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Why is HIPAA important, and why is the Privacy Rule important?Explain.

You are a supervising chemical dependency counselor at a rehabilitation hospital. Your role is to facilitate individual counseling and therapy sessions for your clients who are recovering from alcohol and substance abuse. In the midst of this, you are responsible for the intern counselors assisting you in this department.

Client privacy and confidentiality are incredibly important to the success of the client/counselor relationship. The client must trust that the counselor will maintain the client’s privacy and confidentiality whenever possible. This trust is essential to the client’s successful treatment. In discussing privacy and confidentiality, one must address HIPAA and the Privacy Rule.

Discuss in-service training on HIPAA and the Privacy Rule including the following 5 points:

  • Why is HIPAA important, and why is the Privacy Rule important?
  • Is HIPAA the only set of rules or laws that govern client privacy issues, and is it more powerful than state laws?
  • What responsibilities do chemical dependency counselors have to their clients as a result of HIPAA? Include minimum necessary information.
  • What are the exceptions to client confidentiality?
  • What is informed consent?

Remember your answers are for counselors new to the profession, so it is necessary to stress the importance of following HIPAA and respecting a client’s rights.


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