Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 to create a privacy standard in protecting patients' medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers which took effect on April 14, 2003. These new standards, developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), provide patients with access to their medical records and more control over how their personal health information is used and disclosed. However, State laws providing more stringent protections to consumers are not affected by this new rule.

HIPAA also included a provision designed to promote electronic healthcare transactions and require new safeguards to protect the security and confidentiality of health information. In addition, uniform national standards for electronic commerce in the healthcare industry have been adopted to create more efficient processing of healthcare transactions. These standards allow the healthcare industry to share electronic healthcare information using a common format and common set of codes and identifiers.

This network and its affiliates are dedicated to maintain compliance of the HIPAA regulations. Our HIPAA Compliance Committee, comprised of representatives from several corporate and operational departments, whom are responsible for implementing the privacy and security regulations, have adopted Standard Operating Procedures to ensure HIPAA compliance regarding the use and disclosure of health information; have conducted company-wide training for employees and new hires; implemented HIPAA compliant language in contracts; and modified or enhanced our computer system to meet HIPAA electronic data interchange standards.

If you have any questions regarding HIPAA compliance, please feel free to contact our Compliance Officer at (800) 853-9594.