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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Tuesday, 20 November 2007 23:50

HIPAA: The Race to Become Compliant

Written by  Ed Deveau

On August 21, 1996 the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) became a law. The primary intent of HIPAA is to provide the public with better access to health insurance, limit fraud and reduce healthcare companies' administrative costs. The Act also mandates that the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) develop standards and requirements for maintenance and transmission of health information that identifies individual patients.The requirements of HIPAA and DHHS are far reaching. All healthcare organizations that maintain or transmit electronic health information must become fully compliant, including health insurance companies and healthcare providers, such as pharmacies, large hospital networks, nursing homes and family practice physician offices. Healthcare companies must comply with the standards outlined in HIPAA within two years after the final regulations are imposed. Full compliance will be expected by the fall of 2002. HIPAA impacts the entire healthcare organization, not just the IT