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Office of Mental Health

Information for Consumers

The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law designed to reform health care coverage by

  • improving the portability and continuity of health insurance;
  • combating waste in health care delivery;
  • simplifying the administration of health insurance; and
  • safeguarding the privacy and confidentiality of patient information.

The law requires health care organizations - providers, plans and payers - to adopt national standards for the electronic processing of patient health information.

HIPAA also requires health care organizations to protect and safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of patient health information as long as it is in their possession.

For more information visit