HIPAA! What is HIPAA?
HIPAA stands for “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” Bill Clinton signed the bill into law on August 21, 1996. It is said to be the most significant act of Federal legislation to affect the health care industry since Medicare and Medicaid were rolled out in 1965. All Healthcare Facilities are required to Comply with HIPAA and officially became effective on July 1, 1997.
Why Are Healthcare Facilities Required to Comply with HIPAA?
The HIPAA law is a combination of regulations aimed at reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the health care industry. It is intended to simplify the industry as a whole. HIPAA ensures continued insurance coverage for American workers and their families as they change jobs. It also enacts strict security standards for the protection of personal health information. Besides offering federally mandated protection for personal information, the law is expected to significantly lower the number of fraudulent practices in the health industry as well as to improve data storage systems.
The HIPAA law also addresses the exchange of health information between health care providers, pharmacies, health insurance companies, employers, and patients. With the advent of technology and ease of information transfer, it’s really easy to breach a patient’s privacy—whether intentionally or otherwise. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHA) is empowered by HIPAA to create strict standard policies for the storage, maintenance, and transfer of private information. This includes a standard and specific coding system to identify medical and administrative expenses. The HHA also provides regulations for obtaining health information and requires the protection of privacy in regard to health and other personal information.