image - person at deskThe Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) took effect on April 14, 2003. HIPAA addresses the way a patient's medical records are handled and maintained. It is the first federal privacy standard that protects your medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. Existing State laws providing additional protections to you are not affected by this new rule.

The County is committed to safeguarding patients' privacy, especially the rights of people in sensitive health groups, including those receiving mental health care, drug and alcohol treatment services, sexually transmitted disease services and HIV treatment. In addition to current California privacy laws, HIPAA sets a national standard on how health care providers and plans must protect medical information. These new standards provide you with access to your medical records and more control over how your personal health information is used and disclosed. HIPAA establishes privacy requirements to protect your information as it is transferred electronically.

HIPAA regulations require covered entities to assign a Privacy Official to create and implement policies and procedures necessary to comply with HIPAA and to receive privacy related complaints.

For more about HIPAA, see California Office of Health Information Integrity or CMS HIPAA site.

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