HIPAA Turns 20!
From - National Intelligence Report It’s a milestone birthday for a law that is not generally celebrated among health care providers. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, better known as… . . . read more
It’s a milestone birthday for a law that is not generally celebrated among health care providers. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, better known as HIPAA, was enacted this month 20 years ago on Aug. 21, 1996.
The law is perhaps best known for its imposition of privacy and security requirements intended to protect confidentiality of patients’ health information. But another key objective of the law when enacted was to allow people to continue health care insurance even after losing a job and to prevent preexisting medical conditions from causing insureds to lose or have difficulty obtaining insurance.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a statement celebrating the occasion, lauding the legislation for also moving health care into the modern electronic age: “Twenty years ago, a considerable portion of every health care dollar was spent on administrative overhead in processes that involved numerous paper forms and telephone calls, non-standard electronic commerce, and many delays in communicating information among different locations. … HIPAA simplified and encouraged the electronic transfer of information … and now 93.8% of all health care claims transactions today are conducted in standard form. The HIPAA standards have helped pave the way for interoperability of health data to enhance the patient and provider experience.”
HIPAA’s privacy and security rules also imposed standards identifying permissible and prohibited uses of patient information and required implementation of physical, technical and administrative safeguards to protect such information from improper disclosure. Modifications to the law have imposed requirements for dealing with and notifying affected patients about breaches of unsecured health information. HHS reports that since the law’s requirements went into effect, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the agency charged with enforcing the law, has received 137,770 complaints under HIPAA—96% of which were resolved—and OCR has collected a total of $39,989,200 in settlements.
“HIPAA has been a blue print for health care reform, paving the way for the future by making health care delivery more efficient and expanding coverage to more Americans. Together, we celebrate 20 years of this historic legislation,” said the HHS.
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