HIPAA helps to enable individuals who have pre-existing health conditions to purchase--or keep--health insurance. HIPAA provides protection for individuals who risk losing their health insurance due to a change of employment, divorce, death, pregnancy or other reason.

Right to Privacy

As a result of HIPAA, laws were enacted that would secure the privacy of an individual’s personal health information. Many organizations are affected by HIPAA and they must meet the requirements and fall within the standards of compliance. If a business deals in any form of health care information, they must meet the standards of HIPAA. This means that insurance companies, clinics, doctors, hospitals and even research groups must be very careful about how they record transactions.

A Few Provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

  • An individual has the right to access his or her records and to make a request for a change in the records if the information listed is incorrect.
  • Under law, all individuals must be told how their personal information will be used.
  • Unless the individual gives personal permission, his or her information will never be used for marketing purposes.
  • Individuals can request how he or she wants to communicate with anyone who maintains his or her personal health information. This could be via work telephone, home telephone, mail or cell phone, or other means of communication.
  • Individuals have the right to file a complaint to The Department of Health and Human Services if he or she feels a healthcare provider or other business is not acting in compliance with HIPAA.
  • Entities which fall under HIPAA have the right to use your personal information without your consent for treatment purposes and as a means of obtaining payments.
  • Entities much have documentation which shows their privacy procedures.
  • Entities must have an employee who is trained in HIPAA.

HIPAA Courses

There are many courses available to educate health entities on how they can stay within HIPAA compliance as related to physical, technical and administrative policies. There are also courses available which can certify professionals who wish to become Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act administrators.

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