HIPAA FAQs
 
 

HIPAA FAQs

At BayCare, we strive to meet the needs of reporters and other media representatives within the framework of applicable law and the health system's policies and procedures. To learn more about HIPAA and how patient information may be disclosed, please review the following Frequently Asked Questions.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA is an acronym that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA includes the Privacy and Security regulations which govern the protection and security of protected health information.

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When did the law go into effect?

HIPAA regulations became effective on April 14, 2001, and April 14, 2003 is the date on which hospitals must have been in compliance with the HIPAA privacy rule. The rule governs the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information. Among its provisions are standards for releasing medical information about patients to the media and clergy.

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What kind of organizations, specifically, are subject to the HIPAA guidelines?

All health care providers, including hospitals, physicians, emergency medical or ambulance personnel who transmit protected health information in electronic form in connection with certain administrative and financial transactions are subject to the requirements of the rule. Police, firefighters and family members are not considered covered entities under HIPAA.

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How does HIPAA affect the media?

HIPAA's privacy standards place new limitations on hospitals’ ability to release information about patients to the media. This may represent a significant change over previous practices in obtaining patient condition reports and accessing patients for interviews.

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How did HIPAA change the way medical providers may release patient information?

Under HIPAA regulations, BayCare hospitals will maintain a directory of patients who have given their consent for release of certain protected health information, which includes their general condition and location in the facility. Patients have the right to object to or restrict the use or disclosure of information contained in the directory. If a patient does not object to this information being included in a hospital directory, a reporter asking for the patient by name can be privy to the general condition of the patient. If caller does not ask for the patient by name, no protected health information about the patient may be disclosed.

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What type of information does HIPAA protect?

HIPAA protects a patient's demographic, medical, and financial information whether it is in paper, electronic or verbal format.

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Who can I call if I am concerned that my privacy has been violated?

You may call BayCare's Corporate Responsibility/Privacy Department at 1-855-466-6677.

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