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HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The most well-known provision of HIPAA is the portion that set national standards for health privacy. It gives patients more control over who is able to access and share their health information. 

What rights do patients have?

Under HIPAA, patients have the right to:

  • Right to access their health information
  • Request a copy. Should arrive within 30 days.
  • Restrict who your health information is given to
  • Monitor or change how information is used and shared
  • Be notified of a breach of health information no later than 60 days after the discovery of the breach

Who are the health organizations or entities that must comply with HIPAA?

Health care providers that must comply with HIPAA privacy standards include, but are not limited to:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Insurers
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Clinics
  • Psychologists
  • Dentists
  • Pharmacies
  • Chiropractors

What information does HIPAA protect?

Referred to as protected health information (PHI), any health information that explicitly identifies or could identify an individual should not be shared or transmitted. Health information transmitted electronically, via paper, orally or recorded in any other form or medium. 

When is health information allowed to be shared?

Health information can be shared in certain circumstances, like when it is in the interest of your health (i.e. your doctor consulting with a specialist/another doctor to get an accurate diagnosis) or with your friends or family upon your consent. If you are incapacitated or in an emergency situation, health care providers can share relevant information with the appropriate people.

For more on HIPAA, click here.