The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was signed into law in 1996 in an effort to modernize medical information and workflow. This law also heavily regulates the privacy of medical information and documents and how the healthcare industry handles personally identifiable documents. The law was enacted to make sure all health organizations across the United States were acting in accordance with one another following federal guidelines.
HIPAA consists of five parts involving health insurance coverage, health care transactions, medical spending accounts, group health places, and company life insurance policies. HIPAA has been a great resource for employers everywhere. The policy has helped eliminate waste and fraud as well as increase confidentiality for patients across the country. For All Florida Medical Waste, our practices primarily focus on protecting identifiable information of patients and companies by properly disposing of documents following HIPAA guidelines.
HIPAA’s standards dictate the use and disclosure of health information to help protect the individual and restricts who is allowed to access health information of any given patient. HIPAA casts a wide umbrella over patient information protections. These include:
- Patient names and contact information
- Social Security numbers
- Account numbers
- Fingerprints and photos
- Health Insurance beneficiary contact information
And many more. Under HIPAA, patients have increased rights when it comes to their healthcare information. Patients are able to request their medical records, limit who has access to their medical records, how they communicate with healthcare providers and much more. Patients also have the right to launch formal complaints about unauthorized disclosure of their personal health information.
There are a wealth of organizations and facilities that are federally mandated to comply with HIPAA standards. These include any form of healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics, dentists, nursing homes, pharmacies, and more. These also include mental health facilities and practitioners including psychologists, therapists, and more.
Facilities should have clear processes for personal health information requests from patients versus third party requests such as insurance companies, legal personnel, law enforcement, or other healthcare providers.
Organizations are mandated to comply with all aspects of HIPAA, but there are many ways companies fail to do so. Common violations include:
- Disclosing protected health information without permission
- Theft of Patient Records
- Improper disposal of patient information
- Failure to provide HIPAA awareness training
Compliance guidelines for businesses and medical practitioners can be found in great detail on HIPAA’s website.
All Florida Medical Waste Protects your Information
At All Florida Medical Waste, we protect your information as well as that of your patients. Although regulations vary state by state, our company makes sure to stay up to date as laws change and evolve. Under HIPAA regulations, our employees receive regular training on proper disposal and handling. Protecting our clients is of the utmost importance to our company, and you can rest assured that all of your information is in safe hands.