HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996, in order to reform the United States healthcare system.
However, the final privacy rules of this act were issued on August 9, 2002.
The most important mission of this act is to protect the medical records and health information of an individual.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides the first U.S. standards for protecting the privacy of health information.
The main principle used by the act is the following: if someone has the right to make a health care decision, this person also has the right to control all the information associated with his decision.
That’s why every U.S. healthcare worker must receive proper HIPAA training.
Protected Health Information
Under the HIPAA act, Protected Health Information (PHI) means any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care which can be linked to a specific individual.
PHI can include written documents, electronic files, and any verbal information. HIPAA does not allow the Protected Health Information (PHI) to be shared with a third party without the written consent of the patient.
It is important to mention that the patient’s signed consent before doing anything with his or her information is now only an option.
So there is no need for a pharmacy technician or pharmacist to get the patient’s consent before processing his information.
But techs and pharmacists must give their patients the written Notice of Privacy Practices. This document will spur discussions between pharmacy staff and their patients concerning how their PHI will be used.
Each privacy notice is specific to a pharmacy or hospital. However, patients are not required to sign the privacy notice if they don’t want to.
All patient acknowledgments of privacy notice must be kept on file at least for 6 years.
New Pharmacy Ownership and HIPPA
HIPAA allows the transfer of patient medical records.
So when a pharmacy has a new owner, he or she automatically gains access to all patient information. There is no need for patient authorizations to transfer all the records.
PHI and Marketing
When pharmacists intend to use the patient’s information for marketing purposes, they need written consent from the patients.
HIPPA and Minor's Rights
But what does HIPAA mention about minor’s rights? When talking about minor’s rights, HIPAA says: if the U.S. state does not specifically allow or disallow release of medical information to parents of a minor, then it is up to the pharmacist’s professional judgment if he or she will release it or not.
In other words, the state laws will determine how much of a minor’s protected health information (PHI) a parent can get through HIPAA.
Penalties for HIPPA Violations
People who violate HIPAA can face civil and criminal penalties, including fines ranging from $100 to $250,000 and/or imprisonment ranging from 1 to 10 years.
However, unintentional mistakes will not be punished. As long as techs and pharmacists protect their patients’ information and use it appropriately for their treatment, there shouldn’t be any problems.
So it’s important to protect the privacy of the patients’ information as best as possible.
Do you have a question about HIPPA in the Pharmacy?
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
HIPPA Question: Pharmacy Tech committing a HIPPA violation or not?
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Is an RX number alone a HIPPA violation?
Is an rx number alone a hippa violation?
Are there supposed to be marked privacy areas at pick-up and drop-off sections of pharmacies?
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Signing for an RX that is PUBLIC ~ Left for everyone to see your RX # and signature
I want to know if it is in violation to sign a paper next to your RX number when picking up your RX? This is a public paper. I believe there are …
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My local, private pharmacy closed. No notice was given to customers/patients prior to the closure. The pharmacy owner took it upon himself to transfer …
HIPAA Question: Why Were My Prescriptions Were Given to My Ex-Husband
can the pharmacist/tech give my prescriptions to my ex-husband? I did not authorize them to do so. They saw it was the last name of a prescription he …
A Question about HIPPA Guidelines and Leaving Messages on Answering Machines
My question is this, is it a violation of HIPAA to leave a message on the answering machine for a customer, telling them that their prescription is ready? …
Pharmacy Phone Messages / HIPAA Violations? Please Advise
I have been in Pharmacy for 20 years, I have co-workers and RPHs that make and leave phone message like your Rx's are ready for pick-up on an answering …
PRE ACCESS REPRESENTATIVE
IS IT A HIPPA VIOLATION TO LEAVE MESSAGE ABOUT PATIENT DEDUCTIBLES AND COINSURANCE FOR THEIR PROCEDURES AT THE HOSPITAL?
Leaving messages on answering machines
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Two HIPPA Questions: Including, Can Pharmacy Techs counsel patients? Not rated yet
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My Pharmacy told my mom that I didn't pick up my meds. Is this a Hippa Violation? Not rated yet
My pharmacy told my mom I didn't pick up my meds. Yes, I do have same last name but I have a different address; for all they know, that wasn't my mom. …
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I know someone who is a pharmacy tech. My 10yr.olds medication was called into the pharmacy she works at. Her daughter and my daughters have an on-off …
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Can a Pharmacy give out the name of its Pharmacy at a street Fair stating the name address and telephone number of the Pharmacy?? Can it ask people to …
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Former employee working for competitor; Enticing former customers to new pharmacy Not rated yet
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My pharmacist declined to give any information about transferring my medication to another pharmacy (which was cheaper) and told them the reason he would …
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We have a drive thru RX and people are constantly on the phone when they arrive. Is it a HIPPA violation for them to continue their conversation while …
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A pharm tech in my grocery store was helping me with my prescription, there was some confusion and mix-ups, but he said it would be ready the next day. …
HIPPA: Is it OK for a relative, picking up an rx for the patient, to sign the electronic HIPPA signature pad? Not rated yet
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Pharmacy Tech Loudly Embarasses Customer: Did Tech Violate HIPAA Law? Not rated yet
I recently walked into a major grocery chain's pharmacy. The tech that took my prescription, looks at it and very loudly said "are you trying to lose weight?" …
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pharmacy rules Not rated yet
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I have a friend who went through a divorce...his wife is a pharmacist and called another pharmacy and obtained his prescription information. She said …
Records manager Not rated yet
Do both parents have to present at a pharmacy for the pharmacy to release the minor child pharmacy profile?
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