This research paper is being submitted on March 3th, 2013, for Milo Sampson’s M230/HSC2641 Section 04 - Medical Law and Ethics class.
HIPPA Violation – Privacy Rule
Thesis: Preventing violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule greatly impacts any health care professional, specifically patient information as it relates to a pharmacy and its entire staff.
Ever wonder what the acronym HIPAA stands for, how it relates to health care professionals, as well as you, the patient? Violations of the HIPAA Privacy rule greatly impacts health care professionals, specifically those working in a pharmacy, such as pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Let’s read further to learn more about HIPAA, more specifically the Privacy Rule.
The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, is a federal law that contains national standards, created to protect a patient’s medical and health information, among other things as well. All health care workers, including pharmacists and pharmacy staff, who have access to patient information must comply with HIPAA and the Privacy Rule (Christenson).
In August 2002, the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information or “Privacy Rule”, was established to implement the requirements of the HIPAA Act. This rule describes what health workers need to do to protect the privacy of their patients’ health information. The Privacy Rule was established to protect patient health information by placing limits on how patient information can be used or disclosed. The Privacy Rule is just one part of HIPAA, but nonetheless a very important part to health care workers, including pharmacy employees. (HIPPA for Pharmacy Staff)
With the establishment of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, a patient’s right to have his or her health information kept private and secure became more than just an ethical obligation of physicians and hospitals -- it became the law.
Protecting patients’ privacy must be part of the daily routine of a pharmacy and is the responsibility of the pharmacist, pharmacy technicians, and the entire staff, therefore the Privacy Rule affects the everyday practice of a pharmacy. To protect the rights of pharmacy patients, pharmacy technicians need to fully understand and be familiar with the laws of the Privacy Rule. As you perform your job, patient privacy needs to be protected. Patients expect privacy when they receive healthcare, including within a pharmacy. This means that they expect all of their medical information to be kept private and confidential. A patient’s privacy is violated when pharmacy staff or any other health care workers improperly use, disclose or allow unauthorized access to confidential health information. (HHS.gov) You may ask yourself, “What is considered private health information and what type of information needs to be protected?” “Protected Health Information”, or rather PHI, is the common phrase referred to in HIPAA rules for the pieces of information which must be kept confidential. The most common protected health information a pharmacy keeps is the patients name, address and phone number, date of birth, age, Health Plan, Medicare or Medicaid ID number, Diagnosis or diagnosis code, and Social Security number. There are, of course, other pieces of information that is considered PHI. PHI is considered any piece of information that identifies an individual patient. Pharmacies keep records which contain PHI in order to care for patients, bill for products and services or operate effectively. Your pharmacy computer records, prescription files, dispensing reports and backup files all contain PHI. Privacy has to do with patient rights to control sharing of their PHI. Any person has the right to choose whether or not they want their health information shared with anyone except those directly involved in their health care. (HIPPA for...