HITECH's Impact on HIPAA Laws
HITECH is the Health Information Technology for Economics and Clinical Health Act and was enacted in 2009. HITECH basically makes the HIPAA laws, rules, and regulations stronger by creating rules regarding the privacy and security of the transmission of electronic health information. For example, the HITECH act allows for patients to request an audit trail of disclosures having to do with their PHI (protected health information). HITECH also requires that individuals be notified if their is a breach of confidentiality of their electronic health information. An example of a breach of information might be if an office computer was stolen and contained patient information on it. Another breach may be if an employee was found to be copying patient information for unethical purposes. The hope of the HITECH act was to make EHRs (Electronic Health Record) have meaningful use, and to further protect patients from unlawful use or disclosure of their healthcare information.
Understanding Medical Billing and Coding – HITECH's Impact on HIPAA
As we well know, HIPAA laws were enacted to protect patient information, make health insurance portable, an to protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information. HIPAA also sought to control administrative costs. Basically, the HITECH Act of 2009 added bulk and strength to the HIPAA laws where it pertains to the electronic transmission of protected health information.
As a medical billing student or professional, it is up to you to form your own opinions and conclusions if you feel these acts and laws are doing their job properly, appropriately, and efficiently. From a jobs creation perspective, the new healthcare legislation has created a situation where more people are seeking healthcare services; thus, opening the door to more healthcare jobs and opportunities. It's a great time to enter the healthcare field as a medical billing professional.
By: Dawn Moreno, PhD, CBCS, CMAA, MTC. Lives in the beautiful Southwest United States and has been an instructor for medical coding/billing for the past 7 years. Interested in quality medical billing training? More Information about Medical Billing Services
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