Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

The law known as “HIPAA” stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Congress passed this landmark law to provide consumers with greater access to health care insurance, to protect the privacy of health care data, and to promote more standardization and efficiency in the health care industry. While HIPAA covers a number of important health care issues, this informational series focuses on the Administrative Simplification portion of the law – specifically HIPAA’s Electronic Transactions and Code Sets requirements.

There are four parts to HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification:

  1. Electronic transactions and code sets standards requirements
  2. Privacy requirements
  3. Security requirements
  4. National identifier requirements

HIPAA and research

The HIPAA Privacy Rule contains provisions that apply to research involving the use or disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI).  PHI is health information that is individually identifiable.

PHI may be used for research through several mechanisms - read more about HIPAA and research

HIPAA outside resources

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Full text of the HIPAA regulations, as well as the Final Rules.

Office for Civil Rights
HIPAA page of the Office for Civil Rights, a division within the Department of Health and Human Services. OCR will ultimately be responsible for enforcing HIPAA regulations. This page contains the full text of the July 6, 2001 Guidance published by OCR, which clarifies specific implications of HIPAA.

Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI)
Information about electronic information standards, HIPAA glossary.

Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems
An outstanding site which includes specific information on steps to compliance, privacy and consent requirements, HIPAA on parents and minors, and sample forms. An especially good resource for HIPAA's implications in light of existing Oregon state laws.

National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS)
Public advisory body to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the area of health and data statistics. Transcripts of all hearings and some written testimony.