Considerations for patient privacy might not be top of mind in an emergency. Doctors must always be mindful of HIPAA privacy rules and their requirements. HIPAA exceptions apply under certain circumstances. Being aware of them helps you deal with those medical situations more effectively.
In 1996 New federal regulations were passed. Though the HIPAA exceptions for emergency cases were not specified. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued an advisory in 2014. It was done in response to public health emergencies around the world. This advisory made clear how protected health information (PHI) could be utilized in an emergency without breaking the law.
What is HIPAA Privacy Rule?
Following organizations are now required to follow HIPAA privacy regulations:
- Healthcare providers
- Healthcare clearinghouses
- Essential business associates
- Any organization accessing or transferring patient data
Accountability for these businesses is maintained throughout the file transfer process. If your business belongs to the medical industry, you must take the HIPPA course. Taking an online HIPPA course from American HealthCare Academy will help you understand the compliances. Let’s understand what is the minimum necessary rule in HIPPA. The HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules are enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HIPAA Privacy Rule suggests that:
- encrypting the patient files with their private and medical information is a must
- applying access passwords
- training all the staff is a must in security best practices.
HIPAA Privacy Rule is required by the law to make sure that organizations that store or use PHI/PII regularly must evaluate ways to better protect customer data. This is because most businesses want to prevent breaches and severe fines. Ultimately, the HIPAA Privacy Rule aims to strike a balance between patient confidentiality, and effective communication between businesses and health providers.
Five Main HIPAA Components
There are two sets of HIPAA regulations:
- the HIPPA Privacy Rule
- the HIPPA Security Rule
To achieve complete HIPAA compliance, each HIPAA security requirement must be followed. What are the components of HIPAA? Below are the five main HIPPA components that address the internal and external threats that organizations face:
1. Data transfer
Performing safety measures in case data transfers are taking place outside of electronic systems. Maintaining thorough records of all file transfers fastens the:
- auditing process
- increases accountability
- reduces risk.
2. Patient rights
Patients have the right to know who has access to their information and what information is shared with third parties about their health. Medical practices must help patients in this process.
3. Partner compliance
Patient consent is required before data can be legally transferred to another healthcare provider. And the recipient partner of the patient information must be HIPPA compliant.
4. Limited access
Restricting all PII should, including access to patient medical records. Physical files should always be kept safe and secure in secured filing cabinets. When files are withdrawn for secretarial or professional reasons, they should be kept away from public view and access.
5. Privacy Officer
Appointing a Privacy Officer due to the sensitive nature of the data at stake. A Privacy Officer has the following duties:
- creating a plan for privacy compliance
- supervising its implementation
- updating the plan and workers on any regulatory changes
- addressing any privacy violations or claims of noncompliance.
Exceptions to HIPAA Privacy Rule
The HIPAA Privacy Rule permits the following exceptions in an emergency:
- to care for patients as required
- to prevent or control sickness, disability, or injury, turn to public health authorities.
- to foreign government entities according to a public health authority’s directive.
- to anyone who could be at risk for illness.
- to a person’s family or other caregivers, including notifying the general public.
- to those who are in immediate danger.
- to make public directory-level details about a patient’s general condition.
How serious is a HIPAA violation?
The penalties for violating HIPAA Privacy Rules can be very severe. Legal authorities like judges have issued hefty fines to the violators costing them millions of dollars. Not just healthcare providers, individuals can also receive fines.
You can get HIPPA certified from American HealthCare Academy. Our HIPAA course provides fundamental training in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This HIPAA training program adheres to the federal regulations and data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.