HIPAA Compliance Practice Tips
Lynn S. Muller RN, BA-HCM, CCM, JD

Professional Case Management
August 2014 
Volume 19  Number 4
Pages 191 - 193
  PDF Version Available!

When it comes to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), it seems that somebody is always trying to complicate things. More and more, questions regarding HIPAA compliance seem to relate, not to complex platform, encryption or data storage issues, but to duties health practitioners have had since they became practitioners: the duty to protect patient confidentiality and respect privacy. There is an old saying that is abbreviated as "K.I.S.S.": Keep It Simple Sweetie, which just might be the answer.Every time I think enough has been said about HIPAA, I find that the hunger for plain and simple answers to compliance questions simply does not end. I thought my clients were asking particularly obvious questions, until I realized that similar questions are being asked all over the country. I was contacted by a relatively small provider practice who asked, Can I send our treatment notes to a physician? After a few questions and determining that it was actually the referring physician who was making the request, in anticipation of a follow-up visit with the patient, the answer was quick and easy. Of course, a physician who is actively participating in the patient's treatment can have access to treatment notes. This is a prime example of the exceptions contained in the HIPAA regulations; this aspect of HIPAA has been in effect, modified, and updated for more than 10 years. In fact, there has never been a prohibition restraining one covered entity (CE) from conveying protected health information (PHI) to another CE on behalf of a shared patient. There are many sources for information regarding HIPAA compliance, but my preference is to go to the source; the actual regulation or official Web sites, such as http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/index.html . There you will find reliable and updated information."What are Treatment, Payment, and Health Care Operations? The core health care activities of "Treatment," "Payment," and "Health Care Operations" are defined

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