Healthcare: HIPPA and the Law
‘The basic requirement of the final privacy rules is that a covered entity may not use or disclose an individual’s protected health information, except as otherwise permitted or required by the rules. The original privacy rule required that the use or disclosure of personal health information would only be permissible provided a covered entity had received a prior “consent” or “authorization” from the patient for the release of personal health information” (Giacalone and Cacciatore 433).
According to Giacalone and Cacciatore, it is important to protect every patient’s health information and medical records. The HIPPA Law ensures that our privacy will not be violated by giving us the right to authorize only certain individuals to have access to our medical records. The privacy law was created to protect the privacy of patient’s health information when sent electronically and releases medical records only to patients and not to any unauthorized individuals. There are some exceptions on who can access the medical records such as insurance agencies, attorneys, authorized family members, friends or a transferred doctor. However, in order for anyone to receive access to the patient’s records, the individuals name needs to be in the record giving permission to obtain the records. HIPAA privacy law does affect the patient’s right to access his/her medical records because they can always request to review the records for any mistakes or disclosed information. In order for them to review their medical records or use for other purposes, the patient must fill out a written request form to obtain copies. Patients also have the right to have a provider amend personal health information found in medical or billing records. A medical provider may request an amendment of a patient’s medical records provided the patient submit authorization supporting the reasons for the amendment (437).
Gentry notes that, “institutions will save billions of dollars a year in administration, and insurers and government health programs such as Medicare will make significant savings. Once the software for improving health care is up and running. The system should have an "immediate and dramatic impact." The reasoning is, by speeding up the transmission and improving the accuracy of information, health plans should be able to do a better job of monitoring the quality of care. Doctors and hospitals should benefit by having their bills paid faster. And public health authorities should be able to pick up signs of an illness cluster much earlier” (A,3).
Better information systems would help save money and significantly improve healthcare quality. Providers lack the information systems necessary to coordinate a patient’s care with other providers. The software will allow providers to access to patient data from other sites of care or service. This access can be achieved through the health information system or through direct, point to point communication among providers. This access will reduce medical error, lower medical costs, and assure that all health care providers have accurate and timely manor. Also, information systems will make it easier for hospitals and physicians to assess a patient’s medical status and make sure they receive appropriate care. This technology enables healthcare facilities to pursue the most effective and efficient use of modern information in the administration of organizations. Doctors will be able to benefit as well by having their bills paid faster and public health authorities will be able to detect early warning signs of an illness cluster (3)
Nahra, Kirk J. states, “Health care fraud is higher on the list of priorities for federal law enforcement. Within this landscape of aggressive, coordinated anti-fraud activity, managed care has created a wildly changed health care market place structure in which to fight fraud. Legislation and this new business environment...
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