New Additions to HIPAA Law- What NP’s Need to Know

As if HIPAA law isn’t already long enough, legislators have added 563 pages of new regulations to legal guidelines protecting patient privacy and information.  What do you need to know about the additions to HIPAA law as a nurse practitioner?

New HIPAA regulations promise to further protect patient information in an increasingly digital era.  Since HIPAA was enacted in 1996, sweeping changes have been made to technology necessitating an update to outdated privacy laws.

Original HIPAA regulations focused on regulating health care providers, insurance plans and entities processing insurance claims.  The new additions to HIPAA law extend privacy protection to businesses that receive protected health information such as subcontractors.  New restrictions on using private health information for fundraising and marketing purposes have also been imposed.

On an individual level, updated HIPAA regulations allow patients to request a copy of their electronic medical record in an electronic format.  Patients may also pay cash for healthcare services instructing their provider not to share any information about the encounter with their insurance plan.  Updates to HIPAA law also promise to make sharing a child’s immunization records with a school much easier.

Genetic information is also addressed in the recent HIPAA update.  Use of genetic information cannot be used for health plan underwriting.  For example, if genetic testing indicates you are at increased risk for a certain type of cancer, health insurance companies cannot charge more for your health plan based on this genetic information.

Concerned about keeping up to date with recent HIPAA changes in your practice?  Although the new HIPAA rules go into effect March 26, 2013 you have a 180-day grace period to become completely compliant.


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