In day to day life, a person working with medical records is often asked to discuss how to handle an issue that relates to HIPAA privacy rule compliance.
Although your facility probably has a compliance officer, understanding how to handle different situations is important for everyone who touches a patient’s medical record.
Not a day does not go by that I am not asked a question that has something to do with privacy. I am constantly reading books and trying to keep up on anything new that is released regarding HIPAA compliance – as many of us in the healthcare field are doing.
I recently read the book “HIPAA by Example,” by Mary C. Thomason. Mary has written this book in eight sections. Each section deals with a different area of the privacy rule, including sanctions and compliance, organizational issues and employee records. In each section she has listed a series of questions related to the topic.
What I found so helpful in this book was how those questions were answered. Instead of a basic dry (yes, let’s face it, HIPAA is dry) explanation, she created a scenario for each one. I found the scenarios fascinating, enjoyed reading each one and had a thorough understanding of each question when I was finished.
She also a listed laws (not HIPAA related) that are involved in each particular situation. For example, in some cases, alcohol and substance abuse laws should also be considered and there are discussions on how various state laws fit in.
The HIPAA privacy rule is complicated and it is continuing to become more so each day. Working through a book that gives us real life examples certainly can help put a little clarity into an area that is otherwise very complex. I would highly recommend adding this book to your library.
This book was published by AHIMA and is available on their website (www.ahima.org).
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