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Hipaa: Helping Millions In Millions Of Ways

1552 words - 6 pages

Since the dawn of time, the biggest concern of all organisms was simple: survival. It has gotten easier since then, with millions of hospitals across the world for people to use. However, people have not always been able to use those safely. Whether it was a monetary or privacy concern, people worried until the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Commonly shortened to HIPAA, it has helped millions in numerous ways (Harmen 1). HIPAA helps members of the workforce and their families by keeping their health information safe and by helping them to easily get and keep affordable coverage.
HIPAA protects health information to help with the decline of health care fraud and abuse. Health information under HIPAA is completely confidential (Government of California Department of Health Care Services 1). If the information if classified as “individually identifiable health information,” it is protected under HIPAA. As the name implies, this information is information that easily gives away the identity of information’s owner. This includes any info of of a person’s physical or mental condition at any point in time or their health care provisions. In addition, the payment for said services is classified as “individually identifiable health information.” There are currently two ways for “individually identifiable health information,” to be classified as “de-identified,” again implying that there is no reference to the owner of said information. Those two ways are as follows: “... 1. a formal determination [is made] by a qualified statistician…” or “...2. the removal of specified identifiers of the individual and the individual’s relatives, household members, and employers is required, and is adequate only if the covered entity has no actual knowledge that the remaining information could be used to identify the individual (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1).” With HIPAA, the United States citizens’ information is protected and is hard to be used for health care fraud.
The laws that make up HIPAA are protected under federal law. This means that state laws that try to nullify or change HIPAA are shut down in their entirety by the federal government. There are only three ways that a state law can modify HIPAA. The law must “...(1) relate to the privacy of individually identifiable health information and provide greater privacy protections or privacy rights with respect to such information…”, “...(2) provide for the reporting of disease or injury, child abuse, birth, or death, or for public health surveillance, investigation, or intervention…”, or ”...(3) require certain health plan reporting, such as management or financial audits.” The law can also be put into effect if Health and Human services determine that one of the following conditions are met: ”It is necessary to prevent fraud and abuse related to the provision of or for payment of health care.”, “It is necessary to ensure appropriate state regulation of insurance and...

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