HIPAA Frequently Asked Questions
Use the following question/answer session to answer your questions about UW Health's privacy practices.
What does this Notice of Privacy Practices really mean in layman's terms?
See the Summary of the Notice of Privacy Practices (pdf) for a brief outline of the main points of the notice.
I have been asked to sign an acknowledgment form. I don't like to sign anything until I have read the entire document. Are you going to make me sign the acknowledgment form before I can see my doctor?
No. Your signature simply indicates that you were given the notice (NPP). If you choose not to read the NPP or sign the form, there will be no impact on the care or service you receive.
Why do I have to sign the acknowledgment?
You don't have to sign anything. The HIPAA law requires that we, as your health care provider, give you this notice (NPP) and make a good faith effort to document that you have received it.
What if I refuse to sign the acknowledgment?
If you choose not to sign, it will have no impact on your care or service.
Who can I talk with to explain some of the things in the NPP?
Clinic staff will be happy to answer any basic questions you have. If you have questions that they cannot answer, you can contact the UW Health Patient Relations department at (608) 263-8009.
What is HIPAA anyway? Why do I need to care about it?
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law that requires that health providers take certain steps to protect the privacy and security of patient health information. The privacy part of the law goes into effect on April 14, 2003. The NPP document and the one page NPP summary describe how UW Health protects your health information.
What does this have to do with my doctor and my care?
Your care will not change. The law formalizes many patient privacy practices that UW Health has routinely followed for some time.
Will I have to sign this same acknowledgment at other clinics?
The University of Wisconsin Hospital is managing the compliance of this process separately from several of the UW Health clinics, so if you are a patient at the hospital, they will ask that you sign the form again for their records. It is possible that you will be asked to sign the acknowledgment at another UW Health clinic.
You may either sign the form again or you may simply inform them that you signed the form at UW Hospital. If you receive care at other clinics or hospitals that are not affiliated with UW Health, expect that they will ask you to accept their Notice of Privacy Practices and sign their acknowledgment form.
What did you do with my medical information before HIPAA came along?
UW Health has always protected the privacy and confidentiality of your health care, and has treated your health information accordingly. The new HIPAA law formalizes these privacy requirements, so that in addition to a being good practice, they are now spelled out as law.
Who can sign for my minor children or elderly parents? Who will explain it to them?
This is not a legal document, but you will need to sign the form for you minor children or elderly parents. Should you or your child or elderly parent have questions or need help understanding the notice, you may contact our Patient Relations department at (608) 263-8009.
Do you have an NPP document available in other languages?
Yes, we have the NPP and the NPP summary in Spanish. Contact Patient Relations to receive a copy at (608) 263-8009.
To whom can I complain about this?
Please contact the UW Health patient relations department at (608) 263-8009.
Who is paying for these materials?
There is no charge to patients or to health care providers for HIPAA. UW Health covers the cost of these paper documents and other expenses associated with implementing HIPAA.
What is the difference between this and other forms I need to sign?
This form is a statement that you received a notice regarding UW Health's privacy and confidentiality practices. It has nothing to do with how we handle your billing or registration.