HIPAA: More than an Acronym, It’s Your Health!
Have you ever heard the word HIPAA? It’s usually mentioned in those forms you sign before seeing the doctor. But what is it? And why is it so important?
What is HIPAA?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA was passed by Congress in 1996 and it has four basic parts:
- Allows for people to transfer or continue their health insurance coverage if they lose their job
- Reduces fraud and abuse within the health care system
- Created standards across the health care sector for information on electronic billing
- Requires that your protected health information is protected and handled in a confidential way
HIPAA created standards for medical care that are still followed today. The law made it so that as health information was kept safe when shared.
Why is it so Important?
So, what does HIPAA have to do with me? HIPAA determines how you are treated by your doctor. It also has rules for accessing your treatment information. Before 1996, there were no national standards for how health information was shared. Some doctors stored information more securely than others. Today, healthcare organizations have to protect:
- The information that any healthcare provider puts in your record
- Conversations your provider(s) have about your care/treatment
- Personal identifying information
- Your billing information
In addition, HIPAA means that patients have access to their health records. Patients have the right to know how their information is shared. As a patient you can even give or deny permission for it!
Let’s look at a real-life example! Pretend you have to go to your doctor’s office for an annual checkup. When you get there, you fill in your medical history. You also fill in your current address, social security number, and health insurance information. Would you fill all this in if you knew it would be shared? Probably not. If your doctor’s office posted your information on Facebook, you would be upset! Because of HIPAA rules, sharing this information could have serious consequences for your doctor. HIPAA makes sure your information is safe and sound!
HIPAA and Language Services
Just like with your doctor, you want your interpreter to keep your conversation confidential. This is the case with any professional interpreter or translator. Interpreters and translators go through HIPAA training. Their livelihoods depend on them not giving out patient information. If they did, no one would use them! People often don’t understand that professional interpreters and translators follow HIPAA rules. For example, at Acutrans we train all our linguists on these rules. Our interpreters and translators take HIPAA compliance training, sign a HIPAA agreement and code of ethics standards. By doing this, linguists help underserved communities access healthcare.
Acutrans commits to improving health equity and upholding HIPAA regulations. Our interpreters and translators are trained professionals. They always provide confidential services. Healthcare organizations and patients love our secure file sharing and storage. Acutrans worries about protected health information so that its clients don’t have to. Visit our website to learn more or request a quote today!