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Your Health Information Is Protected By Federal Law
Most of us believe that our medical and other health information is private and should be protected, and we want to know who has this information. The Privacy Rule, a Federal law, gives you rights over your health information and sets rules and limits on who can look at and receive your health information. The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of individuals' protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral. The Security Rule, a Federal law that protects health information in electronic form, requires entities covered by HIPAA to ensure that electronic protected health information is secure.
We call the entities that must follow the HIPAA regulations covered entities.
Covered entities include:
Health Plans, including health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans, and certain government programs that pay for health care, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Most Health Care Providers—those that conduct certain business electronically, such as electronically billing your health insurance—including most doctors, clinics, hospitals, psychologists, chiropractors, nursing homes, pharmacies, and dentists.
Health Care Clearinghouses—entities that process nonstandard health information they receive from another entity into a standard (i.e., standard electronic format or data content), or vice versa.
Covered entities must put in place safeguards to protect your health information.
Covered entities must reasonably limit uses and disclosures to the minimum necessary to accomplish their intended purpose.
Covered entities must have contracts in place with their contractors and others ensuring that they use and disclose your health information properly and safeguard it appropriately.
Covered entities must have procedures in place to limit who can view and access your health information as well as implement training programs for employees about how to protect your health information.