The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) established industry standards for healthcare organizations and the suppliers who provide services to them. As a result, everybody working in the healthcare field, regardless of position, must be HIPAA compliant. But what does it mean to be HIPAA compliant? Everything you need to know about HIPAA compliance will be discussed in the following text.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
The HIPAA law was enacted to ensure that patients’ personal information is kept private. Administrative, physical, and technical safeguards must be in place to protect protected health information (PHI). Despite the fact that HIPAA standards require precautions, businesses must determine what is acceptable for them.
What protected health information (PHI) is subject to HIPAA compliance rules?
HHS refers to any “individually identifiable health information” as protected health information. Any information on a patient’s past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition; any health treatment supplied to the patient; any past, present, or future payment to the patient for health care provision; and identifying personal characteristics, including demographic information. So, HIPAA casts a wide net in limiting and restricting the use or disclosure of sensitive info.
Who should be mindful of HIPAA regulations?
First and foremost, when it comes to HIPAA, the usual suspects in the healthcare industry should be on high alert. Any individuals, organizations, or agencies identified as a “covered entity” are considered “usual suspects.” HIPAA requires covered entities, such as health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses, to protect the privacy and security of health information. More specifically:
- If they communicate information electronically about any transactions for which HHS has developed a standard, health care providers include doctors, clinics, psychologists, dentists, chiropractors, nursing homes, and pharmacies.
- Health plans include health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans, and government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, or military and veterans programs that pay for health care.
- Health care clearinghouses: Billing services, repricing firms, and community health management information systems are examples of public or commercial enterprises that process health information.