HIPAA Omnibus Rule And Free Templates, Too!

Jan
22
2014

Just in case you didn’t know . . . check out this quick video on HIPAA’s Omnibus Rule.

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And, here’s where you can find templates for your own HIPAA forms.

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this, Tamara!

    I’m curious how other therapists are handling the new requirements for HIPAA disclosures. Until very recently, I was not a covered entity; however I just joined an EAP as an in-network provider so I’ll be sharing information electronically for the first time and need to put together a HIPAA notice of privacy.

    When I read the suggested HIPAA forms they seem way too cumbersome – and even confusing for a mental health client. I mean, our privacy “rules” actually exceed HIPAA’s, don’t they? We don’t share information with anyone except for the standard times we’re required to break confidentiality (abuse, harm to self/others, court order, patient permission) – and in order to get paid by the insurance company, when we share only the limited information the company requires. So, can we write our own HIPAA privacy statement and leave out everything from the standard forms that simply doesn’t apply to us?

    Thanks in advance for your input!

    • Good morning, Camille! This is such a great question. If you are a covered entity under HIPAA, you are required to disclose what that means and cannot omit the parts that you simply don’t like. You are not allowed to only comply in spots.

      Most of my health care providers have a laminated copy of their HIPAA policy for new clients to read in their offices and then a separate document for the clients to sign indicating that they have had read and understand what it says.

      Remember, that even though you are covered entity, your clients may also opt out of this level of privacy.

      • Hi Tamara,
        Thanks for your clarification. Can you explain more about what you mean by “clients may also opt out of this level of privacy”?
        And yes, your blog posts are very helpful! (My plans for launching a blog and growing my business were delayed last fall due to a death in my family; I”m slowly starting to get back into the swing of things and develop a marketing plan. I’m still keeping it small for now – I have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment! I do sincerely appreciate the advice and encouragement you offer – it’s really helpful!)

        • Hi, Camille! I’m so sorry for your loss. I, too, have lost family since going in to private practice and know that it can be a difficult thing to regroup and refocus back on building that practice. Let me know if there is anything I / we can do to support you on your journey.

          Any of your clients may choose to “opt out” of any all of HIPAA’s limitations on privacy. Note that that is their option and not the therapist’s option. For example, your client may want to communicate with you via email without having either one of you use encryption. She has the right to waive the HIPAA requirements that were designed to protect her. Should you have a client who chooses to waive HIPAA, you will want to protect yourself by getting this in writing from your client.

      • I am looking for a simple, clean version of the current HIPAA rules that I can laminate or put in a binder for the office that I manage. Any suggestions?

  2. Hi Tamara,

    I used those templates a few months ago to update my HIPAA forms. The templates made it so easy. Why reinvent the wheel if it’s already been done for us? Thanks for the reminder about the omnibus rule.

  3. Thank you for this post and the links to the templates. It can be so difficult to keep up with all of the changes that occur and this template makes the process just a bit easier. Your blogs consistently keep us up to date and I am grateful for that!

    • Good morning, Lyndsey, and thank you for taking time to let me know when and how a post is helpful to you. If you guys don’t take the time to share what you’re thinking, I have no way to know if I’m on track or completely wasting my time.

      (By the way – I was just checking out your website and love your post talking about your couples work as a “relationship mechanic.” What a great metaphor! Wanted to leave a comment to let you know but didn’t see that as an option.)

  4. Hi, Tamara-
    I like the simplicity of the HIPAA information sheets that you shared. I am looking for a way to demonstrate to my clients, in lay person terms, the benefits of being fee for service instead of billing through insurance. Do you have samples of those as well?
    Sarah

  5. Thanks for sharing this Tamara. I’ll have to take some time to update my info for clients.

  6. HI Tamara:

    Thanks for sharing this great information! I have a question though, somewhat similar, though different from Camille’s. Having read the layered form, I notice that, unless I am misunderstanding it, it seems to read as though I can share information with other providers without a release, whereas my current statement makes clear that I will not without a release. Could you clarify this?

    • Sure, Amy! Your new understanding is correct. You can share information with other health care providers involved with your clients’ care. It’s one of the reasons I hate HIPAA. It’s made it way too easy to give personal information to other professionals. My policy is that while HIPAA allows it, I will not provide it without written consent to a specific individual that also includes the parameters of the information to be released and the purpose to be specified.

      • Just because something is legal does not mean it is ethical. I believe our ethical codes still require us to keep all client information confidential unless we have a (specific) written release, there is a threat of harm to self or others, a court order forces us to disclose info., or we learn of child/elder/disabled person abuse. This is why I find using the HIPAA form confusing for clients – it makes it seem like we don’t abide by our own stated confidentiality policy because the HIPAA language contradicts what our (at least my) informed consent states.

        Thanks for asking the question, Amy – you helped me clarify this dilemma!

        • Hi, Camille! Thanks so much for dropping back in to make this point clearer. You made it so much better than I did. Although I have not heard of this issue being addressed within the courts yet, your interpretation is in line with my own understanding – that while HIPAA does give permission for the open exchange of information between a client’s health care providers, it does not meet the higher standard of providing parameters for content to be shared or period of time that disclosures may take place. Nor does HIPAA require the specific circumstances necessary for disclosures may take place.

          I am not a fan of HIPAA because it has chipped away at privacy rights. However, I am not an attorney and strongly encourage every therapist to consult with their own mental health attorney. Until you know for sure, protect yourself and your clients’ best interests by erring on the conservative side.

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