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Did you know that 70% of entities covered under HIPAA are not in compliance? Covered entities ( CE) include Health Care Providers, Doctors, Clinics, Psychologists, Dentists, Chiropractors, Nursing Homes, and Pharmacies.

What is HIPPA anyway? HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The Act established privacy standards for the use and release of patients’ personal health information referred to as “protected health information.” In 2010 HIPAA was updated to cover the exchange of digital health record with the HITECH Act. The “final rule” or OMNIBUS rule was became law in 2013, and it updated regulation in four critical areas including  HIPAA Privacy Rule, HIPAA Security Rule, HIPAA Breach Notification Rule, and HIPAA Enforcement Rule.

 

If you do any work with a CE, you and your company must be able to illustrate compliance with HIPAA regulations. Here is a checklist to asses your compliance with HIPAA regulation.

  • Have you conducted a Security, Risk, and Administrative Audit/ Assesment?

  • Did you identified all deficiencies and documented them as a result of the audit?

  • Have you created remediation plans to address deficiencies in the Security, Privacy, and Administrative Assessments?

  • Do you have policies and procedures in place to deal with HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules?

  • Have your staff members attested to these policies and have you documented those attestations?

  • Have all your staff members undergone basic HIPAA training and do you have documents to prove they have completed training? Do you have a staff member designated to HIPAA compliance?

  • Do you have a management process for all incidents and breaches?

 

Consider your answers to the above. It’s important to note that if you answered no to any of these questions you are not compliant.  If you do any work with a BA here are a few more things to consider.

  • Do you have a Business Associates agreement in place with all BA’s?

  • Have you audited your Business Associates to make sure they can also illustrate HIPAA compliance?

  • Do you have reports to prove your due diligence?

 

HIPAA compliance is complex. Just having a copy of the regulations on hand does not make you compliant. It is considered best practice to engage professional services to stay compliant! It is essential to be able to Achieve, Illustrate and Maintain HIPAA compliance.

Fines for violations are separated into four categories.

  • Did Not Know
  • Reasonable Cause
  • Willful Neglect- Corrected
  • Willful Neglect- Not Corrected

These fines can range from $100 up to $50000 per incident. Fines imposed within a calendar year can be as much as $1.5 million. Covered Entities and their Business Associates are vulnerable to audits at any time. While becoming and staying compliant should be an easy decision, don’t be fooled into schemes that charge tens of thousand just for consultations. There are affordable professional solutions available to everyone.

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