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Releasing Protected Health Information Essay

Releasing Protected Health Information By Tracy 11/28/2010 The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act of 1996 also known as HIPAA is a federal law that was put in place to protect private health care information. The HIPAA law also regulates how private health care information can be released and who it can be released too. Any violation of HIPAA can result in termination, fines and even jail time, this is why it is important for health care providers to understand and follow these regulations.

In some cases protected health care information can be released to parties other than the patient, in this essay I will cover when patients consent is and is not required to release information to government agencies, legal agencies or representatives and research groups. Providers must obtain the patients authorization to disclose private health care information to government agencies, except when it is required according to HIPAA guidelines.

Government agencies like the Department of Social Services and the Bureau of Disability Determinations must provide patients authorization to release their private health care information. In some cases information can be released without the patients consent if it is ordered by court, is required by law for public health officials and to insurers as necessary to pay for health care cost. I believe that these regulations protect private health care information adequately because the patient must consent to release information unless it is required by law or is needed for payment of the patients health care cost.

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Providers are able to release private health care information for research purposes as long as the information contains no identification such as name, address, numbers, and relatives and so on. I believe that these regulations protect private health care information adequately because the medical information can be used for research purposes but the patient can not be identified. Law enforcement purposes also do not require the patients consent to disclose private health care information.

I believe that these regulations protect private health care information adequately because the information is only released on an as needed bases for law enforcement purposes, this can help law enforcement agencies catch criminals and solve cases. Protecting patient’s information is important to prevent health care fraud and abuse and to protect not only the patient but the provider. Releasing private health care information is punishable by law so it is important for health care providers to understand when it is acceptable to release information and when it is not.

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