Health Insurance Portability 1 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Name University Class Professor Date Health Insurance Portability 2 The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established in 1996 to protect the rights of individuals when receiving services from health organizations. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ensures privacy and confidentiality of individual’s health information. Health information could be protected on paper, oral communication, or electronically.
If an individual’s privacy is violated in any way that individual has the option to file a complaint against the offending office. The Office for Civil Rights assists individuals with complaints by investigating them. If necessary the Office for Civil Rights will impose a fine for violating the Privacy Rule Provision. Criminal violations of this law are referred to the United States Department of Justice for investigation and action (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). The Privacy Rule imposes rules that healthcare workers must abide by to protect patient’s information. By doing this the Privacy Rule dictates how atient’s information could be handled in pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare industries. Patients have access to their medical records if copies are needed or if mistakes are found. There could be a monetary charge for copies but patients should receive copies within 30 days of the request. If a medical provider requires sharing of the patient’s information; this request must be approved by the patient in writing. This notice is usually provided by the healthcare organization to the patient upon their first visit. This notice allows the patient to appoint any person whom he or she wishes to have access to their medical files.
A patient could amend or omit information at any time. Patients would sign or initial this document generated by the organization which was Health Insurance Portability 3 formatted per HIPAA guidelines. If the document is amended in any way the patient must be presented with the updated document and given the opportunity to review and sign it. The Privacy Rule imposes limits on how the information is shared. To provide the highest quality of care; this rule does not permit any medical staff that is directly working from the patient to share information with another staff that is working directly with the patient.
This could include physicians, nurses, and other medical providers that treat the patient. If any other provider that is directly working with the patient requires the medical information the patient would need to sign a consent form. A form usually called “release of information” would be completed and would specify which information could be shared. By specifying which information could be shared is another way for the patient to protect their information. For example if a patient is applying for life insurance they could consent for the life insurance company to have access to their medical lab work.
The patients file could include more extensive history such as mental illness or surgical history, but this information would not be shared. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability law affects day-to-day operations in many ways. The Privacy Rule ensures that various healthcare providers have policies and procedures as to different ways to protect a patient’s information. Different agencies such as health insurance organizations, pharmacies, and physicians have procedures as to how to protect information.
These various healthcare workers have requirements that are flexible to permit different healthcare workers to implement them as necessary for their practice. Covered medical personnel could limit the use of information as required. In addition, healthcare organizations are Health Insurance Portability 4 required to take additional steps to maintain patient privacy and confidentiality. These steps include but are not limited to: written privacy procedures, employee training, and hiring a privacy officer (to oversee that a high level of care is provided).
If a consumer feels that his or her privacy has been violated they have the right to file a complaint. This complaint can me submitted directly to the offending provider or can be submitted via mail, or electronically to the Office for Civil Rights. The Office of Civil Rights provides adequate space for the consumer to explain why he or she feels her information has been used without proper consent. A consumer may also receive information on how a complaint may be filed The Office of Civil Rights provides this chart of penalties that could be assesses:
A large penalty may be assessed if found guilty up to $100. 00 per violation, up to $25,000 per year, for each requirement or prohibition violated. Criminal penalties apply for certain actions such as knowingly obtaining protected health information in violation of the law. Criminal penalties can range up to $50,000 and one year in prison for certain offenses; up to $100,000 and up to five years in prison if the offenses are committed under false pretenses; and up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in prison if the offenses are committed with the intent to sell, transfer or se protected health information for commercial advantage, personal gain or malicious harm. (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was designed to provide a consistent amount of protection in the exchange of data for a patient. When the regulations were implemented it became obvious that there was much to do. There were many holes in the system Health Insurance Portability 5 when it came time to protect patient medical information.
It was found that the security requirements would apply to all medical personnel. This legislation provided a system that protects everyone’s rights. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act also establish protection from discrimination based on the information in the records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act serves to protect patient’s right by setting a standard of practice for ensuring the privacy of client’s information. A client may select whom he wishes to have access to his personal information by signing a waiver of consent.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act also would conduct an investigation of any claims of violation and “holds violators accountable” (HHS. Gov, 2008). Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance impacts all departments that have interaction with a client’s personal information like medical staff, medical records, billing, etc. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability law is inconvenient at times but it is also necessary to protect our information from being used in a way that we do not wish.
Health Insurance Portability 6 References Department of Health and Human Services (2008) What does HIPAA privacy rule do? Retrieved September 26, 2008, from http://www. hhs. gov/ Manning, S. S. (2003). Ethical leadership in human services: A multi-dimensional approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. United States department of health and human services. (2008). United States department of health and human services. Retrieved September 25, 2008, from Department of Health and Human Services: http://www. hhs. gov/ocr/hipaa/