Request the necessary insurance data and a photo identification when you provide the patient with the standard new patient forms, typically the health history form, a declaration of the practice's payment policy, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) forms, etc. Even if your practice is paperless, new patients are generally required to complete the necessary forms either in paper format (for scanning) or electronically.
- While some federal regulations require certain forms and protocols, be sure you know, and follow, relevant state laws, rules and regulations. Each state has its own laws regarding patients’ medical and dental histories. Your state dental association may be able to assist you with specifics.
- Check your state dental practice act to make sure that your patient record keeping forms are accurate and up to date.
- Even if your state law doesn’t require it, keep a complete and up to date medical and dental history on each patient. Having current information will help as you proceed with treatment plans since you’ll be aware of medical conditions and prescriptions that could impact treatment or recovery.
- The American Dental Association (ADA) offers a comprehensive, printable health history form that covers both medical and dental issues.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) emphasizes patient privacy and the protection of patients’ protected health information (PHI). Designed to protect and enhance patients’ rights, HIPAA codifies what patient information you can and cannot distribute and how that sharing must be done. Any practice that transmits certain information electronically must be HIPAA-compliant.
- HIPAA’s privacy regulations apply to all types of communications about patients’ PHI regardless of the format, be it electronic, hard copy (paper, films and other materials), or spoken. Additional HIPAA security regulations apply to the electronic transmittal of PHI.
- HIPAA regulations are complex. You are required to train every member of your staff in the proper handling of health information in order to ensure that the regulations are followed and that patients’ PHI is protected.
- Designate a member of your staff to serve as the practice’s HIPAA officer. Doing so emphasizes the importance of adhering to the law and can ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
- Electronic claims submission can be a trigger that prompts HIPAA reviews. Any practice that submits claims electronically, or outsources that function to an external billing service, should be aware of, and in compliance with, all applicable HIPAA regulations.
- The ADA Practical Guide to HIPAA Compliance Privacy and Security Kit can help you develop HIPAA privacy policies and procedures for your practice. It includes such topics as:
- implementing appropriate written office policy and procedures
- developing forms to implement your policy
- preparing your Notice of Privacy Practices
- providing and displaying copies of the Notice available to patients
- identifying business associates
- Information on HIPAA requirements is also available in A Dentist’s Guide to the Law:228 Things Every Dentist Should Know
Additional Resources:ADA Health History Form-Child and Adult
HIPAA Regulations found on www.HHS.gov website
The ADA Practical Guide to HIPAA Compliance Privacy and Security Kit
A Dentist’s Guide to the Law: 228 Things Every Dentist Should Know