Releasing Protected Health Information
July 11, 2010
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act of 1996 or HIPAA, was put in place as an attempt to reform health care during the Clinton administration by making it possible for workers, of any profession, to change jobs regardless if the worker, or any member of their family, have a pre-existing medical condition, decreasing paperwork which is associated with the processing of health claims, and by reducing health care abuse and fraud, and by assuring the privacy and security of health information. HIPAA’s standards for privacy of individually identifiable health information or privacy rule includes restrictions which protect the confidentiality and security of health information, and determines a criterion to protect the confidentiality of individually identifiable health information that is maintained or transmitted through electronic means in association with certain administrative and financial transactions such as electronic transfer of health insurance claims. The covered entity, in most cases, is required to obtain an individual’s authorization prior to disclosing any health information. And in most circumstances the patient or a legal representative of the patient controls the disclosure of PHI to any third party.
However ,there are many situations in which agencies or covered entities have the right or legal obligation to access or obtain PHI. Some examples of instances where a government agency may disclose this private health information are (not limited to).:
* For public health purposes such as investigations, surveillance, and interventions, PHI may be disclosed to public health authorities and their authorized agents * PHI may be disclosed to report abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. * Covered entities may, under specified conditions pursuant to a court order, subpoena, or other legal order disclose PHI to law enforcement...
Green, M.A., & Bowie, M.J. (2005). Essentials of health information management: Principles and practices. Clifton Park, NJ: Thomson
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2010). Health Information Privacy. Retrieved July 11, 2010 from http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/
CDC. (2003). HIPAA Privacy Rule and Public Health. Retrieved July 11, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/m2e411a1.htm
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