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Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law that designates national standards to which healthcare providers must comply in order to protect patients’ protected health information (PHI). In particular, HIPAA prevents the unpermitted disclosure of PHI from healthcare organizations without patients’ consent.  

HIPAA pertains to covered entities, including healthcare clearinghouses, health plans and healthcare providers, and their business associates.  

The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule upholds HIPAA guidelines by stipulating entities and their business associates covered by HIPAA report breaches involving PHI.  

Why is HIPAA important to healthcare?

HIPAA is vitally important to healthcare because it ensures that all covered entities protect and maintain confidentiality in dealing with PHI. It also  

  • Sets industry standards on electronic billing  

  • Decreases abuse and fraud  

  • Transfers and resumes healthcare coverage for patients and their families when in between jobs 

  • Lets patients obtain copies of their healthcare information from healthcare organizations