What is HIPAA and how does it operate in the dental office? Before you learn how HIPAA dental office regulations work, let’s review HIPAA in general.
In 1996, the Department of Health and Human Services enacted a privacy rule that addresses the use and disclosure of your “Protected Health Information,” or PHI. This privacy rule ensures health information is protected while still allowing access for professionals who need it to provide quality health care. HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA sets standards for individuals’ privacy rights to understand and control how their health information is used. HIPAA essentially works the same in both medical and dental offices.
HIPAA at your first dentist appointment
Standard practice for any dental office is for you to sign a HIPAA form before your first appointment. Included in that form is a Right to Revoke clause. This gives you the right to revoke the permissions to disclose your private dental information to certain parties. If your dental office does not provide this information and these forms, they are in breach of HIPAA.
What information is protected?
- Past, present and future physical or mental condition.
- The type of treatment and care provided to you.
- Past, present and future payments.
Protecting your HIPAA rights
The fines and penalties for negligence are steep. As a result, reputable dental offices will do everything in their power to protect your health information. If you have concerns or questions about HIPAA privacy in your dental office, call them or check their website for policy information.
HIPAA matters for insurance companies too. Click here to read ours.