The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) have released model Notices of Privacy Practices for health care providers and health plans to use to communicate with their patients and plan members. This Web content is an excellent resource for audiologists and speech-language pathologists preparing to meet the September 23, 2013, mandatory effective date for the Final Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As noted in an ASHA Headlines last month, HIPAA regulations affect how providers handle their patients' protected health information. The model Notices are customizable. Providers, as covered entities, may enter their own information (e.g., contact information) into a model and then print the notice for distribution and/or post the electronic version on their websites.
The Final Rule is intended to bolster privacy and security for Protected Health Information (PHI) by greatly enhancing the government's ability to enforce the law, first introduced in 1996. The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals the right to be informed of the privacy practices of health plans and health care providers regarding patients' PHI. The model Notices meet the HIPAA requirement of providing a clear, user-friendly explanation of privacy rights and practices. The Notices can help providers and plans by
- reflecting the regulatory changes of the HIPAA Omnibus Rule,
- serving as the baseline for covered entities working to come into compliance with the new requirements.
These models were created based on input from consumers and key stakeholders. Each field in a model includes an explanation of the information that should be entered in the field. For each model, additional instructions are available in a separate PDF file.
Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights
ASHA's HIPAA website.
For more information, please contact Laurie Alban Havens, ASHA's director of private health plans & Medicaid advocacy, at [email protected] or 301-296-5677.