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HIPAA: Seting Ethical Client Boundaries 
3 CEUs HIPAA: Seting Ethical Client Boundaries

Section 9
HIPAA: Implications for Practice

Question 9 | Ethics CEUs Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Confidentiality CEU Courses
Social Worker CEUs, Psychologist CEs, Counselor CEUs, MFT CEUs

Although HIPAA was enacted in part to simplify administrative processes and reduce costs associated with claims transactions, implementation of the act initially will result in increased operating costs for most institutions and individuals. A large portion of these increased costs will be due to consulting and legal fees, additional operations personnel, and information systems development and integration. Once the requisite processes and integrated information systems are in place, however, healthcare organizations should begin to enjoy the intended administrative-simplification benefits of HIPAA.

By contrast, the continuing efforts required to ensure compliance with the HIPAA privacy standards, unlike the efforts to meet the Act's administrative-simplification requirements, represent significant costs to healthcare organizations for implementation and ongoing maintenance of compliance systems and processes that may not necessarily be offset by future savings.

The HIPAA standards also may impede the flow of information because of the limits they impose on access to information. Moreover, the need to comply with the new standards will add complexities to ensuring the free flow of information among certain healthcare professionals and institutions trying to coordinate patient care.

Another difficult challenge involves ensuring the HIPAA compliance of the individuals and business partners and associates with which healthcare organizations often must share patient information (eg, vendors, attorneys, and consultants). It will be very difficult for healthcare organizations to monitor or influence the compliance of these outside entities even though they will have the potential to create compliance problems for the healthcare organizations. To address this concern, healthcare organizations will need to craft written contracts governing privacy issues where none may exist today. Moreover, numerous amendments to existing contracts will have to be effected to ensure compliance. New terms and conditions will have to be negotiated, and legal counsel will need to be consulted.

Among the most difficult issues to be addressed will be the requirements that covered entities provide individuals with effective notice and an accounting of all disclosures and submit to requests by individuals to amend or correct their information. Meeting these requirements could be a herculean administrative task, especially if compliance must extend to e-communications.

Finally, the implications of the proposed standards for e-health companies are particularly significant. Telemedicine, videostreaming, e-connectivity, and other e-health activities would be affected in that e-health companies that provide such services to covered entities are likely to be called upon by those entities to warrant that they are HIPAA-compliant and to enter into written agreements obligating them to abide by HIPAA's requirements.

Conclusion
The privacy standards seek to provide necessary protections for individuals with respect to personal information about their health status and other health-related concerns. The hope is that such protections will facilitate the free flow of information without being unreasonably obtrusive. One of the biggest challenges ahead may be to ensure that these much-needed protections do not interfere with the standardization, consistency, and sharing of information that healthcare providers require to ensure the provision of effective care.
- DeMuro, Paul & Andrew Gantt; HIPAA privacy standards raise complex implementation issues; Healthcare Financial Management; Jan 2001; Vol. 55; Issue 1.
The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.

Personal Reflection Exercise #5
The preceding section contained information about implications for practice for HIPAA privacy issues.  Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your practice.

Ethics CEUs QUESTION 9
What will be a challenge concerning healthcare organizations ensuring HIPAA compliance? Record the letter of the correct answer the Ethics CEUs Answer Booklet

 
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The article above contains foundational information. Articles below contain optional updates.
Compliance Front And Center As HHS Keeps Up HIPAA Heat - Law360 (subscription) - April 06, 2017

Compliance Front And Center As HHS Keeps Up HIPAA Heat
Law360 (subscription)
This attention on documentation of HIPAA compliance is likely the result of the OCR's recent HIPAA audit, the frequent assessments of large civil penalties for HIPAA violations by the OCR, and the U.S. Department of Justice Fraud Section's new formal ...

From Collector: Clearing the Hurdles - ACA International - April 25, 2017

From Collector: Clearing the Hurdles
ACA International
If you collect medical debt, that's old news— your clients have likely required you to be HIPAA compliant for years. But here's something Mark Hinely, Esq., regulatory compliance specialist at KirkpatrickPrice LLC, says he often hears from covered ...
Finxera Receives SOC 2 Type I Attestation, HIPAA Security Rule Compliance Report, and PCI RepoVirtual-Strategy Magazine

all 2 news articles »
Former OCR Advisor on HIPAA Compliance and Data Breaches: “This is a Management Problem, Not a User Problem” - Healthcare Informatics - April 13, 2017

Healthcare Informatics

Former OCR Advisor on HIPAA Compliance and Data Breaches: “This is a Management Problem, Not a User Problem”
Healthcare Informatics
The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has stepped up its enforcement activities in recent years, and 2016 was a very busy year in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforcement activity. In ...
Metro Community Provider Network agrees to $400k HIPAA settlementBecker's Hospital Review
Health Center Agrees to $400K OCR HIPAA SettlementHealthITSecurity.com
Overlooking risks leads to breach, $400,000 settlement | HHS.govU.S. Department of Health and Human Services

all 8 news articles »
United States: HHS Expected to Release Significant HIPAA Privacy Guidance This Year; Compliance Audits Proceed ... - Mondaq News Alerts (registration) - March 29, 2017

United States: HHS Expected to Release Significant HIPAA Privacy Guidance This Year; Compliance Audits Proceed ...
Mondaq News Alerts (registration)
On March 27, 2017, Iliana Peters, Senior Adviser for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) spoke about OCR enforcement, current trends, and breach reporting statistics ...

and more »

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