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 a patient's medical treatment or health care reimbursement. For example, unless otherwise forbidden by state or local law, without the Privacy Rule patient information held by a health plan could, without the patient’s permission, be passed on to a lender who could then deny the patient'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.
UW–Madison ensures the successful implementation of its policies and procedures created to comply with the privacy and security regulations (the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule, respectively) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), by requiring the designated units of the UW HCC to designate HIPAA Privacy and Security Coordinators to oversee policy implementation by such units.
Documentation RequirementsThe Dean or Director of each Unit shall ensure the Position Description for its designated HIPAA Privacy and Security Coordinators references this policy and/or includes a listing of the specific responsibilities enumerated in this policy.
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.
11-22-2019: Effective date of the revised policy: 11-22-2019.
03-26-2020: Effective date of the revised policy: 03-26-2020.