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HIPAA, NPP and Business Associate Agreements

What are your opinions and thoughts on: please note give opinions on ALL 3 questions: Thanks.

1. Why do you think HIPAA privacy is important to healthcare?

2. What is a NPP? Do you always need one?

3. Do you have business associate agreements in place at your work?

Solution Preview

Hi,

Interesting questions! Let's take a closer look through discussion and examples. I also attached an example of an HIPAA NPP for illustrative purposes.

RESPONSE:

1. Why do you think HIPAA privacy is important to healthcare?

Privacy and confidentiality are important to healthcare for several reasons. First, it is the ethical and legal responsibility to protect health related information. Thus, it keeps the healthcare organization from being sued and thus, out of court.

Privacy and confidentiality also is important for the business aspect of healthcare, so the patient can trust the organization to protect the privacy of her/his medical information and to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. This builds a trusting relationship and a good reputation for the healthcare organization. An organization with a good reputation draws in new patients and builds loyalty with existing patients. For example, "HIPAA privacy rules are designed to give patients the right to control who has access to such information. Communication of this information must remain private and limited to health care providers who need this information to manage diagnostic and treatment endeavors, and administer related healthcare operations (such as payment and insurance issues)" (http://www.genufix.com/hipaa.htm).

Examples of misuse of healthcare information might include: loss of employment because of potential downtime related to a medical condition, HIV status published in a newspaper, political and financial implications of "discovered" conditions such a physical and mental impairments, etc. (http://www.genufix.com/hipaa.htm).

2. What is a NPP? Do you always need one?

Yes, in compliance with HIPAA regulations.

NPP refers to a Notice of Protection, such as the HIPAA NPP (Notice of Privacy Protection) (see example at URL: http://www.genufix.com/hipaa.htm) which is summary of its privacy protection plan, but there is also a NPP form that healthcare organizations get patients to sign acknowledging the health organization's privacy and confidentiality practices.

There is also a NPP form that is given to the patient to sign. This form is a statement that the patient received a notice regarding the health organization's privacy and confidentiality practices. It has nothing to do with how they handle a patient's billing or registration. S/he do not have to sign the form, but if they do, it is put into their medical report. S/he ...

Solution Summary

Referring to HIPAA (1996), the importance is explored. It also explains NPP in terms of definition and requirements, as well as possible business associate agreements in place at a workplace.

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