When you visit our office it is very important that you feel safe in telling your doctor personal information that may be required to fully diagnose or treat a problem. As medical professionals, please be assured that our practice has always had strict policies and procedures to protect the confidentiality of the information that you have entrusted to us. However, on April 14, 2003, new regulations became effective under a federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act(“HIPAA”). HIPAA regulations cover physicians and all other health care providers, health insurance companies and their claims processing staffs. In general, HIPAA was enacted to establish national standards to:
- Give Patients more control over their health information;
- Set boundaries for the use and release of health records;
- Establish safeguards that physicians, health plans, and other healthcare providers must have in place to protect the privacy of health information;
- Hold violators accountable, with civil and criminal penalties:and
- Try to balance need for individual privacy with requirement for public responsibility that requires disclosure to protect the public health.
The HIPAA rules require that our practice provide all of our patients that we see after April 14, 2003 with the attached Notice of Privacy Practices. The Notice describes how the medical information we receive from you may be used or disclosed by our practice and your rights related to your access to this information.