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Legal Nurse and HIPPA

Legal Nurse Consulting Corner

HIPPA Privacy Rules In Simple Terms

medical malpractice book and stethoscope for legal nurseHIPPA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act, which was passed into United States law in the year 1996 under the mandate of President Bill Clinton, is intended to do several things at the same time. HIPPA is a very complex act that can seem inaccessible and difficult to understand to patients, entities and even some physicians. HIPPA privacy rules for health care are simply, when it comes down to it, a federal law used to protect patients from their information being used or released without their consent to other entities. This article discusses issues related to HIPPA as a review for practicing legal nurse consultants.

What Is Covered Under HIPPA

All your medical charts, your medical history, any conversation you might have with a medical professional, your billing information and any information on your insurance company’s computer systems are all protected by HIPPA from being shared to anyone unless it is necessary to do so.

When Is It Necessary?

When it comes to your care, if you are ever in an emergency, HIPPA allows for your medical history and information to be shared. Your information can be shared with your family or other caretakers, but you can stop this by putting a request in writing. Health professional are also allow it to be shared for billing, to protect the public’s health (if they think you might have an infectious or highly contagious disease, like the virus that causes SARS) or for the police to make reports on wounds. Doctors are not allowed by law to share any of this information with your employer and the information cannot be given to third parties that would use it for marketing or advertising.

Who Is Governed by HIPPA?

Not all health organizations that you are involved it will answer to HIPPA. Doctors, hospitals and insurance companies will, but if any other companies have your information like the place where you purchased life insurance, your employer, your school or even state agents, they do not have to abide by HIPPA.

What Are You Entitled To?

You can see your health records whenever you want, but you must submit a written request to get this done. You must say how you are going to use this information and who is going to see it. You may be charged for copies of your records.

What is a HIPPA form?

Health care providers need to inform patients how their information will be used and could possibly be shared. Health care providers must also ensure that the patient is always aware of his or her rights. This would usually be done in a HIPPA form. This is a document written in simple and straightforward language and it should ensure that the individual knows of his or her right to complain about any information being shared regarding medical records.

What Constitutes As A HIPPA Violation?

You might be accidentally violating HIPPA if you show your own medical records to a friend after having obtained them. Doctors and health insurance companies might be committing one if they are discussing your condition verbally or in a written form without your consent. A good indication of a HIPPA violation is if your medical records have been accessed too many times – this can happen due to curiosity and patients with very rare conditions are particularly vulnerable to this type of HIPPA violation.

Since its start, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) has been a rather controversial law. Although many patients like the protection it provides, it can be difficult for physicians to make the right judgment calls when they do not have all the information available to make a difficult decision. There can be a court summons of someone’s medical records, but this is a complicated and very long process that hinders how effectively doctors can do their job.

It has also affected some medical researches because they are no longer allowed to look at statistical data on medical charts to provide a historical sample of significance in their studies. This means that doing a historical study of a particular type of disorder or disease could be near impossible.

Additionally, HIPPA is very complicated and it can be quite difficult to follow. That is why many people in the health industry need to have extensive training when it comes to it. Many legal nurses are well versed in HIPPA and provide consultations to health care organizations regarding the many issues involved in the Act. They also provide staff education and training seminars related to HIPPA issues. To learn more about legal nurse consulting, access here.

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