HIPAA: Understanding Its Effect on the Medical Community – and the Patient Since 1996
Many have heard the story of the husband who drops his wife off at the Emergency Room (ER) and goes to park the car. By the time he finds a space and walks back to the ER, his wife has already been admitted. As one would expect, he asks about his wife’s status and to be taken to see her, and of course, thanks to HIPAA, he is given no information or access to his wife.
True or not, this story exemplifies the effect HIPAA has had on access to medical information by anyone other than the patient. To understand how HIPAA has been effecting the medical community and the patient since its implementation, one must first know a bit more about HIPAA other than the commonly observed result of extra forms to be signed when receiving medical care.
HIPAA, which stands for the American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a set of rules to be followed by physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers, which took effect on April 14, 2006. Its purpose is to ensure that all medical records, medical billing, and patient accounts meet certain consistent standards with regard to documentation, handling, and privacy in regard to patient medical information. In addition to adding consistency standards and privacy of medical information…
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by: Julie A. Dialessi-Lafley, Esq.