Legal Issues in Health Care: Regulation and Compliance Essay

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In any industry it can be very difficult to maintain privacy this is especially true when it comes to health care. “The privacy and security of patients’ medical records continue to challenge mental health practitioners in an ever-increasing electronic environment” (Letzring & Snow, 2011, Para. 1). Privacy and security is a challenge for all areas of health care not Just in mental health. In order to protect the rivacy of patients it is important to understand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or also known as HIPAA.Nature When looking at laws there are different natures, social, civil and criminal.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is social in nature. HIPAA was enacted to ensure that every patient has the right to health care privacy which then ensures better care for the patients. There have been times throughout history that patients were not willing to seek health care because they did not trust that information would be private and not disclosed. These patients were worried that the information provided would be used against them or even shared or chance of embarrassment.Giving the patient the feeling of security is gigantic in the health care industry.

When patient trusts the health care provider than the patient will be more willing to disclose more private information thus getting better care. HIPAA does not only help the individual patient but society as a whole. The more patients feel confident that the health care information will not be disclosed, used against them or even embarrass them the more the patients will go see a health care physical when it is eeded.This concept is very strong when the illness that needs to be treated is not socially accepted. A patient may have a fear to reach out and get treated.

This fear can be so extreme that the patient would rather spread the disease and make others sick than get the treatment. If the patients feel able to get treatment quickly there is a lower chance the disease will be spread throughout the community. Sources There has always been a need for privacy in the health care field. In the recent decades there have been many changes to the documentation in health care organizations.In an effort to be more efficient health care records are electronic which has a greater chance of being breached. With the new way to handle the health care records there needed to be a way to make sure that the patients’ private medical information be kept private.

In 1996 the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was established to provide standards and regulations (Granger, 2006). Then in 2001 there was an addition to HIPAA that introduced the “Privacy Rule” (Granger, 2006).The privacy portion of HIPAA is what is more known and understood to the patients. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was established federally which means that every health care organization is required to follow the regulations.

When HIPAA passed through congress it required that health care providers play a more hands on role when informing patients of their rights. Congress felt that too many patients were not educated on their rights and health care organization were not making any attempt to inform them of these rights.Functions When writing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act congress was ntending to have guidelines and standards which make this act very clear on its functions. It is and always will be a fine line between giving the patient the best health care possible and protecting the privacy of the patient. There have been times that this line is grey and needed the clarification.

HIPAA ensures that personal information is protected along with the patient. This information could be but is not limited to: medical records, address, what health care was provided, or mental or physical health (Granger, 2006).It was also intended to limit the disclosure of information and the request of this nformation. There are three categories that minimum disclosure: information required for treatment, information required for payment and information for performance of health care (Granger, 2006).

Some cases were information may be disclosed is information about the patient given directly to the patient, information requested by health care providers, and the patient specifically authorizes the disclosure and reporting information during an emergency, to name a few (Granger, 2006).If there are any infractions in an organization in regards to HIPAA there can be a large fine or even a lawsuit. Conclusion In the world today it can be difficult to ensure privacy and security due to the ever changing technology. In order to give patients an ease of mind when seeing a health care professional congress enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. There are many different aspects to the act but it is highly important to understand the nature, sources, and functions of the law.

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