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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

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HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for implementing various unrelated provisions of HIPAA, therefore HIPAA may mean different things to different people.

Understanding Health Information Privacy

The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes. 

The Security Rule specifies a series of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for covered entities and their business associates to use to assure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information. 






A Covered Entity is one of the following:

   A Healthcare Provider


This includes providers such




  • Doctors

  • Clinics

  • Psycologists

  • Dentists

  • Chiropractors

  • Nursing Homes

  • Pharmacies


...but only if they transmit any information in an electronic form in connection with a transaction for which HHS has adopted a standard.

A Health Plan

This Includes:

  • Health Insurance Companies

  • HMO's

  • Company (Employer) Health Plans

  • Goverment programs that pay for

      Healthcare, Medicare, Medicais,

      and veterans healthcare programs.

A Healthcare Clearing House

This includes entities that process nonstandard health

information they receive from another entity into a standard

(i.e., standard electronic format or data content.), or vice versa

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