The Health Insurance Portability & Accountablility Act:
What does it mean to you?
With the enactment of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act, a patient's right to have his or her health information kept private and secure became more than just an ethical obligation - it became the law.
Under HIPAA, it is a violation to release health information to inappropriate parties or to fail to adequately protect health information from unauthorized release or use. No matter where you are in healthcare organization itï¿½s important to understand what privacy and confidentiality mean. HIPAA ensures patient privacy by setting rules for when protected health information, or PHI, may be used and released. Information is released after an authorization is signed or to carry out treatment, payment or healthcare operations.
What does this mean? This means that communications with or about patients involving PHI will be private and limited to those who need the information to provide treatment, obtain payment, and support our healthcare operations. Such communications may involve oral, written, or electronic communications. Only those people with an authorized need to know should have access to the protected information.
OUR KEY SECURITY MEASURES
The Jones Memorial Hospital uses these guidelines to keep health information secure and confidential.
- Keeping records locked, allowing access to only people with a need to see information about patients.
- Requiring employees and others who use computerized patient records to log out of their computers while they are not at their workstations.
- Turning computer screens away from the view of the public or people passing by.
- Keeping covered from the public posted or written patient information maintained in work areas such as nursesï¿½ stations.
- Holding discussions about patient care in private to reduce the likelihood that those who do not need to know will overhear.
- Keeping electronic records secure through passwords and other technology.
- Monitoring who gains access to records to ensure that they are being used appropriately.
- Shredding disposed paper records or placing them in closed receptacles for delivery to a company that destroys records for the facility.
If you any questions regarding protected health information or have a concern, contact James Helms, Privacy Officer.