Archive for HIPAA

Watch Out for HIPAA!

Hippo

HIPAA . . . or did you say Hippo?

When hearing the acronym HIPAA, I often imagine a hippo.

A hippopotamus (meaning water horse from the Greek) is the third largest land animal. Cumbersome and thick-skinned, it appears to have been created by a committee forced into decisions before a deadline eliminated funding. Remarkably, the massive mammal is fast, whether running or swimming. Don’t linger if a hippo suddenly veers toward you for a meet and greet!

Maybe I think of hippo and HIPAA for another reason: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) could also be labeled big and cumbersome.

Don’t get in its way either!

HIPAA irks me. I rarely remember the acronym’s letters: HIPPA, HPPA, or HIPAH? And I usually fail to correctly identify what each of the letters represent. Doesn’t the “I” mean Information and shouldn’t the “P” be for Patient? Why, please, was the awkward “portability” ever considered as a useful word for the average consumer?

And HIPAA was designed with the average consumer in mind. The simplest way of understanding HIPAA is that it protects an individual’s medical and health data. (If you want a more complicated official explanation, you can look here.) Every health-related agency, including hospices, must follow HIPAA guidelines. If HIPAA is the Pied Piper, health care agencies are the ones trailing right behind. Every consumer—a.k.a., you the citizen, you the patient, you who accumulates massive amounts of health-related data from birth—is guaranteed privacy because of the 1996 act passed during President Clinton’s administration.

My dislike of HIPAA has other reasons. Read More →

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