Corporate compliance corner: Know the terms/acronyms

By Corporate Compliance Officer Ed August

In this month's edition of the Corporate compliance corner, we define some of the terms and acronyms that you will probably encounter while working for our company. Knowing these definitions will help you understand some of the most frequently mentioned regulations and agencies, including their primary purposes and how they relate to each other.

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). This U.S. legislation, which became law in 1996, requires healthcare providers to safeguard the privacy and security of medical information. Some of the primary goals of this law include making it easier for people to keep health insurance, protecting the confidentiality and security of healthcare information, and helping the healthcare industry control administrative costs.

  • CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). This agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, administers federal health care programs. These programs include Medicare (federal health insurance program for seniors); Medicaid (federal needs-based health insurance program); the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and HIPAA.

  • HITECH Act. This legislation promotes the adoption of electronic health records and supporting technology in the U.S.

  • OIG (Office of Inspector General). This government agency protects the integrity of Department of Health and Human Services programs as well as the health and welfare of program beneficiaries.

In next month's newsletter, the Corporate compliance corner will discuss PHI (Protected Health Information). Due to the numerous facets of PHI, we will take a close look at its various forms as well as the handling and security of PHI in the healthcare environment.

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