What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was designed to improve the portability and continuity of health care coverage in the group and individual insurance markets and to improve protections against fraud and abuse within the industry.
Significant provisions of the Act are considered "Administrative Simplification" regulations that set standards for the privacy of protected individual health information, the electronic transmissions of health information and the security of this information. HIPAA will require changes in how health care information is handled, transferred and stored within the institution. It will require ongoing review and modification of systems, policies, procedures and most importantly behavior.
What does it mean for patients?
For patients the enactment of HIPAA is intended to provide more information with which to make informed choices when seeking health care and a better understanding of how their personal health information may be used. HIPAA gives patients the right to examine and request copies of their own health records, request corrections and to find out if and how their personal health information has been used for purposes other than treatment.
What does HIPAA mean for Mercy Health Physicians?
Compliance with HIPAA is NOT optional. Penalties for failing to comply with regulatory requirements or for the wrongful disclosure of protected health information can be severe with fines and prison sentences resulting from the most serious violations.