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HIPAA Privacy & Security
Consumer Section:
Understanding HIPAA

This page covers what you should know about HIPAA as a consumer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Here we present some basic concepts regarding HIPAA.  You may read more about HIPAA in many other places on the Web, from the Federal government, and from healthcare-related literature.

What does "HIPAA" stand for?  HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-191).

There are five sections included in HIPAA regulation -- including those that guarantee healthcare coverage while individuals change jobs.  However, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is focusing on the section addressing patient privacy, data security and transaction standardization.

Why were HIPAA laws created?  For the consumer, HIPAA will bring privacy protection, quicker processing, and better quality of healthcare.  You may want to read about your rights that are guaranteed by HIPAA, a page that is posted on this site.

For the States and managed-care health plans, the main purpose of HIPAA is to simplify daily processes, promote best-practice methods for conducting healthcare activities, and encourage the electronic transfer of administrative and financial health care data -- by replacing the many non-standard formats now being used nationally with a single set of electronic transactions, to be used by the entire health care industry.

What changes will I notice, as a consumer?  You will find consent and authorization forms that contain more standardized language; you will see the " Privacy Notice" which explains NE-DHHS privacy practices in more detail; you will read about your new rights as a consumer, including the rights to review your own medical data and to make changes to the data you don't agree with; and you will have access to the HIPAA Privacy & Secuirty Office where consumer complaints are to received and recorded regarding Privacy and Security  violations.

Many of the other changes -- "minimum necessary", "use and disclosure rules", "right to restriction", "de-identification", "training and awareness" -- will take place.  You may not take notice of every change, but we hope that you will notice the improvement in healthcare operations quality that result from implementation of these changes.