HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA is a federal law that is primarily a response by Congress for healthcare reform. It affects all healthcare industries, sectors and practitioners. Compliance is mandatory for all health professions and there are penalties for failure to comply. The HIPAA Privacy Rule creates national standards to protect individuals' medical records and other personal health information and to give patients more control over their health information. It sets limits on the use and release of health records. It establishes safeguards that providers and health plans must implement to protect the privacy of health information. The Privacy Rule provides that, in general, a covered entity may not use or disclose an individual's heathcare information without permission except for treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. The Privacy Rule will require the average healthcare provider or health plan to do the following:

  • Notify patients about their privacy rights and how their information can be used.
  • Adopt and implement privacy procedures for its practice, hospital, or plan.
  • Train employees so that they understand privacy procedures.
  • Designate an individual to be responsible for seeing that privacy procedures are adopted and followed.
  • Secure records containing individually identifiable health information so that they are not readily available to those who do not need them.

The rule also provides for reduced compliance for plans that share limited information with plan sponsor. Other related regulations provide requirements for the security of health information: national standards for electronic healthcare transactions: and national identifiers for providers, health plans and employers.

Foot and Ankle of West Georgia has implemented the required training of all its employees in HIPAA regulations and continues to make every effort to abide by all HIPAA rules. Any questions or concerns related to HIPAA or any specific HIPAA regulations or compliance issues should be directed to Kathryn Herndon, our assistant office manager and HIPAA officer at Foot and Ankle of West Georgia.