Beebe Medical Center is Ready for April 14 HIPAA Deadline
Beebe Medical Center has been preparing diligently and will meet the April 14, 2003 deadline by which all of America’s hospitals must comply with the new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations. Beebe Medical Center, along with most healthcare organizations, has always prioritized patient privacy. The new HIPAA regulations provide additional benefits for patients by strengthening and setting national standards for the privacy of our medical information. The rules also give patients more control over persons who can access their private medical information.
During patient registration at Beebe Medical Center, patients will be asked to sign a Notice of Privacy Practices explaining their privacy rights and how the medical center may use and disclose their information. In addition, the new regulations will mean that patients being admitted to the hospital will have an opportunity to “opt out” or have their names and location removed from the Inpatient Directory Census. Opting out means the hospital will not disclose information about their admission as a patient in the hospital. Patients also will need to determine whether they would like clergy members to know they are in the hospital.
Preparation for HIPAA compliance has required healthcare organizations to make many operational changes. Beebe Medical Center has provided extensive training and education about the new medical privacy rules to all of our employees.
HIPAA regulations were established in 1996 and became effective on April 14, 2001, after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information,” applicable to entities covered by HIPAA. The official deadline by which hospitals must be in compliance with the new HIPAA privacy rules is April 14, 2003. All health care providers, including hospitals, physicians and emergency medical or ambulance personnel that transmit protected health information in electronic form in connection with certain administrative and financial transactions are considered covered entities, and therefore are subject to HIPAA requirements.