HIPAA Privacy Rule: Enhancing or Harming the Public's Health?


medical filesThe Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 was designed to facilitate health insurance reform, implement standards for the transfer of health data, and protect the privacy of healthcare consumers. On April 14, 2003, compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule will become mandatory for all covered entities except for small health plans. This new law restricts the use and disclosure of protected health information and provides consumers with greater access to and control over their own medical records. While the Privacy Rule was not designed to impede public health practice, it is clear that the implementation of this rule presents some serious challenges to public health practice. This program will discuss these challenges and present strategies for preserving and promoting effective public health practice within the new HIPAA environment. Join us as we share the experiences and best practices of Thurston County, Washington, a community where public health leaders and their community partners are working together to comply with the Privacy Rule and protect the public's health.


This program will seek to foster understanding of the HIPAA Privacy Rule by providing information about compliance and discussing the implications for public health practice.


  • Identify entities that must comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
  • Describe three applications of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to local health departments.
  • Discuss three ways in which the Privacy Rule will impact public health practice.
  • Identify three strategies to limit the effects of the Privacy Rule on public health activities.


Public health leaders, managers, and professionals from local and state government agencies, boards of health, community organizations, academic institutions, federal agencies, and others who seek to learn more about the HIPAA Privacy Rule and its effect on public health practice.


No presenter in this program has a financial interest or other relationship with manufacturers of commercial products, providers of commercial services or commercial supporters.
No presenter in this program will discuss the unlabeled use of commercial products or products for investigational use.