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HIPAA Resources

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Some Basic Information:

HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal regulation that protects the privacy of a patient’s healthcare information. Electronic transaction regulations took effect in October 2002 and the privacy component of HIPAA in April 2003.

Key Terms and Concepts:

PHI - PHI stands for Protected Health Information. This includes any information that can identify a particular individual with a particular health condition.

IIHI – IIHI stands for Individually Identifiable Health Information. This also includes PHI plus any other identifying information about an individual that could be connected with a person’s condition or with their particular healthcare facility. IIHI can include email or URL, patient identifier number such as the account number or a medical record number, a finger print, voice print, or other biometric form of identification. A patient’s signature is also considered IIHI.

Covered Entity (CE)- This is the facility where the patient is seen. Any health care provider conducts electronic transactions is considered a Covered Entity for HIPAA purposes.

Business Associate (BA)- A Business Associate is any business or individual that provides a service to the Covered Entity to help him process or maintain the PHI. The BA must have a specific contract identifying how the policies and procedures of the BA will help to protect and keep confidential the PHI violation when in their custody.

Chain of Trust - This is a pattern of documentation required by HIPAA to link PHI to whoever has had access to it for a period not less than six (6) years.

Important Deadlines:

Section 1175(b)(1)(A) of HIPAA requires all covered entities other than small health plans to comply with a standard or implementation specification “not later than 24 months after the date on which an initial standard or implementation specification is adopted or established” (April 21, 2005); Section 1175(b)(1)(B), however, provides that small health plans must comply not later than 36 months after that date (April 26, 2006). Small health plans are companies that meet the definition of a small business, under the Small Business Association's rules, w/ annual receipts of less than $5 million.

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