Who wants to be an expert -- a weekly HIPAA message

November 19, 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's HIPAA message reviews the information shared during the past six weeks...let's see what you remember.

Questions:
1. Who may access confidential information?

2. Who is our privacy officer? Who is our information security officer?

3. Who is responsible for maintaining a secure environment and patient privacy?

4. We know that diagnoses and test results are confidential. What other information about a patient is confidential? What about billing records?

Answers:
1. Only those people who need access for business reasons and who have been authorized to receive it.

2. Sheila Wrobel is the Privacy Officer. Sharon Welna is the Information Security Officer.

3. Each one of us.

4. Essentially any information that is patient-identifiable, even the patient's address, is confidential and must be protected. Also, removal of the patient's name does not mean that the patient's identity is protected; other information such as a medical record number, prescription number, a ZIP code, or a date of birth could still be used to identify the person.

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.