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Sherika Samuels HIPAA Privacy Rule and Patient Confidentiality Professor Vicky Powell September 03, 2017
2 Official Title of Law or Laws According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the Federal Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), was enacted August 21, 1996. HIPAA’s sections 261 through 264 require the secretary of HHS to publicize the standard for the electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information (“Summary of HIPAA Privacy Rule”, 2013). HIPAA, also known as Public Law 104-191, serves the purpose of combating abuse, fraud and waste in health insurance and healthcare delivery as well as improving long-term care services. (“Summary of HIPAA Privacy Rule”, 2013). For the protection and confidential handling of health information, HIPAA Privacy Rule was established April 14, 2003 to protect patient’s medical records and other personal health information. The Privacy Rule requires appropriate safeguards to be in place to protect the privacy of personal health information and sets conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information through patient authorization. The Privacy Rule gives patients the rights over their health information because it is imperative that the patients who visit healthcare organizations know that their health information remains private and protected (“Electronic Health Records,” n.d.). There is not a standard HIPAA state law since most states already have privacy laws that apply to the protection of health information. Areas such as patient consent, access to records and subpoena rights are included under HIPAA as well as state laws. The general standard is that if a state law is more protective of the patient, then it takes precedence over HIPAA. However, if a state law is less stringent than HIPAA, then HIPAA takes over (Holloway, 2003).
3 Healthcare Organization’s Obligations to meet Patient’s Legal Rights All healthcare organizations are legally obligated to protect the confidentiality (privacy) of their patients’ health information. HIPAA requires that healthcare providers ensure that a patient’s health information is used only for purposes related to treatment, payment or operations and that only the minimum amount of necessary information is disclosed (Buppert, 2009). Moreover, the disclosure of health information is made only to individuals who need to know the information to treat the patient, conduct the practice's operations or obtain payment for services. However, the HIPAA law permits nurses and physicians to disclose protected health information, without the patient’s written authorization, when consistent with applicable law and ethical standards (Buppert, 2009).

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