HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is a federal law enacted in 1996 to protect the privacy and security of individuals’ personal health information (PHI). The law sets national standards for the collection, use, and disclosure of PHI by covered entities, such as healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses, as well as their business associates.
HIPAA’s Privacy Rule establishes rules for how covered entities must handle and protect individuals’ PHI, including how it can be used and disclosed. Under the rule, covered entities are required to obtain written authorization from patients before using or disclosing their PHI for purposes other than treatment, payment, or healthcare operations. They must also provide patients with notice of their privacy practices and establish administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of PHI.
HIPAA’s Security Rule sets standards for the security of electronic PHI (ePHI) maintained by covered entities, requiring them to implement measures to protect against unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of ePHI. Covered entities must also establish contingency plans in case of a data breach or other emergency situations that could compromise the security of ePHI. Failure to comply with HIPAA’s privacy and security rules can result in significant penalties and legal consequences.
HIPAA in Personal Injury Representation:
HIPAA regulations can have implications for personal injury representation when it comes to obtaining medical records and using them as evidence in a case. Personal injury attorneys often need access to a client’s medical records to build a case and prove the extent of their injuries and damages. However, HIPAA regulations require covered entities to obtain written authorization from patients before disclosing their PHI, including medical records.
To obtain medical records, personal injury attorneys typically obtain written authorization from their clients to request the records from healthcare providers. The authorization must comply with HIPAA regulations and include specific information, such as the purpose of the request and the individuals authorized to receive the records. Attorneys must also take care to protect the confidentiality and security of the medical records they obtain and use in the case.
HIPAA regulations also require personal injury attorneys to take appropriate measures to protect the privacy and security of their clients’ PHI during the course of the case. This includes ensuring that any PHI they obtain or use is necessary and relevant to the case and that it is shared only with authorized individuals involved in the case. Attorneys must also implement appropriate administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the PHI.