Protecting Your Health Information
January 4, 2023
Every year Pathway Pediatrics and our staff undergo annual training in regards to HIPAA compliance. Recently, we received a seal of compliance stating that we completed the necessary training and are compliant with HIPAA regulations. But what is HIPAA and why is it important for us to follow? And what does this have to do with your family?
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 which is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the HIPAA Privacy Rule to implement the requirements of HIPAA. The Privacy Rule standards address the use and disclosure of individuals’ health information (known as protected health information or PHI) by entities subject to the Privacy Rule. These entities include: healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and other health business associates such as billing or data analysis.
As a healthcare provider, Pathway is required to adhere to the standards of HIPAA and check in annually to ensure that the standards are continually being met. Some of these standards include: ensuring that all protected health information (PHI) is kept available but confidential, detecting and implementing safeguards against security threats, protecting against anticipated disuse of PHI, and certifying compliance by all employees. This ensures that your family’s health information is kept confidential and cannot be disclosed to anyone without your consent.
So what health information is protected under HIPAA?
- Information your doctors, nurses, and other health care providers put in your medical record such as diagnoses, treatment plans, etc.
- Conversations your doctor has about your care or treatment with nurses and others.
- Information about you in your health insurer’s computer system including identifying information like birthdate, address, social security number, etc.
- Billing information about you at your clinic such as outstanding balances or payment information.
- Most other health information about you held by those who must follow these laws.
There are some instances that the law permits your health information to be disclosed. These include:
- Disclosure to you.
- Treatment, payment and healthcare operations.
- Disclosure given by or approved by you.
- Some limited data for research and public health purposes.
- Public interest activities such as criminal investigation, research, worker’s compensation, etc.
For more information regarding HIPAA and your rights regarding your health information, you can visit the The US Department of Health and Human Services website here: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html
Pathway Pediatrics is dedicated to protecting your health information and we work to maintain HIPAA compliance daily!Next Post >>