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The Power of HIPAA


Patients want their personal health data to be kept as safe as possible while providers are also willing to protect their clients' private information. It is not only out of professional ethics but also a win-win strategy. To achieve this goal, here comes the HIPAA law. You may feel very familiar with this term, HIPAA, especially in this special COVID-19 period. However, do you really know what it stands for? Do you truly understand what HIPAA rule means to you?


What is HIPAA?

HIPAA, the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information, in order to keep patients’ medical information safe. The HIPAA law was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, setting the standard for protecting sensitive patient data. The act has emerged into greater prominence in recent years with the proliferation of health data breaches caused by cyberattacks and ransomware attacks on health insurers and providers.


Five Titles of HIPAA

The HIPAA rule consists of five titles, or sections.

Title I: HIPAA Health Insurance Reform

Title I of HIPAA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. It also prevents group health plans from refusing to cover individuals who have pre-existing diseases or conditions, and prohibits them from setting limits for lifetime coverage.

Title II: HIPAA Administrative Simplification

Title II of HIPAA requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health plans, and employers. It also addresses the security and privacy of health data. Adopting these standards will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation's health care system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in health care.

Title III: HIPAA Tax-Related Health Provisions

Title III includes tax-related provisions and guidelines for medical care.

Title IV: Application and Enforcement of Group Health Plan Requirements

Title IV specifies conditions for group health plans regarding coverage of persons with pre-existing conditions, and modifies continuation of coverage requirements.

Title V: Revenue Offsets

Title V includes provisions related to company-owned life insurance, treatment of individuals who lose U.S. Citizenship for income tax purposes and repeals the financial institution rule to interest allocation rules.


What is HIPAA-Compliant?

As we discussed before, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly known as HIPAA, is a series of regulatory standards that outline the lawful use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI). HIPAA compliance is compliance with the requirements of HIPAA and is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Companies that deal with protected health information (PHI) must have physical, network, and process security measures in place and follow them to ensure HIPAA Compliance. Covered entities (anyone providing treatment, payment, and operations in healthcare) and business associates (anyone who has access to patient information and provides support in treatment, payment, or operations) must meet HIPAA Compliance.


Why HIPAA-Compliant?

For Healthcare Organizations

  • helps with the transition from paper records to electronic copies of health information

  • helps to improve efficiency in the healthcare industry

  • helps enormously with the transfer of electronic health information between healthcare providers, health plans, and other entities

For Patients

  • Sets standards for the electronic exchange of patient-identifiable, health-related information

  • Ensures healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates of HIPAA-covered entities must implement multiple safeguards to protect sensitive personal and health information

  • Enable patients to take a more active role in their healthcare


As a HIPAA-compliant virtual healthcare delivery platform, MicMD empowers patients and providers with various secure communication to safeguard electronic protected health information (ePHI). Committed to streamline administrative healthcare functions, improve efficiency in the healthcare industry, and ensure protected health information, MicMD has implemented multiple safeguards to protect sensitive personal and health information. Click here to find out more. It is easy to get started!


Source:

1. HIPAA Title Information, DHCS

2. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Wikipedia

3. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), SearchHealthIT

4. What is HIPAA Compliance? 2019 HIPAA Requirements, Digital Guardian

5. What is HIPAA Compliance, Compliancy Group

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