Hipaa Regulations

Written by Norene Anderson
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HIPAA regulations have had a major impact on every aspect of healthcare. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) was introduced as a directive for standardizing the exchange of electronic data to facilitate better healthcare and to provide patient confidentiality in the process of the transfer of health information. The center of all communication is electronic filing. The guidelines require encryption to secure and protect the data from unauthorized view.

HIPAA regulations address the need for unique identifiers for health plans, employers, healthcare providers, and individuals. This has required changes in the storing and transaction of all patient information. Employers, public health, insurers, and anyone involved in healthcare data are all subject to the requirements of HIPAA. All communication involving a patient's medical or personal information must meet HIPAA standards for confidentiality.

More Information about HIPAA Regulations

Part of the reform in the healthcare industry has been to update and solidify the correlation of all coding systems used to report data for medical records and reimbursement. The CPT, ICD-9, NDC, HCPCS, J-codes, and all modifiers must be in accord with the national database. This ensures uniformity of billing procedures and reimbursement rates.

Stiff penalties are in place for non-compliance with HIPAA regulations. Fines can be as high as $25,000 for more than one violation of the same standard within a calendar year. Fines can reach $250,000 with the possibility of 10 years in prison for willfully misusing patient health information. All healthcare facilities and providers are affected by HIPAA and must comply with the restrictions or face the possibility of serious penalty.

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