The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA was enacted in 1996 and has been amended several times. In addition, thousands of pages of rules have been issued. HIPAA’s major purpose was to allow Americans to port coverage when they leave an employer to go to another employer, so they would not lose benefits. It also enacted some of the strictest privacy rules in the world about who can access your medical information and how it must be safeguarded.
In an era where NSA intelligence gathering, drones and other concerns exist about privacy, it is more imperative than ever that people be fully informed on medical records privacy. Compliance means that only people who directly have a reason to see your information for billing or treatment are allowed to, and only for that portion they need. It does not allow for non-encrypted emailing of the information, sending it to an unsecured fax, or even sharing it with family members unless you specifically authorize it in writing.
You can imagine the impact of a spouse being treated for an STD from an extra-marital affair being told to the other spouse. Or the effect on co-workers or employment if they know you have an infectious or terminal disease. It is none of their business unless you and no one else thinks it is. That is why organizations owe it to their patients to train anyone who comes into contact or potential contact with this information.
The Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) offers annual HIPAA training seminars to staff and members that may come into contact with personal health information (PHI). This year they are including information from Aon/Hewitt on how such information and compliance tools can be found on the new benefits dashboard provided to VSEBT members. The class can be taken both in person and by webinar. They are conducting their next seminar on the morning of August 21, 2013.
If you are a member of VSEBT, or are interested in participating, contact Sheri Gilbert at 623-594-4370. Only current and prospective members of VSEBT will be able to attend.