What is HIPAA?

what is hipaaThe HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was put into law by the US congress of 1996, and subsequently signed by President Clinton. Senator Ted Kennedy was the one who initially proposed it.

The Act protects health insurance for workers who lose their jobs. It also requires the establishment of standards on a national level regarding electronic health care transactions. These include privacy rules that any phone answering service must follow in order to be HIPPA compliant.

A part of the Act called “Administration Simplification” talks about security and privacy regarding health data. The standards put forth by the act are meant to make health are data transferal more effective.

HIPAA Privacy Rules

The “Privacy rule” is part of Title II of the Act which is specifically designed to combat health care fraud and abuse, as well as reform medical liability. The Privacy Rule part of HIPAA talks about “covered entities” which includes health insurers and providers. The Act regulates how PHI (protected health information) is disseminated from covered entities. For example, individuals who have personal information listed with a covered entity can ask for that information and must receive it within 30 days.

Covered entities are also required by the HIPAA law to take reasonable steps to make sure the personal information of its clients are secure and confidential. This covers options such as clients being allowed to list work numbers instead of home numbers for where to be called about their PHI.

HIPAA also stipulates that covered entities must set up a way of taking care of complaints regarding PHI from the company’s clients. Many organizations here in New Jersey hire our Trenton answering service to process client questions and complaints.

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