Protecting the Privacy of Patients' Health Information
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA):
Congress called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue patient privacy protections as part of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). On April 14, 2003, the first-ever federal privacy standards to protect patients' medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers took effect. These new standards provide patients with access to their medical records and more control over how their personal health information is used and disclosed. Existing California law which provides additional protection to consumers is not affected by this new federal regulation.
As HIPAA is a federal regulation, the Medical Board has no authority to evaluate concerns related to HIPAA implementation or violations. Further information about HIPAA can be obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights through their Web site: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/.