In Behavioral Health, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Practice Guidelines, Professional Development, Treatment

Tips About HIPAA And Confidentiality: Resources and Workshops to Keep Current

Tips About HIPAA And Confidentiality: Resources and Workshops to Keep Current

In a Nutshell

What is protected? – “Individually identifiable health information that is transmitted or maintained in any form or medium (electronic, oral, or paper) by a covered entity or its business associates, excluding certain educational and employment records” (CDC, 2021). HIPAA established a national standard for protecting sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the consent and knowledge of the patient. The Law was established to provide high quality healthcare and protect public health and well-being while ensuring that the health information of an individual is properly protected during the processes necessary.

Who Must Adhere to HIPAA? – Healthcare providers who transmit health information electronically, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and any business associate that acts on behalf of a covered entity. This includes claims processors, data analysts, utilization reviewers, and billing personnel.

What Disclosures Are Allowed Under HIPAA? – According to the CDC, permitted disclosures include:

  • “The individual;
  • Treatment, payment, and healthcare operations;
  • Uses and disclosures with opportunity to agree or object by asking the individual or giving opportunity to agree or object;
  • Incident to an otherwise permitted use and disclosure;
  • Public interest and benefit activities such as public health activities, victims of abuse or neglect, decedents, research, law enforcement purposes, and serious threat to health and safety;
  • Limited dataset for the purposes of research, public health, or healthcare operations” (CDC, 2021).

What HIPAA Is and Why It Is Important

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that established national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the HIPAA Privacy Rule to implement the requirements of HIPAA, and the HIPAA Security Rule protects a subset of information covered by the Privacy Rule. Another privacy-related federal law meant to ensure privacy for educational information is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For practitioners of behavioral health, while it is imperative to know and follow the federal laws and regulations that govern substance misuse and mental health services, the process of learning the laws and regulations – and of keeping current with them – is not always simple or easy. The following infographic illustrates and compares the purposes and goals of FERPA and HIPAA, identifies what information is protected and what information is permitted to disclose, and who must comply with each federal law (CDC, 2018):

Click to download the HIPAA vs FERPA infographic from the CDC.

Two ways to keep current with developments in the field are to attend regular professional development opportunities and, as they become available, read materials that are developed to keep behavioral health and substance misuse providers up to date on this important topic. Both strategies are important to repeat as laws and policies may be clarified or interpreted for new environmental conditions such as evolving technologies such as telehealth.

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

Confidentiality and HIPAA: Live Online WebinarNovember 4, 2021 | 9:00 am -12:00 pm (PST): The webinar will cover Federal Drug and Alcohol Confidentiality Law (42 CFR Part 2) and the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA). The training will provide information on which programs must comply with Federal Privacy Laws and under which circumstances, and to understand the interplay between the Federal Laws Governing Confidentiality Substance Use Treatment Patient Records and the Health the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Additionally, Nevada specific Privacy Laws will be explored and reviewed in light of Federal Privacy requirements.  Finally, a summary of recent revisions to the Federal Laws will be reviewed.

Presented by: Mark Disselkoen, MSSW, LCSW, LCADC – Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 3

Confidentiality & Privacy for Behavioral Health Providers -SELF-PACED ONLINE – Presenter: Mark Disselkoen, MSSW, LCSW, LCADC – This online video course will cover Federal Drug and Alcohol Confidentiality Law (42 CFR Part 2) and the Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA). The training will provide information on which programs must comply with Federal Privacy Laws and under which circumstances, and to understand the interplay between the Federal Laws Governing Confidentiality Substance Use Treatment Patient Records and the Health the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Additionally, Nevada specific Privacy Laws will be explored and reviewed in light of Federal Privacy requirements.  Finally, a summary of recent revisions to the Federal Laws will be reviewed.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs): This training is approved for 6 CEUs

Crossing Professional Boundaries for Rural and Frontier Clinics: SELF-PACED ONLINE – Presenter: Jennifer Ross, PhD, MFT – Behavioral health professionals often cross professional boundaries because they fail to recognize the boundaries as they arise or fail to realize the impact of crossing those boundaries. At the conclusion of this workshop clinicians will be able to: identify professional boundaries in the clinician/client relationship, understand the consequences of crossing boundaries that lead to ethical violations, evaluate relationships on multiple levels to avoid crossing boundaries, understand the pitfalls of bartering arrangements, and understand the risks of working with clients that are family or friends. Through an examination of case studies, we’ll discover how to distinguish the line between crossing professional boundaries and sound practice.

Continuing Education Units: 2 CEUs

Confidentiality and HIPAA – SELF-PACED ONLINE COURSE – Fri Jan 01, 2021 – Fri Dec 31, 2021 – Presented by: Mark Disselkoen, MSSW, LCSW, LCADC – This training will cover federal and Nevada​ specific rules of confidentiality with an emphasis on practical solutions to real problems. ​The course will also address SAMSHA’s clarification of 42 CFR Pt. 2 and issues with telehealth, consent, etc. By the end of this training, participants will: understand the proper consent for release of information, be aware of the procedure to respond to a subpoena and understand the important exceptions to the rules. Additionally, LADC counselors, social workers and other professionals will understand how to apply their organization’s policy as well as individual policy in their practice.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs): This training is approved for 3 CEUs

Resources containing substantial information about HIPAA and ConfidentialityMany of the current resources are designed for a certain purpose or context and resources may come from different perspectives. For simplicity, resources are listed by agency and item, with a brief description and a link.

CASAT OnDemand Resources:

Confidentiality and HIPAA Learning Lab – This CASAT OnDemand Learning Lab has a wealth of information and resources for diving deep into the topic of HIPAA and Confidentiality.

Catalyst Blog Posts:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

SAMHSA Resources

Fact Sheets regarding the Substance Abuse Confidentiality Regulations:

Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) and Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) Manuals:

Additional Resources:

This article was developed by Stephanie Asteriadis Pyle, PhD at CASAT, feel free to use, link to, or distribute this information. A link to our site and attribution would be much appreciated. Suggested citation:

Asteriadis Pyle, S. (2021, October 27). Tips about HIPAA and confidentiality: Resources and workshops to keep current. CASAT OnDemand. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://casatondemand.org/2021/10/27/tips-about-hipaa-and-confidentiality-resources-and-workshops-to-keep-current/.

Your Turn! – What is your strategy for keeping up with HIPAA and Confidentiality? Do you have suggestions for keeping current on this all-important topic? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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