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The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law designed to protect sensitive information known as Protected Health Information (PHI).

Examples of Sensitive Information:

  • Social Security/Driver’s License Numbers
  • Credit Card/Bank Information
  • Personal Information
  • Health Information
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Names of Relatives
  • Anything that can be linked to your client

HIPAA violations are enforced by the Human Resources Department at Companions Forever. Violations are also enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services.

State Attorney General is permitted to bring civil actions and recover monetary awards that may be shared with the individual who’s Privacy was disclosed.

It is never acceptable for an employee to look at a client’s Personal Health Information “just out of curiosity” even if no harm is intended. (i.e., locating an address to send a ‘get well’ card.)

Caregivers should not disclose PHI to anyone who is not part of the Companions Forever Agency unless specifically instructed by their supervisor to do so. Regular staff will usually handle these disclosures. For example, if a non-staff member asks you to make a copy of the client’s notes or anything personal, you should refer the request to your supervisor.

For more information on HIPPA visit HHS.GOV