Avoiding Liability Bulletin – April 2005

… Now that I mentioned HIPAA, why are so many practitioners under the impression that they are “covered providers” under HIPAA (the “Privacy Rule”) when they are in fact not? In essence, a covered provider is someone who practices health care and transmits any health information in electronic form (for example, via the Internet or Extranet, dial-up lines) in connection with a transaction for which the Secretary (of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) has adopted standards. Some therapists only deal with cash paying clients while others may only bill insurance by paper and the mail. State law may differ from HIPAA regulations. If I were not a “covered provider” under HIPAA, I probably would not want to voluntarily comply with the HIPAA requirements, but would want to continue to comply with state law. See the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’s website for more information about HIPAA.

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Richard Leslie

Richard S. Leslie is an attorney and acknowledged expert on the interrelationship between law and the practice of marriage and family therapy and psychotherapy. Most recently, he was a consultant to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and has written articles regarding legal and ethical issues for their Family Therapy Magazine. Prior to his work with AAMFT, Richard was Legal Counsel to the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) for approximately twenty-two years. While there, he also served as their director of Government Relations and tirelessly advocated for due process and fairness for licensees and applicants.

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