HIPPA and Protection of Health Information.

By: Taylor

Medical and other health information is private and should be protected. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPPA has laid down some privacy rules that gives customers rights over their health information and restricts receiving of this information by others through a set of rules. These Privacy Rules apply to all forms of protected health information of the customer whether it is electronic, written, or oral.

Who are Required to Follow These Laws

Entities bound to follow HIPAA regulations are called covered entities. They are

Health Plans

All health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans, and certain government programs paying for health care including Medicare and Medicaid are bound to follow HIPPA rules.

Most Health Care Providers

All service providers including doctors, clinics, hospitals, psychologists, chiropractors, nursing homes, pharmacies, and dentists using electronic billing must follow HIPPA rules.

Health Care Clearing houses

Entities such as Health Care Clearing House processing non-standard health information received from another entity into a standard electronic format or data content or vice versa are also required to follow HIPPA rules.

Business Associates of Covered Entities

Business Associates of Covered Entities are also required to follow parts of the HIPAA regulations. Contractors, subcontractors, and other outside persons and companies that are not employees of a covered entity needing access to health information of customers while providing services to the covered entity must also follow parts of HIPPA rules. Covered Entities must have contracts with their Business Associates that they use and disclose health information properly and safeguard it appropriately.

Who Do Not Need to Follow These Laws

Many organizations having health information about consumers have been excluded from requirement of following these rules of privacy and security. These organizations are

Life Insurers
Employers offering health insurance to its employees
Workers compensation carriers
State agencies such as child protective service agencies and other such agencies
Law enforcement agencies
Municipal offices

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