Lately many have received information in the mail or directly from doctors, pharmacists, or other treating providers concerning our right to privacy regarding Health Care. The following is a brief summary to help you to understand why this is taking place now and how this can directly effect you and anyone who may access services from the medical profession. The following information is not meant to serve as legal advice but rather to introduce and provide some general information that may facilitate your understanding of federal regulations that are completely available on the internet.
There are some acronyms and definitions that you will need to know:
|HIPAA:||Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act|
|PHI:||Protected Health Information|
|TPO:||Treatment, Payment, Operations
|PO:||Privacy Officer (Every practice must name a person who is responsible to oversee and implement the HIPAA regulations.)|
|COVERED ENTITY:||(Please note that NOT all providers are “Covered Entities.” )Covered entities are those providers whose practices, policies and procedures meet certain criteria that would subject them to follow the laws presented in the HIPAA regulations regarding privacy practices, etc. (e.g. all practices that do electronic billing must be HIPAA compliant)|
|NPP:||Notices of Privacy Practices (Each practice that is subject to HIPAA regulations must give their consumers a detailed notice (NPP) which describes how medical information about you may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information.|
HIPPA became a federal regulation in 1996. It began when healthcare providers began doing electronic billing to the insurance companies through the internet. A concern grew that consumers’ information could be accessed if the provider and the insurance companies did not take proper measures to secure the information. Thus, to protect the consumers’ privacy, a whole set of regulations have been evolving since that time.
The following is a sample of a section of one provider’s policy (NPP) notifying consumers of their rights.
|YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR PHI:
You have the following rights regarding PHI we maintain about you. To exercise any of these rights, please submit your request in writing to our Privacy Officer (___________)
If you believe we have violated your privacy rights, you have the right to file a complaint in writing with our Privacy Officer at [Inserted Name and Contact Information] or with the Secretary of Health and Human Services at 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201 or by calling (202) 619-0257. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint .
If you have any questions, you could access more information at the following web sites: