What is HIPAA?

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It is a Federal Law, which went into effect on April 14, 2003.

The Insurance Portability portion of HIPAA means that if an individual moves from one health plan to another, they will have continuity of coverage, and will not be denied coverage because of any preexisting conditions. Accountability increases the government’s fraud enforcement ability in more ways than it has in the past.

Enforcement is defined in civil and criminal sanctions. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is considered the “HIPAA Police.” Their role will primarily be complaint driven.

Why should we be concerned about HIPAA at Oasis?

First, the protected health information (PHI), or what we would consider confidential information, is about our clients. For the most part our clients are covered under 42 CFR, however there are spouses, employees/staff in the community, who are not covered. Therefore, it is necessary to cover those persons under HIPAA. There are also electronic transactions that take place at Oasis and those are covered under HIPAA. A broad-brush approach is the ideal method to ensure that Oasis employees are familiar with what HIPAA is, and what can happen if a violation has occurred.

What does it mean to me?

Under HIPAA it is illegal to knowingly disclose protected health information (PHI) about a person whose information you may have access to. There are incidental disclosures, but there are also disclosures that persons may rightfully file a complaint against you for. In such cases, an investigation would occur by the Office of Civil Rights, who oversee and respond to complaints filed by clients/clients’ family/staff or others.                            

Who is responsible for HIPAA compliance at Oasis Child and Family Services?

The Program Director for the service you are receiving is responsible for HIPAA compliance. Complaints regarding HIPPA compliance by Oasis can be submitted to:

Region VIII
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services
1961 Stout Street, Room 1185 FOB
Denver, CO 80294-3538
Phone: (303) 844-2025
Fax: (303) 844-2025
TDD: (303) 844-3439