Getting Started with HIPAA: The Basics

If your company touches health information, regardless of industry, chances are you’re working in a HIPAA-compliant environment. What are the basics and how do you stay compliant? Here you will find a quick guide to HIPAA for employers and employees alike.

In 1996, the United States government and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to establish rules and protect private health information.

In general, HIPAA’s privacy rules are as follows:

  • Require covered entities to inform individuals of their privacy practices
  • Set boundaries on the use and disclosure of protected health information
  • Create individual rights to access, copy and amend protected health information
  • Protect against unauthorized use of protected health information for employment-related decisions
  • Establish accountability for inappropriate use and disclosure of protected health information by covered entities

For employers (and their employees), effective compliance of these general rules and the more complicated inner-workings of the law requires both a deep understanding and knowledge on how to apply HIPAA rules correctly. Where do you even begin?

Start by learning the basic terms associated with HIPAA (covered entity, protected health information and business associate) and the five key components of the privacy rules:

1. HIPAA Privacy Rule - Established the basic requirements for uses and disclosures of protected health information and the right of individuals concerning their information

2. HIPAA Security Rule - Established special requirements that apply to electronically protected health information

3. HIPAA Enforcement Rule - Established standards regarding the enforcement of the privacy rules

4. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Rule - Established special requirements and protections for genetic information

5. HITECH Rule - Revised the requirements that apply to third-party administrators and other business associates, as well as expanded the rights of individuals and their protected health information

While knowledge of the basic terms and the privacy rules is key, every company is different and, with that, so is the training necessary to properly outfit staff to correctly follow the HIPAA guidelines.

That’s where the online HIPAA training that DHS Group offers comes in. The online training expands on the topics above and trains employees to not only understand the complicated HIPAA rules but also how to apply them correctly. Additionally, it provides scheduling flexibility and the ability to customize each and every training program to the specific needs of the employer – helping each organization complete the proper steps to fully comply with HIPAA’s privacy rules and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s requirements.

Interested in learning more about next steps? Click here to read more about our HIPAA training program and contact one of our Business Development Managers for more information by following the button below.