The HIPAA and Patients’ Rights in VA

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) was established in 1996 to improve the efficiency in the VA. The law was established to ensure privacy and protection of personal information in the medical field. However, its implementation raised numerous questions in the department of veterans’ affairs. The office of the general counsel was however established in order to answer the many questions submitted by the veteran administration. The law therefore limits access to medical information without his or her consent. Its enactment seeks to ensure that medical practitioners and the related organizations guard the privacy of their patients and clients information in the VA. This was done in conjunction with the joint commission on accreditation of healthcare organizations.

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Before HIPAA enactment patient’s confidentiality was drastically eroded and the health maintenance organization had a complete dominance over the patient’s information in the VA. The behavior had enormously eroded confidence in the health profession and had consequently exposed them to some legal actions. But HIPAA was later enacted to provide strict confidentiality and limit the disclosure of patient’s health information which could reveal his identity. HIPAA privacy rule in the VA provides protection of medical information and also gives health care providers, health plan and other health care clearing houses the right to access patient’s medical information when need arises (Watts, Hynes & Kopp, 2003).

Among the key patient rights in the department of veteran affairs includes, respects and non-discrimination. This was enforced to ensure that all patients were treated with dignity and respect. They are also entitled to information disclosure and confidentiality. Likewise patients in the Veteran Affairs have a right to participate in their treatment decisions. And in case you are not satisfied with the treatment processes, you can file a complaint without any fear of retaliations. And the medical practitioners will be obligated to an explanation for their action (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2006).

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