The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1996 as a means of health care reform. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is tasked with enforcing the HIPAA Standards. HIPAA is made up of standards, collectively known as the Administrative Simplification, that attempt to minimize unauthorized access and disclosure of individuals’ protected health information (PHI). Through the health care system, HIPAA regulations guide the means by which health care professionals collect, store, and transmit individual PHI. Mental health professionals who work with adults and children, including those who work with couples and families, are considered health care providers and will be required to follow the guidelines set ...

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