Executive Chronicles | A Simple Explanation of HIPAA Law and Its Importance | Imagine for a moment that you have a medical issue that’s a bit embarrassing. The specifics don’t matter. Just pretend that you have to pick up some medicine, and you’d prefer other people didn’t know about it.
What’s stopping your pharmacist from telling the whole town about your prescriptions?
You’re probably thinking, “That’s against the law!” You’re right, but what law applies here? And what exactly does the law cover?
The law is called HIPAA: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA law is meant to ensure the privacy of your protected health information or PHI.
Read on to find out how exactly HIPAA privacy law works.
What Does HIPAA Law Cover?
HIPAA was created in 1996 to keep your health information safe and private. It does this through the enforcement of four rules: the privacy rule, the security rule, the breach notification rule, and the omnibus rule.
The privacy and security rules are the two most important parts of HIPAA. They deal with the protection of your health information.
The HIPAA privacy rule is what protects your information from becoming public. It puts limits on who can access your information without your consent.
The HIPAA security rule guarantees that appropriate measures are taken to safeguard your information. This includes digital protections as well as physical ones.
The breach notification rule and omnibus rule don’t impact the consumer very much. They simply set regulations on security reporting structures and business agreements.
Who Has to Follow HIPAA Law?
HIPAA law enforcement applies to many groups in the healthcare industry. That includes doctors, pharmacists, and health insurers. That said, there is the occasional HIPAA law enforcement exception.
Take, for example, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. This Board often needs to inspect sites with Terminal Distribution of Dangerous Drugs (or TDDD) licenses. The Board may review patient information during inspection.
There can be exceptions when it comes to HIPAA law and employers. It usually depends on whether or not you receive health coverage from your employer.
You may be also wondering how a TDDD site differs from other medical sites. You can find more TDDD info here.
What If Someone Violates HIPAA Law?
The privacy of your protected health information is very important, so each HIPAA law violation is treated seriously. The smallest penalty for a willful HIPAA violation is a $50,000 fine.
Often, HIPAA violations occur not because someone intentionally revealed patient information, but because an organization failed to take proper security measures. These may result in minor or major security breaches.
Lack of proper security or failure to report a breach on time are among the most common HIPAA violations. Both can result in costly fines.
Maintain Health & Wellness Without Fear
HIPAA law gives you extra protection, ensuring that your medical history is safe. The heavy penalties incurred by violations ensure that doctors and pharmacies will protect your health information.
If you want to learn even more about personal health, visit our wellness page where you can find more great articles!