What is HIPPA?

Privacy is a necessity when it comes to the medical field. In 1996 Congress passed the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPPA, to help ensure privacy is met for individuals. This
act was executed not only to protect privacy but to also sharpen the efficiency and effectiveness of the health
care system.

Remember going to the doctor, and once a year they would ask you to sign an updated privacy agreement?
That is because of HIPPA. HIPPA provides protection for individual’s confidential medical information. HIPPA
also protects health insurance coverage for individuals who lose and change jobs, institutes national standards
in regards to processing electronic healthcare transactions, oversees tax related provisions and guidelines for
medical care, constantly update and define health insurance reform and also helps in regards to individuals
who lose their citizenship for income tax purposes.

While privacy is the most well known component of HIPAA, it also provides for standardized transactions and
code sets.  This is the format requirements for how medical claims are sent and received for processing.  It also
establishes the code sets used.  

With technology and the medical field constantly changing, HIPPA is always evolving. Many healthcare
compliance departments have a HIPAA Privacy Officer and Security Officer in addition to the
Officer.  Depending on the size of the facility, the same person may serve as all three within the organization.