Tom Clark's Blog

The Purpose of HIPAA

Since the foundation of [url=]HIPAA [/url]in 1996, the insurance body has made the protection of data in the Healthcare sector better. The initial purpose of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was to provide a solution to people who were "in-between jobs" and were facing health insurance coverage problems. People in such a situation could not access vital medical assistance due to a lack of insurance coverage. HIPAA was to solve the problem by creating a way for the unemployed to have medical insurance.
Another function of HIPPA, one that gives its legislative abilities in healthcare, is the universal implementation of regulations that protect data on the health care sector in the US. The body ensures protected healthcare information remains safe at all times. This prevents any person with ill intention from accessing the data that they can use for identity theft. Others may use the data for the fraudulent purpose which is why the authority body requires organizations to enhance the security of sensitive data. In case HIPAA finds any organization violating the rules, they will expect the organization to pay heavy fines. The penalties are supposed to motivate the institutions to follow the rules.
The insurance authority has many acts such as the Public Health Service Act, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act as well as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The body also has different rules that serve different purposes. Below are the rules and their purposes.
[b]Privacy rule of 2000[/b]
The main function of this rule is to restrict how healthcare providers and institutions use and reveal protected health information. The rule highlights the circumstances under which the information should be shared and when it is appropriate to share the information. It also shows who is allowed to share the information. If the wrong person accesses the information either accidentally or deliberately, the organization will have to pay penalties if it turns out that they didn't put in measures in place to protect that information.
The privacy rule also allows patients to have some control over their information by allowing them to choose who can access their medical information. They can also request access to their health data from any organization. In case a patient makes such a request, the organization will have to submit that data securely within 30 days.
[b]Security rule (2003)[/b]
The HIPAA security rule requires organizations to keep electronic health information secure through administrative, technical and physical measures. All entities must handle all the electronic private health information with availability, integrity, and confidentiality whether they create the data, transmit it, receive it or maintain it. They must also keep all activities traceable for auditing purposes by recording and controlling every access of the Private Health Information (PHI) carefully. Also, the entities must issue protection against all threats they can anticipate.
[b]Breach notification rule (2009)[/b]
Through the Breach notification rule, organizations learn about how to respond in case there is a breach of data. According to the rule, covered entities must inform those who are affected and the secretary about the breach. If it's of a high magnitude then the organization also has to inform the media. The rule also touches on business associates who have the responsibility of notifying covered entities about a breach that happens on their end even if they have caused it. The organizations should pass on the notification to those affected within 60 days and should avoid reasonable delays.
[b]Additional functions of HIPAA[/b]
HIPAA also has a mandate to introduce reforms that can improve bureaucracy in the entire health care sector. This means the organization should take on new policies and standards that improve efficiency in the health care sector. Healthcare professionals should also maintain HIPAA compliance standards by using patient identifiers together with code sets. This makes sharing of data among healthcare entities and the insurers more efficient. As a result, billing, payments, eligibility confirmations, and other processes also become more efficient thereby improving the overall experience of patients.
[b]HIPAA also discourages [/b]
Deduction of taxes on interest accrued on life insurance loans regulates the amount that people can put in medical accounts and enforces requirements for group health insurance.
HIPAA covers different sections of the Healthcare industry. Through it, the industry has better efficiency. It also enhances health insurance portability and protects not only the privacy of patients but also the privacy of health plan members. Also, it ensures that patients receive a notification about any breach that affects their health information.

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