The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA, PL104-191) was enacted to protect the privacy and availability of health insurance coverage and medical information.
The law’s primary goals include:
- Protecting health insurance coverage for workers and their families in the event that the insured employee changes or loses a job;
- Safeguarding the security and confidentiality of patient health information;
- Establishing standards for the electronic exchange of health care information.
Title II of the law, known as the “administrative simplification” provision, required national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers. The standards are meant to improve health care efficiency and effectiveness by encouraging the use of electronic data interchange in the nation’s health care system.
The AAFP understands the importance of insurance portability for our patients and is committed to improving the efficient exchange of medical data. We are similarly supportive of HIPAA’s patient privacy objectives, providing these regulations do not undermine quality of care and are balanced against the practical realities that physicians face.
HIPAA has had a major impact on our health care system and on the practice of primary care medicine. The AAFP will continually monitor any proposed changes in the scope and reach of the law to ensure that HIPAA’s impact remains consistent with its intent.
Joint Letter to CMS on Social Security Number Removal Initiative - May 11, 2017(5 page PDF)
AAFP Letter to VA on Transmission of HIV and Sickle Cell Patient Data - Septemner 28, 2016(1 page PDF)
AAFP Letter to SAMHSA on Confidentiality of Substance Abuse Patient Records - April 8, 2016(3 page PDF)
AAFP Letter to CMS on Proposed Rule to Expand Medicare Data Usage - March 23, 2016(2 page PDF)
AAFP Letter to CMS on Transitional Care Management Codes - March 15, 2016(2 page PDF)
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