Privacy is a priority. Yet privacy is always under attack.
Cyberattacks can leak medical information, opening the door to fraud and abuse. Patients have the right to have their information protected, so the government passed HIPAA. HIPAA has been at the forefront of privacy protection for decades.
But what is HIPAA? Many people don’t know their rights or responsibilities under the Act. You can learn in just a couple of minutes.
Here is a quick guide on how to ensure your company is compliant with HIPAA.
What Is HIPAA?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA creates national standards that protect a patient’s health information from being disclosed.
The main standards for HIPAA fall under the Privacy Rule, which addresses the use of a patient’s health information. The Privacy Rule covers all health care providers, including insurance companies and business associates.
Providers can share information to treat patients and track payments. They can also provide information to law enforcement, especially to report abuse or domestic violence. For any other purpose, a patient must authorize the disclosure of information.
The Security Rule regulates how providers can send information. They must implement policies so only authorized people can access information. They can use Patient Tracking Software, but they must audit their software so information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
What Is a HIPAA Violation?
A provider can violate HIPAA in several ways. The most common violation is disclosing health information without a patient’s consent.
Providers must regularly audit their software. If they don’t, that’s a violation of the law.
They must conduct risk analysis, managing the confidentiality of information. They also must ensure that patients have access to their own information. They must maintain access logs, tracking when and how people accessed information.
Internal audits uncover most HIPAA violations. But employees can also report HIPAA violations directly to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Penalties for violations can be very severe. Depending on the nature of the violation, fines can run up to $1,500,000 per year. Penalties can also include imprisonment for up to ten years.
Even a mistake can cost your company thousands of dollars. Be diligent about following HIPAA.
How Do I Keep My Business Compliant?
Basic common sense is the first step toward HIPAA compliance. Do not share medical information with anyone who isn’t authorized. Air on the side of caution at every step.
Hire employees who can handle sensitive information with care. Incorporate HIPAA training into your onboarding process. Conduct regular seminars with all employees about their responsibilities under HIPAA.
Hire staffers whose sole jobs are to promote security. Have at least one staffer run risk assessments, and have another handle IT security. Conduct internal audits on a regular basis, and prepare your company for an audit by Health and Human Services.
Be an Assured Entrepreneur
Safety comes first. HIPAA provides safety for all Americans. Know your responsibility as a health care provider.
What is HIPAA? Under HIPAA, providers can share information without a patient’s consent under rare circumstances. They must allow patients to access their information whenever they want.
Violations for exposing information are very severe, even if the violation was an accident. Keep your business compliant with a thorough training program. Maintain internal auditing and security staffers as well.
Rest assured with the right information. Follow our coverage for more guides on business and health care.