HIPAA and Behavioral Health

HIPAA and Behavioral Health 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects the confidentiality and security of healthcare information. HIPAA governs the use and disclosure individuals’ identifiable health information, among other things. This includes written and verbal communications that mental health and substance use disorder providers (behavioral health providers) have with the individual, the individual’s family members and friends, other professionals, health plans, law enforcement, and associated documentation requirements. This course addresses some of the most common HIPAA-related legal and ethical challenges faced by behavioral health professionals, including those who work in hospitals, clinics, community mental health centers, addiction treatment centers, and private practice. The goal of this course is to improve your understanding of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and how they apply to your day-to-day professional responsibilities as a behavioral healthcare provider. Interactive case vignettes and exercises will provide you with the opportunity to apply and deepen your knowledge of this critically important topic. By successfully completing this course, you will be able to identify potential legal and ethical issues related to HIPAA, improve your compliance approach, and develop more effective risk management strategies. This course does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with legal counsel regarding any specific HIPAA-related issues you confront in your workplace or practice. If you need more comprehensive information or have more general questions regarding HIPAA, the Department of Health and Human (DHHS) website, your malpractice insurance carrier, HIPAA privacy officer, general counsel, compliance officer, or professional associations may be of additional assistance.


Hours: 2.00


Certificates provided by accrediting body (0 Match)

Course Details

Course Code: REL-HHS-0-HHP-V2XY
Hours: 2
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 8/31/2021
Learning Objectives:
Apply the privacy and security rules to your practice or work setting, including your professional communication and documentation practices.
Identify potential ethical or legal issues related to HIPAA in your work setting and employ more effective risk management strategies to avoid violations.
Apply updates or review your HIPAA policy and procedures relative to recent changes in the HIPAA privacy and security rules.
Describe the purpose of HIPAA and how it applies to behavioral healthcare providers.

Section 1: Introduction

About This Course

Learning Objectives

Section 2: HIPAA Overview

HIPAA and Linda’s Private Practice

What Is HIPAA?

How Has HIPAA Changed since Enactment?

HIPAA Penalties



Section 3: How Does HIPAA Work?

What Is Protected Health Information?

The De-Identification Standard


Covered Entities

Business Associates

Business Associates: Breaches and Liability



Section 4: The Privacy Rule

Linda and the Disclosure of PHI

Permissible Uses and Disclosures of PHI

Notice of Privacy Practices

Permitted Use and Disclosure of PHI without Authorization

HIPAA and Other Privacy Laws

The Minimum Necessary Rule

Permissible Use and Disclosure of PHI with an Opportunity to Object

Psychotherapy Notes under HIPAA

HIPAA and Telehealth



Section 5: Individuals’ Rights and HIPAA Exceptions

Individual Rights Granted by HIPAA

Exceptions to HIPAA’s Requirements for Use and Disclosure of PHI

PHI Disclosure under Special Circumstances

Abuse, Neglect, or Domestic Violence

Let’s Practice: Kim

Risk Management Strategies: Abuse, Neglect, and Domestic Violence

Avert a Serious Threat to Health or Safety

Risk Management Strategies: Duty to Protect

Let’s Practice


Section 6: Impermissible Uses and Disclosures

Definition of a Breach

Exceptions to the Definition

Breach Notification Requirements to Individuals

Other Privacy Requirements



Section 7: The Security Rule

Linda and the Security Rule

What Is the Security Rule?

The Security Rule Safeguards

Administrative Safeguards

Physical Safeguards

Technical Safeguards

Steps toward Security Rule Compliance

Quick Check


Portable Media

Instant Messaging (IM) 



Section 8: Conclusion


Course Contributors




Instructor: Linda Weaver, PhD, JD
Linda Weaver, Ph.D., J.D. is a licensed psychologist in the state of New Mexico. She holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of South Florida and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. She has over 30 years’ experience in behavioral health, which includes serving as the HIPAA privacy officer for a large behavioral health care organization. Currently, Dr. Weaver consults with large employers regarding the implementation of behavioral health best practices consistent with health care’s complex legal framework. Disclosure: Linda Weaver, PhD, JD has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Staff Writer: Nellie Galindo, MSW, MSPH
Nellie Galindo received her Masters of Social Work and Masters of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked with individuals with disabilities in several different settings, including working as a direct service provider for individuals with mental illness and leading a youth program for young adults with disabilities. She has facilitated and created trainings for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the areas of self-advocacy, healthy relationships, sexual health education, and violence and abuse prevention. Mrs. Galindo has worked in state government assisting individuals with disabilities obtain accessible health information in their communities, as well as utilizing the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure equal access to healthcare services. Disclosure: Nellie Galindo, MSW, MSPH has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
Target Audience:
The target audience for this course is: Advanced, Intermediate level Alcohol and Drug Counselors; Advanced, Intermediate level Marriage and Family Therapists; Advanced, Intermediate level Professional Counselors; Advanced, Intermediate level Psychologists; Advanced, Intermediate level Social Workers; Nurses; in the following settings: Health and Human Services.
Relias will be transparent in disclosing if any commercial support, sponsorship or co-providership is present prior to the learner completing the course.
Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
Relias has a grievance policy in place to facilitate reports of dissatisfaction. Relias will make every effort to resolve each grievance in a mutually satisfactory manner. In order to report a complaint or grievance please contact Relias.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Support by completing the web form (https://www.relias.com/help) or by using the chat functionality.
All courses offered by Relias, LLC are developed from a foundation of diversity, inclusiveness, and a multicultural perspective. Knowledge, values and awareness related to cultural competency are infused throughout the course content.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, service mark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of, or affiliation with, Relias, LLC.
All characteristics and organizations referenced in the following training are fictional. Any resemblance to any actual organizations or persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.
To earn continuing education credit for this course you must achieve a passing score of 80% on the post-test and complete the course evaluation.
If you require special accommodations to complete this module, please contact Relias Customer Support here.