How HIPAA Protects Those Going Into Treatment

Dr. Seuss, also known as Theodor Geisel, was a children’s author who often wrote in rhyming couplets to convey his message. In a story named ‘The Lorax’ he writes about a character that annals the predicament of the environment in a manner that “speaks for the trees”. In a poetic rhythm confronting the Once-ler, the Lorax elaborates upon the environmental degradation of the planet and how change is obligatory for their future. In doing so, the Lorax stressly explains “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better-it’s not”.

Now these are absolutely wise words, but this isn’t about Mother Earth at the moment. The message delivered through such simple articulation can be applied to all sorts of areas of life, especially to that of alcoholic thinking. We all go through different and similar trials in life, however, only somebody with alcoholic thinking knows of the disparity caused by such a disease. This same somebody should also know what it takes to put that obsession behind them, and if they don’t, they should be made aware so. If only we all had our own personal Lorax for recovery.

A large portion of us chemical dependents wind up in some institution or another to finally address our alcoholic thinking. In doing so, there are usually all sorts of forms/documents that are signed to prohibit future problems that address the law and the rights of men/women. This is where the “somebody’s caring a whole awful lot” come in. This is where HIPAA comes in, allowing you to keep your anonymity and privacy once admitted into treatment. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a federal legislation that mandates confidentiality at its finest. This is a faction of the government that protects those going into treatment when sensitivity is needed most.

Treatment Privacy

HIPAA is essentially a large privacy rule in which all medical practitioners have to abide by. Not just practitioners, but anybody working in a medical facility that has a client to superior relationship or is a subcontractor in any form having to do with the medical issues or patients at hand. This well received federal law gives you rights over your health information and sets rules and limits on who can look at and receive your health information. It protects those going into treatment by giving them more control over their personal health information while setting boundaries on the use and release of health records. HIPAA has four main purposes that consist of:

  • Privacy of Health Information
  • Security of Electronic Records
  • Administrative Simplification
  • Insurance Portability

The act itself applies to all forms of protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral. What this helps to ensure is a closed mouth policy in open door policy establishments. This bill signed by Bill has changed a lot in the health fields of America. It was signed in 1996 and has changed the game as far as confidentiality goes.

With established Health Institution laws in place, we the patients are protected in a comforting manner in regards to our personal information. Any information that doctors, nurses, or other health care providers put into a medical record is only allowed to be viewed by that specific physician. This includes conversations had with the doctor, or conversations the doctor has with another doctor in regards to your file. This vulnerable information is confined along with your billing, insurance, living, or any other information regarding personal details.

Personal Protection

So how is this law implemented nationally? It seems as if there is a lot to uphold in order to not break any federal laws. Well, there is a lot to pay attention to, but it’s a matter of being able to address specific situations only when appropriate. For starters, this federally regulated consent takes more than just giving your word.

Most practices, rehabilitation facilities, and health facilities require some form of special training to adhere to the law. This is to ensure that HIPAA laws are not broken and unnecessary prison time isn’t sentenced upon anyone. More so it establishes appropriate safeguards that health care providers and others must adhere to in order to protect the privacy of health information. It also holds individuals who violate such laws accountable to federal or state charges when disregarding such. This idea here covers the transference of any personal health info to any other medical personnel- hence explaining the “Portability” part of HIPAA.

To top that little bit of protection off, there is the fact that any information to be released outside of medical officials must be signed by the patient in question. This means that if Billy Bob gets in a car accident, winding up in the hospital, the practitioners on the scene cannot contact anybody but emergency contacts only. Still even in a state of emergency, your privacy is your privacy.

Confidentiality At It’s Finest

Making sure your personal information is not disclosed without your permission is the driving force behind the act. It gives patients the right to examine and obtain a copy of their own health records and request corrections. In other words, HIPAA allows individuals to control the uses and disclosures of their health information at their own discretion. Who the patient wants to be involved with their case and how many people to be involved is entirely up to them at the end of the day. All the basic rights as human beings are covered at any time while being under the supervision of such institutions and there is a level of comfort that comes along.