March 31, 2003

HIPAA safeguards personal medical records

Wynell Lauver is communications consultant for Human Resources

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will go into effect on Monday, April 14, providing employees with certain protections related to health care benefits. This privacy regulation protects medical records and other personal health information maintained by certain health care providers, health insurers, hospitals and health plans, such as Emory’s employee health care plan.

Under HIPAA, employers are required to provide certain safeguards and implement specific procedures to protect the privacy of employee health information. In order to meet HIPAA requirements, effective April 14, Human Resources will require a signed Authorization of Release before assisting employees with any health care benefit issues that may involve protected health information. HIPAA also will require changes in Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) procedures.

“Confidentiality of employee records is taken seriously within Human Resources, and we view HIPAA privacy regulations with the same priority,” said HR Vice President Alice Miller. “We hope employees will realize, however, that obtaining the necessary release of records may affect the timeliness of our response to employee issues. To alleviate any time delays, we encourage employees to resolve health care benefit issues by working directly with Aetna, CIGNA, Caremark and United Behavioral Health.”

Please visit to view this document. Additional information is available at or by calling the benefits office at 404-727-7613.