The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. The main element of the Act is that it is a law which guarantees and protects health insurance for workers and their families in cases where they lose their jobs. The Act led to the creation of national standards for electronic health care and the linkage of health care to the identity of individuals, health insurance companies and employers. Privacy is a major element of the Act and it provides a digitalization and computerization of the administration of health insurance for workers in the United States.
History of the HIPAA Regulations
As a background to the Act, it must be noted that there was a series of uncoordinated Acts that covered healthcare and health information of patients. These laws were somewhat remote and they did not create direct obligations on practitioners in the health sector. In other words, people whose information was abused in the health sector could raise civil cases. However, there were no direct laws that criminalized the abuse of privileged information in the health sector. Thus, there was a general need for the creation of a single unified law that dealt with the issue.
The HIPAA regulations came to force in 1996 after a number of concerns were raised in relation to confidentiality rules and principles. At the heart of the factors that forced the creation of the HIPAA law is the landmark case of Jaffee V Redmond (1996). In the case, Jaffee was a police officer who shot a person on the grounds that the individual was wielding a deadly weapon and was chasing another person. ...