Hipaa Compliance

Written by Dina Kayed
Bookmark and Share

Medical bills can mount up very quickly and be impossible to pay if you don't have medical insurance. While sometimes we put off buying medical insurance, thinking that we could put the money to better use, we can never tell when illness might strike. Serious illness can leave us profoundly regretting a decision not to buy insurance.

We may have specific questions concerning insurance policy and coverage. Pre-existing conditions can also be a worry, particularly if we're planning to switch jobs. Purchasing the right insurance policy requires some thorough research and a great deal of thought. It is critical to find a policy that suits all your medical needs and that is guaranteed to pay off when you really need it.

The Objectives of HIPAA

In 1996 the Clinton administration set out on a mission to reform the healthcare system by introducing HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. One aim of this legislation is to give people a chance to change their careers if they need to, and still be able to obtain medical insurance, even with preexisting illnesses.

HIPAA also set out to provide the necessary guidelines to insure greater medical confidentiality and privacy. Everyone wants and deserves his or her private issues to be kept private, away from prying eyes. Accordingly, new standards and guidelines for health information were enforced.

HIPAA Balances Health Regulations

Discrimination based on health status was a major concern of the Clinton administration. In the past, many people were denied employment on the basis of their pre-existing illnesses. HIPAA introduced new legislation to protect the public so that they would no longer be exposed to such discrimination, and could apply for employment on an equal footing with others.

Electronic transactions were also introduced. This involved electronically recording patient information, all money transactions and important paper work, so that this work no longer needed to be done manually. This codification--standardizing the way different covered entities communicate patient information--has been an enormous and very beneficial step. Compliance proved to be challenging for some companies that provide health services (the "covered entities"), but is well worth it. For those covered entities that need assistance meeting HIPAA regulations, consultants are available. There are also more affordable programs that walk companies through the steps of compliance. These steps include keeping data standard, keeping it secure, and keeping it private.

Apportioning Healthcare Rights

HIPAA can simply be described as a broadly applied federal law that benefits every American citizen. It addresses the issue of privacy for all people and their medical information. It draws a clear guideline to help administrators distinguish between personal health information that should be kept private, and legitimate requests for information. Both medical staff and patients benefit from HIPAA. As well as protecting each patient's rights, this law can also help medical staff to avoid being penalized for inadvertently abusing the privacy of others. Complying with HIPAA takes work, but ultimately benefits not just patients, but also all healthcare entities, from doctors to pharmacists to billing centers.

Bookmark and Share