California HealthCare Foundation Releases Guides To Help Providers Comply with HIPAA Privacy Regulations
The California HealthCare Foundation has released a series of guides designed to assist health plans and providers in understanding the new Federal Health Privacy Rule mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The industry has until April 2003 to comply with the new federal requirements. Titled "Implementing the Federal Health Privacy Rule in California," the guides explain how the federal statute interacts with existing California patient privacy laws and offer suggestions for complying with both sets of regulations. The guides are available in three versions, which are tailored to different sectors of the health industry: "Health Care Providers," "Health Insurers and Health Care Service Plans" and "Pharmacists, Physical Therapists and Others." Guide author Joy Pritts of the Health Privacy Project at Georgetown University's Institute for Health Care Research and Policy, said, "Most California health care organizations will be required to make major changes in how they maintain, shield and disclose individual medical information. The new law creates new rights for patients, requires contracts with privacy protections between health care organizations and many of their business associates where none were required before and extends California's statutory privacy protections for written medical data to many oral communications." Sam Karp, CHCF's chief information officer, said, "The guides serve as an excellent resource for health care organizations to understand the new privacy requirements. Californians' medical information will be more accessible, more portable, yet better protected when the new national standards are in place." The guides are available at CHCF's Web site or may be ordered by calling 1-888-430-2423 (CHCF release, 2/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.