The laws under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) whether they are related to privacy or other issues have been framed around the patients, with comprehensive provisions in place to ensure a continual insurance cover to individuals and also for protecting their personal information. These laws have to understandably be followed by those entities that posses such data.However the HIPAA laws try to be as balanced as possible by providing all the concerned parties with adequate rights for safeguarding their respective interests. In accordance with such laws even the covered entities enjoy certain rights from HIPAA. The most prominent among them are healthcare providers like hospitals, because maximum contact with patients and exchange of information takes place at these facilities.
4 important rights given to such healthcare providers are listed below.• Managing Information: HIPAA laws clearly mention the limited circumstances in which the patients’ personal information can be disclosed, and any use other than the ones specified will invite penalties. But there are certain exceptions to this rule; the most important is the one that allows the healthcare providers to share information freely for the purpose of treatment. The information can be shared between the staff within the facility and even with concerned doctors and personnel from other providers. Furthermore even after taking due precautions there can be instances where there is incidental disclosure of information. For example a visitor may overhear the discussion between the hospital staff or catch a glimpse of a form being filled; all such cases are not deemed as violations thus providing the staff with a degree of protection.• Communication: If you are working within the facility of a healthcare provider then you are allowed to communicate with the family or friends of the patient for informing them about the patient’s condition, or in the event of the patient being incapacitated, and for any other matter that is in the interest of the patient. However you must avoid such a communication if the patient has explicitly objected to contacting the family.• Visits: Just like communication you can allow visits from the friends or family members of the patient and even from the local clergy, provided the visits are during the stipulated timings and with the consent of the patient.
• Anti-electronic: HIPAA has laid a fair amount of emphasis on the use of electronic medium and may be often perceived as being anti-electronic, but this is not the case. You can communicate with the patient, family, other providers and covered entities through non-electronic medium like telephones, facsimile (fax) and even letters, provided of course that all the measures to prevent the information from falling into wrong hands is taken.In addition to the above any criminal actions like child abuse can be reported to the relevant authorities without having to worry about HIPAA laws. You can see how the Act has granted healthcare providers with rights to ensure that it doesn’t come in your way when performing daily duties while also providing you with a level of protection, just like the patient.