What is TPO -- a weekly HIPAA message

February 18, 2003

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 explains Treatment, Payment and Healthcare operations (TPO).

Questions:
1. How can we use Protected Health Information in our daily work activities?

2. According to HIPAA, how are Treatment, Payment and Healthcare operations (TPO) defined?

Answers:
1. HIPAA does not fundamentally change the way we may use protected health information (PHI) in our daily work. HIPAA permits use and disclosure of PHI for treatment, payment and healthcare operations (TPO).

2. Treatment encompasses the care we provide to the patient. Payment includes billing and collection activities. Healthcare operations include all of our business activities, including teaching and training healthcare professionals. It does not include research.

It is very important to understand how we may use and disclose PHI under HIPAA. Refer to the Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information policy, Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information.

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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.