Q. What is HIPAA?
A. HIPAA is an acronym that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA is a federal law that was enacted in 1996. Key Consumer Goals:
Insurance Transactions - Establishes uniform electronic billing and claims processes among covered entities.
Health Information Security - Sets standards for the way medical records are stored and accessed.
Medical Privacy - Guarantee the privacy of personal health information.
Q. I understand that one of the components of HIPAA is privacy. What is protected by HIPAA?
A. HIPAA regulations protect private health information (PHI) that:
Identifies and individual
Relates to an individual's health, health care treatment or health care payment, and
Is maintained or disclosed electronically, on paper or orally
Q. To whom does HIPAA apply?
A. HIPAA applies to "covered entities," which include health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses.
Q. How are violations enforced?
A. Violations will be enforced on a complaint basis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights.
Q. What are penalties for violations of HIPAA?
A. The government may impose civil and criminal penalties for violations of HIPAA. A covered entity's failure to comply with each HIPAA provision can result in civil monetary penalties of $100 per violation with a cap of $25,000 for violations of the same provision. Criminal fines of $50,000 to $250,000 and imprisonment from one to ten years can be imposed on anyone who knowingly or wrongfully discloses or receives PHI in violation of HIPAA.
Q. Will patient care by Hereford Volunteer Ambulance personnel change due to HIPAA?
A. No. We have always been extremely dedicated to administering high quality care to its patients, and will continue to do so. HIPAA will not interfere with the quality of care patients receive.
Q. Who will see the information you collect about me or my family member?
A. While you are in our care, your care providers are the only ones who see the information. Every effort is made to keep the information, as you relate it to us, confidential. A copy is turned over to care providers at the receiving facility (nurses, doctors and technicians). We maintain a copy of the run information in a locked filing cabinet and a copy is turned over to the Baltimore County EMS supervisor.
For More Information, Visit http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/index.html
All employees and volunteers are trained about privacy and make a promise to keep the information they see or hear, private.