Things That All Employees Must Learn During HIPAA Privacy Training
HIPAA privacy training is mandatory and useful for employees who work as healthcare professionals or handle medical data of patients. Violations of HIPAA guidelines carry strict fines and punishments about which all employees should be made aware of.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996
HIPAA is a law that governs healthcare establishments to lay high emphasis on protection of health records of patients. The law, established in 1996 under United States law, ensures that all medical records and related data of patients undergoing any form of treatment in any affiliated health organization in the country must be protected. This also includes agencies that may not be involved in the treatment of patients, but have access to the medical records, otherwise known as Protected Health Information (PHI).
HIPAA mandates that healthcare professionals and associate staff must receive proper HIPAA privacy training. This covers physicians, psychologists, researchers, dentists, nurses, opticians, insurance specialists, human resources officers, and all other staff that has access to the health data, either complete or partial.
Protected Health Information
The protected health information of a patient is the information that can be used in any way to determine the identity of a patient, or his or her past, present or future status. The PHI also includes a patient’s name, address, phone number, social security number, etc. The information can be written, verbal or electronic.
On what grounds can the information be disclosed?
HIPAA allows disclosure of patient information under four circumstances-
1) If the information is required for medical treatment and care of the patient
2) If the information is required to deduce the cost of treatment and for processing of payment
3) If the information is required for operational needs such as education and reviews
4) If the information is required and asked for by the patient
The PHI can also be released or disclosed, either in full or in parts to any third person or entity if the patient has given his or her due authorization. The patient has the right to refuse the disclosure of the PHI to any third party.
Why HIPAA Privacy Training is necessary?
It is important for healthcare employees to receive adequate HIPAA privacy training so that they are aware of the penalties that can be levied, either on them or on their organization, if there is any breach in securing the protected health information of patients. Violation of HIPAA guidelines is a federal crime and carries fines that range from $100 per offense to $25,000 in a year. If someone is found guilty of intentionally disclosing or obtaining PHI, then the person is liable for a 1 year prison sentence and a fine of $50,000.
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