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Administrative Ethics-HIPAA - Essay Example

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The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is an enactment by Congress primarily meant to protect workers from losing their health cover whenever they lose or change jobs. …
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Administrative Ethics-HIPAA
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Administrative Ethics-HIPAA

The specifics of these objectives are highlighted under Title II and I respectively. Section one embodies the protection of health covers for workers and their families. This part is meant to ensure easy transfer of health insurance covers from an old employer to a new employer or at least guarantee the continuation of cover in the event of job loss. On the other hand, section II details administrative specifics under Administrative Simplification (AS) (Banks, 2006). The AS section dictates requirements in establishing nationwide standards, which define the manner in which healthcare transactions are conducted electronically. It also defines the specific identifiers for employers, insurance plans and healthcare providers. This section helps simplify administrative challenges emerging from requirements of portability. The AS section also addresses issues of privacy and security of patients’ information and records. Since its ambitious implementation, HIPAA has expanded its influence on to major health issues such as security, confidentiality, privacy and simplification (Banks, 2006). In a nutshell, HIPAA promises an effective and efficient mode of disseminating and sharing electronic information in the healthcare sector. The compliance deadline was 2003 and a slight extension for harmonization of some minor plans. Since 2003, the plan has gained widespread adherence by various players including health insurers, employer sponsored healthcare plans, healthcare service providers and clearing houses in the sector. In spite of its positive outlook and gains made, HIPAA still raises numerous challenges with regard to its implementation. This paper reviews one of the significant challenges in HIPAA’s implementation by highlighting a newspaper article covering the issue of disclosure. The article under highlight appeared in the New York Times on 3rd July, 2007. The piece of work by Jane Gross is titled “Keeping Patients’ Details Private, Even From Kin.” Disclosure Issues in HIPAA’s Implementation HIPAA dictates the rules of disclosure and non-disclosure for Protected Health Information (PHI). However, Gross (2007), indicates that a number of studies have shown that a number of healthcare providers are applying HIPAA inappropriately. These providers and practitioners under them apply the regulations overzealously by being excessively and unnecessarily prohibitive. These acts have left caretakers, family members, law enforcement officers and public health officers unable to access information that is essential for their operations and life. Gross’ article presents this challenge by citing various real-life situations in which family members have been barred from staying with their kin or assessing their treatment chart information while undergoing treatment. Gross cites Mr. Nussbaum’s case in which he was barred from staying with his father or checking his treatment chart as an example of misinterpretation of the act (Gross, 2007). A similar case involving Ms. Banks saw her drive from Oklahoma to Tampa to get information about her mother because this could not be disclosed over the . On arrival, she had to spend another 24 hours before she could get the disclosure from the doctor involved, simply because the nurse feared going against HIPAA (Gross, 2007). These examples show the frustrations that family and other parties such as researchers have when seeking patient information. The bigger challenge is that while there are “good faith nondisclosures,” there are also numerous cases of “bad faith nondisclosures” that unnecessarily bar access to information. For example, ... Read More
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