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Overview of FERPA and HIPAA

What is FERPA?

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student’s treatment records. Treatment records are maintained by the SCC and are used only in connection with the provision of treatment to the student and are not available to anyone other than the persons providing treatment.

How are FERPA Treatment Records disclosed?

Student treatment records can be disclosed to healthcare professionals involved in the student’s treatment with the written consent of the student.

What is HIPAA?

It is a federal law titled the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Which federal agency oversees HIPAA compliance?

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

Why was HIPAA established?

  • To protect employees’ insurance when they lost or changed jobs.
  • To protect the privacy and security of patients’ health information.
  • To adopt national standards for electronic health care transactions.
  • To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system.

What do the HIPAA regulations do for health care?

  • Protects patients’ rights regarding their health information, including the right to review it and make decisions about how it is used and disclosed.
  • Provides for appropriate use and disclosure of patients’ health information.
  • Requires health care providers to implement safeguards to ensure privacy of patients’ health information.

On what exactly do the privacy regulations focus?

  • Individually identifiable information, which means it identifies the patient or could be used to identify the patient.
  • Paper or electronic patient medical or health records.
  • Patient information exchanged verbally.
  • Information relating to the past, present, or future physical or mental condition of an individual.
  • Research data that identifies individual patients.

Records at the SCC fall under treatment records in FERPA.

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