You may be well aware of HIPAA requirements and forms when you visit your primary care physician, the ER, or a specialist. But you may pause when it comes to your eye doctor, wondering if they also have to adhere to regulations under HIPAA. The answer is yes.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and it’s a U.S. law that took effect in 2003 to put privacy standards in place. The law basically protects patients’ medical records and other health information given to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers. These standards give patients better access to their medical records and more control as to how their personal health information is used and disclosed.
Because eye doctors are health care providers, HIPAA applies to them too. The vast majority of optometry practices and doctors are subject to HIPAA, says the American Optometric Association. Eye doctors are considered covered entities if they electronically transmit health information related to financial or administrative activities, such as:
- Claims and encounter information
- Claims status
- Enrollment and disenrollment
- Payment and remittance advice
- Referrals and authorizations
- Coordination of benefits
As such, you can expect your ophthalmologist, optometrist or other eye doctor to do the following under HIPAA. They are required by federal and state law to:
- Maintain the privacy and safeguard the security of your health information
- Provide notice about privacy practices, legal duties, and your rights concerning all of your health information
- Notify you of any breaches of unsecured health information
If there is any question about HIPAA compliance or you have any questions, you can always ask office staff to provide you with the information you need. Ongoing compliance training is the most proactive way eye doctors can avoid a violation. All employees must have adequate and regular HIPAA awareness training to ensure ongoing accountability for compliance with privacy and security policies and procedures in regards to patient records.
Compliance: Simon Eye Associates
Here at Simon Eye Associates, we are fully compliant with HIPAA and strive to protect your privacy in accordance with the law. Before you visit our office, we ask you to fill out a variety of forms, one of which is a signed HIPAA Policy Statement. Check out the PDF files we ask you to download, print and fill out completely. Please bring them with you when you visit our office. If you’re a returning patient, we also ask that you provide an updated medical history form.
To make an appointment with one of our many Delaware offices, contact us today at 302-239-1933.