Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (better known as HIPAA) took effect on April 14, 2003.
This first-ever government initiative to protect a patient’s privacy, made a monumental impact on all aspects of
our health care system. Although HIPAA is a nation-wide standard, each state does have its own specific laws in
addition to the federal guidelines.
The privacy standards laid out by the federal government protect a patient and their rights regarding medical records
and private health information (PHI). Pharmacies, hospitals, physician’s offices and insurance plans have been
required to take “necessary and reasonable measures” to assure compliance with HIPAA rules and regulations. For
example, one compliance measure required each existing covered member receive a Notice of Privacy Practices prior to
the April deadline. The Notice of Privacy Practices details specific rights and permitable usages of PHI. For more
information regarding HIPAA and your rights under HIPAA, please visit
Prior to HIPAA, some of our members previously signed an Authorization to Release Medical Information. These authorization
forms are needed if anyone outside of your household is to be authorized to receive your or your dependant’s PHI. For
SIHO members that have previously signed these authorizations, SIHO will need to obtain new authorizations to comply
with HIPAA. Please click here for an Authorization to Release PHI form.