Hipaa: The Impact On The Delivery Of Human Services

1237 words - 5 pages

The U.S President Bill Clinton signed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) on 21 August 1996. Most healthcare insurance companies and providers are to remain to the HIPAA regulation guidelines by October 2002 and October 2003 for smaller health plans. If you are in the healthcare industry, you have probably heard some rumblings about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, calmly referred to as HIPAA. The word is your medical practice will have to be HIPAA compliant by April 2003, but you are not exactly sure what this act mandates or how to accomplish it. In very basic terms, HIPAA has two primary components to which hospitals, health plans, and healthcare"Clearinghouses and healthcare providers must conform: Administrative simplification, which calls for use of the same computer language industry-wide; Privacy protection, which requires healthcare providers to take reasonable measures to protect patients' written, oral, and electronic information. Congress passed HIPAA in an effort "to protect the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information." Additionally, lawmakers "sought to reduce the administrative costs and burden associated with healthcare by standardizing data and facilitating transmission of many administrative and financial transactions." HIPAA consultants say the new regulations should save the healthcare industry money in the end, provide improved security of patient information, and allow patients to have better access to their own healthcare information. The HIPAA law is a multi-step approach that is geared to improve the health insurance system. One approach of the HIPAA regulations is to protect privacy. It is also known as the law to treat the sick, or injured regardless of the fact whether they are able to pay. The provisions that are included in the HIPAA law are provisions for health insurance portability, group health plan requirements, revenue offset provisions, fraud and abuse control, administrative simplification requirements, and tax associated requirements (HIPAA Law and Regulations, 2008).The purpose or rationale of HIPAA law is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health insurance system and to protect privacy of the patients. Continuity of healthcare coverage is ensured by this law, which allows individuals to qualify immediately for comparable health insurance coverage at the time of changing the employment relationships. By replacing several non-standard formats that are currently used in the country (U.S) by means of a single set of electronic standards (used throughout the healthcare industry), HIPAA reduces the cost and administrative burdens of health care. The law improves the profitability and continuity of health insurance coverage. HIPAA prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of their health status (What is HIPAA? 2008). Key privacy provisions establish that patients must be able to access their records...

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