Medical Resources: A Guide to HIPAA

HIPAA refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The U.S. Office of Civil Rights oversees this act, which was first instituted in 1996, to closely guard and monitor access to confidential medical information that, if made public, can reveal or hint at the identity of the patient. HIPAA protects the privacy of citizens and strives to guarantee that confidentiality of medical data is maintained. Those who violate patient privacy by ignoring HIPAA guidelines can reap criminal charges or civil repercussions.

  • The Basics of HIPAA: This research summarizes what HIPAA is and its benefits.
  • Patient Privacy: This website explains HIPAA’s focus on privacy and the federal monitoring that preserves that privacy.
  • HIPAA FAQS: This websites gives answers to frequently asked questions about HIPAA.
  • Types of Companies who Must Follow HIPAA This webpage summarizes the agencies who are responsible for following HIPAA guidelines and when such compliance is necessary.
  • Electronic Data & HIPAA: This website discusses how converting hard copy medical files to digital files for better universal access coincided with HIPAA and may have necessitated it.
  • HIPAA Timeline: This website summarizes key events in the development of HIPAA from 1996 to 2009.
  • Details of HIPAA: This website succinctly explains and defines all the facets of HIPAA.
  • History of Modifications: This website offers a timeline of significant changes to HIPAA from 1996 onward.
  • Misconceptions About HIPAA: This article addresses widespread untruths about HIPAA.

HIPAA protects patients by focusing on three key areas: privacy guarantees, security measures, and flexible insurance. Portable insurance is one of major boons of HIPAA. It makes it possible for people who leave or lose a job to continue coverage for their families. In terms of security, HIPAA has made it illegal for even casual references to medical tests, results, doctor’s visits, and bills to be made to people who by law are not required to know the information. This means patients can worry less about having personal files left in public view or in a copy machine; they can also worry less about a doctor, nurse, or medical secretary sharing tidbits of their visit.

Companies are required to have adequate security of both electronic and hard copy files. HIPAA requires companies to employ compliance officers to regularly study whether patients or consumers are really being protected. Penalties are stiff for those who try to skirt HIPAA rules. They can face huge monetary penalties or even jail time.

Resources abound to address patient concerns, fears, and confusion about HIPAA. There are online resource centers and newsletters in addition to downloadable brochures.

  • List of HIPAA Resources: This website directs patients to a bevy of authoritative HIPAA resources.
  • HIPAA News: This website reports on news and events linked to HIPAA.
  • HIPAA Outreach: HIPAA Outreach is a listserv that will deliver the latest announcements on HIPAA to anyone who signs up.
  • Resource Center: This health website offers an online resource center for HIPAA information.