Don’t Let HIPPA* Drag Us Down

Today I’m sharing a beef about HIPAA. Respect for our profession is at stake.

Remember, one of our goals is to become one of THE most respected of professions who work in the healthcare system. Today’s post is an ode to that goal.

HIPAA is the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. (It often surprises people to learn that the P in HIPAA has nothing to do with privacy, because that’s the specific reason we must deal with it – for privacy’s sake.)

Advocates are no strangers to HIPAA, even though we are still unsure about whether advocates are considered to be covered entities. It’s something we deal with for every new client. At the beginning of each new client relationship, we ensure that all HIPAA forms have been signed, ready to be handed over to every provider who raises an eyebrow when we appear on the scene to assist our clients.

And yet, it seems that too many advocates – new and experienced – can’t spell HIPAA. This drives me nuts – because to me, it’s a measure of professionalism to do it right.

Now, I’m not talking about an occasional misspelling of a word. Occasional misspellings of words can be forgiven all day long. But when experienced advocates, those who should know better, misspell HIPAA in their usual course of business, it goes right up my backbone.

*Today’s rant on this subject comes from emails I’ve received recently (from two advocate veterans) where the acronym was misspelled. I further noticed “HIPPA” on an advocate’s website! I see it on occasion in our APHA Connect Discussion Forum. Most recently, as one of the people who serves on the Patient Advocate Certification Board (PACB) I have seen the misspelling on comments submitted to the draft eligibility requirements. These are comments that have come from people who have been working in the field for some time. There are too many PROFESSIONALS who deal with HIPAA in their daily business that cannot seem to get it right.

As mentioned earlier – to me this is a question of professionalism, and as our profession grows, it will be (not so) little things like this that we are judged on.

HIPAA (one P, two As) is correct!

Last point: please don’t tell me autocorrect makes it wrong. I have tried keying “HIPPA” on every one of my devices and my husband’s, and in every case, it autocorrected to HIPAA. Even if somehow your autocorrect does result in a wrong spelling, you have the easy ability to correct that. And you should.

To gain respect, we must command respect. One way to command respect is by dotting I’s, crossing Ts, and spelling HIPAA correctly.


1 thought on “Don’t Let HIPPA* Drag Us Down”

  1. A search of the .gov TLD shows 52,400 pages with ‘HIPPA’.

    Even the government doesn’t spell it right. Drives me nuts.

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