What HIPAA Is and Why It’s Important

HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It was passed by Congress in 1996. According to the California Department of Health Care Services, HIPAA grants us the ability to transfer and continue health care for ourselves and our families when we either change or lose jobs (1). HIPAA also “reduces health care fraud and abuse.” Additionally, it mandates “industry-wide standards for health care information” on things like electronic billing (1). The final, and possibly the biggest, kicker is that HIPAA “requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information” (1).

The Department of Health and Human Services notes HIPAA’s privacy rule as one that makes it the responsibility of whoever holds your medical information to safeguard it appropriately (2). Additionally, HIPAA grants you certain rights over your health records, including “rights to examine and obtain a copy … and to request corrections” (2).

In plain English, HIPAA is a law that keeps your medical records secure and/or confidential.

It seems like common sense for one’s medical records to be kept under lock and key. However, just one visit to the HIPAA newsroom on HHS.gov shows how rampant violations are and how steep the penalties can be. Whether by laziness or ignorance, thousands of records are mishandled each month. If you have medical records that need to be disposed of but can’t think of a secure solution, don’t just throw them in the trash!

A mobile shredding company such as Land Shark Shredding can help. We have the capability to destroy papers, file folders, and even X-ray prints right on-site. You can literally watch them being shredded! The scrap is locked up and then transported to a secure recycling facility where it’s turned into all kinds of new material. If this sounds like a solution for an issue you’re having, do not hesitate to call us. Reach us at (270) 793-0880 or toll free at 877-53-SHRED. We’re here for you!


1: http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/formsandpubs/laws/hipaa/Pages/1.00WhatisHIPAA.aspx

2: http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/

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