Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About HIPAA

Today’s healthcare and health related industries comprise more than fifteen percent of the U.S. Gross National Product, and that makes the issues surrounding HIPAA a rather huge deal for us all. Just about every person employed by the healthcare industry, in addition to the majority of that industry’s associate businesses have been affected by the legislation. This may sound somewhat clichÃ?©, but HIPAA compliance will never come down to technology, likewise it’s not simply a matter of inappropriate governmental regulation getting in the way of our healthcare system. It is about lower health care administrative costs though.

It’s also a matter healthcare program’s having standardizing transactions and sets of code. But most importantly, HIPAA is matter of ensuring that the privacy of everyone’s healthcare information is protected – the kind of goal that we’ll all eventually benefit from. Technology will be involved, but it’ll be people, average every day healthcare staffers who’ll make or break their organization’s ability to achieve HIPAA compliance and embrace the new law.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA legislation will forever change many aspects of the ways that health care services can be administered. President Clinton signed the landmark Kassebaum-Kennedy HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act into law on August 21, 1996. HIPAA was specifically designed to expand health care coverage availability by drastically improving both the portability and continuity aspects of health and medical insurance coverage in the group and individual indemnity markets to:

– More efficiently Combat the waste prevalent throughout many quarters of our health care delivery systems
– Effectively promote and encourage the wider use of medical savings accounts or Archer MSA’s (the program precedent of HSA’s or Health Savings Account Plans)
– Improve consumer access to long-term health care coverage and services
– Simplify the overall administration practices of health insurance carriers.

Within said context the HIPAA laws include provisions concerning “Administrative Simplification,” which were intended to greatly improve the general efficiency and effectiveness of the nation’s healthcare services by encouraging the development of uniform electronic transmission standards, in order to facilitate the privacy and security of a variety or health care related information.

HIPAA, Title II’s Administrative Simplification provision requires that the Federal Department of Health and Human Services establish a national standard for electronic healthcare related transactions and transmissions as well as a nationwide set of identifiers for providers, employers and health plans. Title II of the Act also functions to addresses the overall privacy and security of health acre data. The long-term aim of HIPAA’s simplification standards is to encourage the widespread use of standardized electronic data interchanges and thereby improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of our health care system.

These electronic-interchange standards were extensively reviewed through a process that included significant input from public and private sectors prior to their publication in the nation’s Federal Register. Subject health care services and organizations are now legally required to accept information transmissions within the standard format that HIPAA lays out and further required not to delay any transaction or adversely affect any entity conducting standards compliant transactions electronically. Both AHCCCS and DES Health Plans are covered under HIPAA.

Remember, many of the new ways of conducting business as per HIPPAA’s mandates can be a lot to swallow and comprehend. But, it’s the job of health care providers and group plan sponsors to approach them wisely and to communicate with their colleagues and employees why they represent not only an opportunity for healthcare services gains but also our best opportunity to avoid further loss of services. If organizations can affect this brand of healthcare change, they’ll be well on their way to effectively managing the tumultuous medical services transformation that the HIPAA laws have only just begun to create.

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