Privacy is something, which holds immense value for a lot of people. But providers of health care have not properly understood the value of this privacy since they freely distribute personal medical information regarding patients. This is a problem which is not only faced by elderly people who are sick but also by children who are students and going to university. Though many parents feel that their 18-year old is just a child, in the eyes of the law, he or she is considered to be an adult and totally capable of making his or her own decision. The need for privacy has now taken the shape of a legal rule. California has its won laws, which govern the privacy of medical information of patients. But in all other parts of the country, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA“) has been legally enforced.
People who are involved in the field of healthcare do not realize that they need not discuss the medical condition of the patient even with his or her spouse. According to a recent mandate which has been issued by the department of Health and Human Services, the doctors and other officials in the hospital need not discuss the medical condition of the patient even with the family members when the patient is lying in an unconscious state. They should make use of their common sense and sense of discretion in order to do what is best for the patient. The exact words of the mandate state “If the patient is not present or is incapacitated, a health care provider may share the patient’s information with family, friends, or others as long as the health care provider determines, based on professional judgment, that it is in the best interest of the patient.”
A doctor or surgeon who has performed some kind of emergency operation on the patient can inform the family members about the health condition of the patient even when the patient is unconscious. A pharmacist has the authority to provide a prescription to the friend of the patient who has been given the authority by the patient to come and collect the prescription. The hospital bill and expenses of the patient can be discussed between the doctor and the child of the patient who is an adult. The bills can be charged to the account of the spouse of the patient. When a health care provider needs some clarification about the dosage of medication being provided to the patient, he can obtain the required information from the health care center where the previous doses of medication have been administered to the patient.
Every patient should ensure that he or she signs all forms which are related to HIPAA so that they can ensure that their medical information will only be provided to their family members in the event of an emergency. It is advisable to contact an attorney who will assist you in the preparation of a HIPAA release form. This will also make sure that the health care providers will provide the information which will be needed by family members in order to make a decision at the right time.
Some people would have had the experience of having to deal with all the laws, rules and regulations which come under HIPAA or the health insurance portability and accountability act. This act has brought about a revolution in the field of health care and also the way in which data regarding health care has been managed. This act has also made the lives of people much easier by making the process of the changing of insurance companies and the procurement of new insurance policies much more simpler.
The most common way in which people come across HIPAA is when they have to sign release forms before going through with any kind of medical treatment. The signing of this form will give the health care center the right to share your medical information for the main purpose of administering the right kind of treatment. Before undergoing any kind of medical test like an X-Ray, the patient is required to sign a HIPAA form, which will give the health care center, the necessary permission to share the medical information with regard to the patient. The sharing of medical information will be an illegal procedure if the patient has not signed the HIPAA form. Even after the patient has signed the HIPAA form, the sharing of the medical data of the patient will only be permitted when it is really essential in order to administer the right kind of medical treatment for the patient. In this manner, HIPAA will ensure that all the medical records of the patient have been taken care of and protected in the right manner.
HIPAA also provides protection for the patient in the field of medical insurance coverage. People would normally lose their medical insurance coverage when they are changing their jobs and they would have to once again apply for medical insurance coverage when they are starting a new job in a new company. When a new medical insurance policy is being taken, the medical insurance company will create certain exclusions depending on any pre-existing medical conditions. But under the new regulations of HIPAA, the person gets credit from the coverage, which has been provided by the previous medical insurance policy. Now people can change companies as well as medical insurance policies without having to go through any kind of exclusion period due to their pre-existing medical conditions. This kind of benefit is very useful for people who have a sick member in the family who require medical attention. The maximum amount of premium, which can be paid by a person who has a sick family member, is also being regulated by HIPAA.
HIPAA is a set of rules and regulations which take care of the privacy of the medical information of people and it also provides people with the right kind of protection when they are change their medical insurance companies. The impact of HIPAA is dependent on the length of time for which medical insurance coverage has been provided under the previous health insurance program.