HIPAA Regulatory Alert:Web site answers FAQs about HIPAA

A "Frequently Asked Questions" document about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rule is posted on the Department of Health and Human Services’ web site.

The document answers questions ranging from privacy rights to compliance dates. "Does the rule create a government database with all individuals’ personal health information?" and "If patients request copies of their medical records, are they required to pay for them?" are examples of the subjects covered. The document also reminds health care providers that the compliance date for the privacy rule is April 14, 2003, or April 14, 2004, for small health plans. To see the questions, go to www.hhs.gov/ocr/faqs1001.doc.