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HIPAA

“Hippa?” Sara asked. “Do you mean hippo?”


“No,” answered Analee. “HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.”


Sara was confused. “The what act?”


“HIPAA is a federal law that protects a patient’s privacy.” Analee explained. “It says the patients in our center have to sign a form telling them what information about them we will share and why we will share it. It also says that we have to protect any information that can identify a patient like a patient’s name, care plan, medical history, medications, or anything else that can identify the patient.”


Sara wondered, “So how are we supposed to do our jobs? We have to talk to each other.”


“We can talk to each other about a patient if we both are taking care of that patient. But we shouldn’t talk about the patient to coworkers or volunteers who aren’t taking care of that patient. We also shouldn’t talk about patients with our family and friends.”


“What about a patient’s family and friends? Can we talk to them?”


“Maybe. We can only share information with a patient’s personal representative. That’s usually a spouse, parent, guardian, or lawyer. If someone is in the room when we are going to provide any care, it is always best to ask the patient if he or she wants privacy.”


“That’s a lot to remember,” Sara said.


“Yes, it is,” answered Analee, “but it is very important in providing the best care we can to our patients.”

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners