Successful integration of mental health and primary care requires providers to share information. Hesitancy about sharing such information often poses significant barriers to integration, and providers who are hesitant frequently cite “HIPAA”.
HIPAA, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Public Law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has produced a helpful summary of the law, including the following statement.
“A major goal of the Privacy Rule (PDF - 372KB) is to assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care and to protect the public's health and well being. The Rule strikes a balance that permits important uses of information, while protecting the privacy of people who seek care and healing. Given that the healthcare marketplace is diverse, the Rule is designed to be flexible and comprehensive to cover the variety of uses and disclosures that need to be addressed.”