The HIPAA Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (the Privacy Rule) creates national standards to protect individuals' personal health information and gives individuals increased access to their health information. The Privacy Rule covers health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers who conduct certain financial and administrative transactions electronically. Most covered entities had to comply with the Privacy Rule by April 14, 2003. Small health plans have until April 14, 2004 to comply with the Privacy Rule.The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Privacy Rule. The OCR website is http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa
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