From Kevin Earle the Executive Director of AzDA. I have read and listened to many explanations of this issue and this is one of the most direct and easiest to understand I have encountered. (Reprinted with permission).
A new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) final rule was published in January and became effective in March. These new regulations include require changes to the wording of your Notice of Privacy Practices. Dental offices have until September 23, 2013 to comply.
One change to the notice involves fundraising and marketing. The notice must now indicate if a patient’s Protected Health Information (PHI) is used for fundraising and patients have the right to opt out.
If there is any disclosure of PHI for marketing purposes or the sale of PHI, a written authorization must first be obtained from the patient. For example, if an actual patient issued in an advertisement showing “before and after” photos, written authorization is required.
The new rules also require changes to your business associate agreements and changes the responsibilities of business associates who may have access to PHI in your practice.
Another change relates to the right of patients to refuse disclosure of treatment records to a health plan when the patient has paid for services out of pocket in full.
A patient also now has a right to an electronic copy of their records if preferred. The patient must be notified of this right in the Notice of Privacy Practices.
TEMPLATE FORMS AVAILABLE
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has developed simple and easy to read template notices that can be downloaded and adapted to your practices. They can be found at: http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/modelnotices.html
OTHER RESOURCES FROM ADA
The ADA also offers a short video and summary of about the new requirements at http://www.ada.org/8753.aspx.
ADA also has a one hour online CE course that can be helpful to you and your staff to understand the new changes. This CE material can be found at: http://www.ada.org/news/8814.aspx
Finally, all members are encouraged to purchase the ADA Practical Guide to HIPAA Compliance: Privacy and Security Kit that is available from the ADA Catalog or by calling 1-800-947-4746. The kit includes a comprehensive manual and CD-ROM program with two levels of training.
ADA also maintains a HIPAA email “hot-line” where your compliance questions can be answered. These can be addressed to email@example.com.