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The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) outlines how the health information of patients may be disclosed and used. It also establishes federal standards for formats and data content for electronic transmission between physicians and health plans, as well as other healthcare providers. It further requires development and implementation of safeguards to ensure patient health information security.

Physician offices that transmit claims or other covered transactions electronically are required to provide notice of privacy practices to their patients.

The American Medical Association (AMA) Web site provides "How to HIPAA Tips" to guide physicians through this process, including a sample Notice of Private Practices form. This guide includes the following items and more: understanding the deadlines, compliance requirements, who must submit Medicare claims electronically, who is exempt from HIPAA standards, prioritization of compliance requirements, evaluation of current office practices, education of employees, and education of patients.

HIPAA Compliance Training

For more information about HIPAA, visit:

American Medical Association

American Hospital Association

Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI)