Patient privacy is an issue that demands serious legal attention. This is nowhere more true than in the very sensitive area of healthcare providers amassing great stores of personal information related to the patients they treat. The advent of the Internet has made it easier than ever to have all of the confidential information given by a patient available to access at any time. This confidential data is more valuable than ever, and is thus more susceptible to be mined or otherwise misused by unethical criminal parties for their private gain.
Are There Measures In Place To Protect The Information Of Patients?
As noted above, the possibility of this information being sold or misused in various unethical ways is a very great source of concern. The public has naturally demanded full protection. This is why the Federal government has taken steps to ensure that such actions do not occur. In the event that they do occur, they will be punished in a prompt and severe fashion. Recent state and Federal laws have been passed that deal expressly with this very sensitive legal issue.
What Is HIPAA And How Does It Apply To Your Practice?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was set up in 1996 with the express purpose of protecting the private information of patients who submit this information to various healthcare practices during the course of their treatment. The initial purpose of HIPAA was to simplify the administrative process that governs the protection of confidential patient information. As the Internet has developed, HIPAA has been progressively expanded in order to provide more up to date and effective protection.
What Types Of Practices Do HIPAA Compliance Laws Apply To?
If you are the owner of a healthcare practice that submits claims to Medicare, Medicaid, or other services, the HIPAA compliance laws will apply directly to you. These laws have been enacted with the special purpose of protecting the private information (personal as well as billing related) of the patients that you have under your personal care at the institution you own or manage. This includes private practices, hospitals, hospices, and other types of healthcare facilities. The HIPAA laws apply with especially force to claims that are submitted electronically, i.e., over the Internet.
What Kind Of Personal Information Is Covered Under HIPAA Rules?
All information regarding the treatment and billing of patients who are being treated in your practice is covered under the complex set of rules enacted by the HIPAA. This means that you could be held liable for any breach of this information, especially if this information is unlawfully transmitted by electronic means. If you are proven to be the one responsible for such a breach, you could be subject to severe penalties, including loss of your license, heavy fines, and prison time.
When Is The Best Time To Consult A Houston HIPAA Compliance Lawyer?
It’s an excellent idea to hire the services of a professional Houston HIPAA compliance lawyer as soon as you open your practice. This way, you will have professional legal advice on hand at all times in order to guide you in your day to day dealings with patients. The individual laws and regulations that make up HIPAA are very complex and subject to change without prior notice. They can be very difficult to get a handle on, particularly if you are engaged in the day to day operations of your practice and not in a position to pay particularly close attention to the latest developments.
Professional Legal Guidance Is A Must To Protect Your Practice
This is precisely why you will need to engage the advice and counsel of a reputable and professional Houston HIPAA compliance attorney. With expert legal advice in your corner, you can navigate this complex legal web and ensure that your practice will be safe from liability in the event of a lawsuit or other action brought by the state or Federal government. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This is why your HIPAA compliance lawyer is on hand to protect your interests and keep you abreast of the latest changes in the law. Professional legal guidance is an absolute must if you value your practice.