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Health Insurance And Accountability Act Essay

756 words - 3 pages

The HIPAA (Health Insurance and Accountability Act) was designed to safeguard the privacy of medical records. It contains specific guidelines for medical personnel as how to handle and maintain the patient’s medical information. (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/ understanding/consumers/consumer_summary.pdf)

Health care providers are required to provide the patient with a notice of privacy document. “The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides protection of health care information, for consumers by the federal government, held by health care facilities.” (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/ understanding/index.html). The privacy notice includes information on how to gain access to your medical records and how to get copies. In addition, the privacy notice describes how your medical information may be used or disclosed. (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/ understanding/consumers/noticepp.html). According to the interview I had with Will Almond, the Pharmacist, he said. “We have to check the customer’s identification and address before we can give them their prescription, unless we can identify them from previous visits.” He explained. “Someone was given the wrong prescription as the name was correct, but the address was not checked. That person went to the address on the prescription and tried to talk them in to suing Walgreens for a HIPAA violation.” The above occurrence is just one example as to the importance of making sure the medical information is handled correctly.
There are unrelated circumstances beyond the control of the patient as to the protection of their healthcare information. That is to say, in reference to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. “Your medical information is beyond your control when the disclosure is made by a covered entity to: Public health authorities, someone who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, an employer who needs to evaluate a work related injury, victims of violence or abuse, the legal process, a collection agency, coroner and funeral director. Likewise the armed forces, veteran’s affairs, workers compensation or if you are a threat to health or public safety.” (http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8a-hipaa.htm#5). Based on the above information not all information may be under the patient’s control.

The privacy policies that health care facilities provide their patients and customers are designed to inform them about that particular facilities privacy practices. With my interview at Walgreens with Will Almond, the Pharmacist, he explained. “We are required to provide a Notice of Privacy Practices to every customer.” I was promptly provided with a notice of privacy practices document (effective date as of April 13,...

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