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HIPAA: Past, Present and Future Implications for Nurses

Author(s): Flores, J., Dodier, A

Journal: Online Journal of Issues in Nursing
ISSN 1091-3734

Volume: 10;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: consumer-driven health plans | covered entities | Health Alert Network | HIPAA regulations | patient safety | personal health record

Congress enacted Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 to limit the ability of an employer to deny health insurance coverage to employees with preexisting medical conditions. The law also directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop privacy rules, including, but not limited to, the use of electronic medical records. This law has increased patient privacy, but in doing so has added to the financial burden, including personnel costs in health care. Nurses stand at the forefront in the resolution of the dilemma of patient privacy versus health care expediency. The purpose of this article is to assist nurses and other health care professionals to better understand their responsibilities regarding HIPAA regulations. First, responses to HIPAA regulations by covered entities to date, along with responses which are still needed, will be described. It will be noted that HIPAA is a work in progress and not a specific act . Next, future initiatives having HIPAA implications will be presented. In conclusion, the need for all covered entities and their personnel to look broadly at HIPAA as initiating a new way of work in health care will be emphasized.
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