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Short for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA provides national standards to protect the privacy of personal health information. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, Public Law 104-191, included "Administrative Simplification" provisions that required HHS to adopt national standards for electronic health care transactions. Congress incorporated into HIPAA provisions that mandated the adoption of Federal privacy protections for individually identifiable health information. [Source: HIPAA Overview (PDF)]

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