In enacting HIPAA, Congress mandated the establishment of federal standards for the privacy of individually identifiable health information. Under the patchwork of laws existing prior to adoption of HIPAA and the Privacy Rule, personal health information could be distributed—without either notice or authorization—for reasons that had nothing to do with an individual’s medical treatment or health care reimbursement. For example, unless otherwise forbidden by state or local law, without the Privacy Rule an individual’s information held by a health plan could, without the individual’s permission, be passed on to a lender who could then deny the individual’s application for a home mortgage or a credit card, or to an employer who could use it in personnel decisions. The Privacy Rule establishes a federal floor of safeguards to protect the confidentiality of medical information. State laws that provide stronger privacy protections apply over and above the federal privacy standards.
Applies to all members of the UW HCC.
Consistent with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, UW–Madison requires the designation of a contact person or office to receive HIPAA privacy complaints from individuals and to provide further information in response to individual requests for information about matters covered by a Notice of Privacy Practices.
Reports to HIPAA Executive Board
The UW–Madison HIPAA privacy officer will periodically report to the HIPAA Executive Board on the number and nature of the complaints filed and the resolution of such complaints, if any.
Failing to comply with this policy may result in discipline for the individual(s) responsible for such noncompliance.
Further, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, and an individual’s noncompliance may result in institutional noncompliance and/or an investigation by OCR. OCR attempts to resolve investigations by obtaining voluntary compliance and entering into corrective action plans and resolution agreements. Failure to comply with HIPAA or cooperate with OCR in an investigation may result in civil and/or criminal penalties.
Additional information may be found at www.compliance.wisc.edu/hipaa
09-03-2014: Effective date of the revised policy: 09-03-2014.
03-26-2020: Effective date of the revised policy: 03-26-2020.
06-02-2021: Effective date of the revised policy: 06-02-2021.