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Office of Mental Health

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA, was passed to establish a national framework for security standards and protection of confidentiality regarding health care data and information.

All health care plans (e.g., HMOs, insurers), health care clearinghouses (e.g., billing services, re-pricing companies), and health care providers that transmit health information in electronic form must comply with HIPAA regulations.

HIPAA regulations are organized into three primary areas:

Administrative Simplification: Regulations have been enacted which create uniform standards and requirements for the electronic transmission of health information.

Security: Regulations have been finalized which require providers and others who maintain health information to maintain the security and integrity of individually identifiable health information.

Privacy: Regulations have been finalized which set forth general rules for the uses and disclosures of individually identifiable health information by providers and others.

The implications of these federal regulations on the health and mental health care treatment community are considerable. This OMH HIPAA web site provides information designed to increase awareness and understanding of HIPAA regulations.

Separate web pages and links rapidly connect 'Consumers' and 'Counties & Providers' to materials and products that are considered appropriate and relevant to meet their specific information needs. Each information path starts at the HIPAA homepage and users may select a different path at any time.