In the mid-90s, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed. HIPAA consists of two parts – the Privacy Rule, which deals with the use and disclosure of personally identifiable health information, and the Security Rule, which set national standards for protecting electronically-stored health information. Both rules apply broadly to healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and their business associates. In short, HIPAA covers anyone with access to personally identifiable healthcare information.
To abide by HIPAA Privacy Rule, you must ensure that access to personally identifiable healthcare information is limited. Information may be given to the individual who is the subject of the information and to those who are directly treating the individual, as well as for other limited purposes, and should be limited to only the information necessary.
To follow HIPAA Security Rule, you must undertake steps to ensure that all electronically-stored personally identifiable healthcare information is securely stored so that it is not disclosed to unauthorized parties. You should have a set of physical, technical and administrative safeguards. You must also undergo regular risk analysis which will help determine technical and non-technical vulnerabilities in your security system. To see if your current security practices are HIPAA compliant, you can utilize this risk assessment tool.
HIPAA Violations may lead to federal and state investigations and enforcement actions. Many also require self-reporting. If you think you have a HIPAA problem or if a complaint is filed involving you or your practice, consult an attorney. Their legal guidance can save you time and money, and they can assist in your defense and help rectify the violation.
Aiken Schenk has lawyers ready to assist you. Attorneys Joe Schenk and Heather Macre are skilled and have valuable knowledge of healthcare law. As members of the Arizona Association of Health Care Lawyers, Macre and Schenk have the expertise necessary to represent healthcare providers. When you need help, Aiken Schenk is here.