Inquiring minds want to know -- a weekly HIPAA message

October 15, 2002

picture disc.HIPAA, the "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996," provides federal protection of patient health information. You will be receiving weekly messages to help you understand the topic and how it impacts your job. Today, you'll learn about protected health information and who has access to it?

Questions:

1. What is protected health information (or PHI)?

2. Who may access protected health information (PHI)?

Answers:

1. PHI is individually identifiable health information. HIPAA governs the use and disclosure of PHI.

2. Only those people who need access to the information in order to perform their duties ("need to know") and who have been authorized to receive it. Accessing confidential information to satisfy an inquiring mind is not permitted.

picture disc. If you're a manager, please ensure all of your employees are informed of the contents of these messages and how it applies to your work area. Some ways of sharing the information include discussions during staff meetings, printing and posting this message or asking your employees if they have any further questions.