HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices
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HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices
HIPAA Compliance and HIPAA Risk management Articles, Tips and Updates for Medical Practices and Physicians
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HIPAA Now: What you Need to Know About HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA Now: What you Need to Know About HIPAA Compliance | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

HIPAA Now: Effective HIPAA Compliance Program

An effective HIPAA compliance program must ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability with safeguards. These safeguards include administrative, technical, and physical. An effective HIPAA compliance program consists of several components. 

  • Risk Assessments. Covered entities are required to conduct six self-audits annually. Completing self-audits measures an organization’s administrative, physical, and technical safeguards against HIPAA standards.

 

  • Gap Identification and Remediation. Upon completion of self-audits, gaps in safeguards are identified. To be HIPAA compliant, organizations must address gaps with remediation plans. Remediation efforts close gaps so that an organization’s safeguards are adequately securing PHI.

 

  • Policies and Procedures. A major component of HIPAA now is illustrating compliance through documentation. As such, organizations must have customized policies and procedures dictating how they adhere to the HIPAA Security, Privacy, and Breach Notifications Rules.

 

  • Employee Training. To ensure that employees properly use and disclose PHI, they must be trained annually. HIPAA training should include HIPAA basics, their organization’s policies and procedures, proper use of social media, and cybersecurity. 

 

  • Business Associate Management. Before working with a vendor, it is essential to assess their safeguards. Vendors (business associates) are required to be HIPAA compliant to work with healthcare clients. They must also be willing to sign a business associate agreement (BAA). A BAA must be signed before it is permitted to share PHI with the business associate. A BAA is a legal document that dictates the safeguards the business associate is required to have in place, it also requires each party to be responsible for maintaining their compliance.  

 

  • Incident Response. Organizations that experience a breach have an obligation to report it. Depending on the size of the breach, reporting requirements differ. Breaches affecting 500 or more patients must be reported within 60 days of discovery to the HHS, affected patients, and the media. Breaches affecting less than 500 patients must be reported within 60 days from the end of the calendar year in which the breach was discovered (March 1) to the HHS and affected patients. 
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Hospitals Fail at HIPAA Compliance Re Medical Records Requests

Hospitals Fail at HIPAA Compliance Re Medical Records Requests | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

Many hospitals failed at HIPAA compliance in response to simulated patients’ requests for medical records, according to a study by Yale researchers published in the JAMA Network Open.

 

The researchers surveyed 83 top-ranked US hospitals with independent medical records request processes and medical records departments reachable by telephone.

 

According to HIPAA, patient requests for medical record must be fulfilled within 30 days of receipt in the format requested by the patient if the records are readily producible in that format. OCR guidance says that hospitals can charge a cost-based fee to provide those records.

 

The researchers conducted scripted interviews with medical records departments in a simulated patient experience and also collected medical records release authorization forms. There was wide variation in the information provided on the authorization forms and from the telephone calls in terms of what data could be requested, release formats, costs, and processing times.

 

On the authorization forms, only 44 hospitals (53%) provided patients the option to acquire the entire medical record. On telephone calls, all 83 hospitals stated that they were able to release entire medical records to patients.

 

There were discrepancies in information given in telephone calls versus authorization forms among the formats hospitals said that they could use to release information: 69 versus 40 for pick up in person, 20 versus 14 for fax, 39 versus 27 for email, 55 versus 35 for CD, and 21 versus 33 for online patient portals. These results demonstrated noncompliance with HIPAA in refusing to provide records in the format requested by the patient, the study noted.

 

There were 48 hospitals that had costs of release above the federal recommendation of $6.50 for electronically maintained records. In one case, a hospital charged $541.50 for a 200-page medical record. At least seven of the hospitals were noncompliant with state requirements for processing times.

 

“Discrepancies in information provided to patients regarding medical records request processes and noncompliance with regulations appear to indicate the need for stricter enforcement of policies relating to patients’ access to their protected health information,” the researchers concluded.

 

The study is timely because the Trump administration has launched the MyHealthEData initiative, which is designed to improve EHR patient data access and use. MyHealthEData is intended to break down the barriers that prevent patients from having electronic access and control over their own health records from the device or application of their choice.

 

In 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order in which he directed government agencies to “improve access to and the quality of information that Americans need to make informed healthcare decisions, including data about healthcare prices and outcomes, while minimizing reporting burdens on affected plans, providers, or payers.” The order was part of a broader effort to increase market competition in the healthcare market.

 

“The MyHealthEData initiative will work to make clear that patients deserve to not only electronically receive a copy of their entire health record, but also be able to share their data with whomever they want, making the patient the center of the healthcare system. Patients can use their information to actively seek out providers and services that meet their unique healthcare needs, have a better understanding of their overall health, prevent disease, and make more informed decisions about their care,” explained a March 2018 CMS press release.

 

While the goals of MyHealthEData are lofty, the results of this Yale study call into question the ability of private healthcare organizations to fulfill the Trump administration’s initiative, never mind comply with existing HIPAA patient access requirements.

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Why You Should Follow HIPAA Compliance For The Success Of Your Dental Practice

Why You Should Follow HIPAA Compliance For The Success Of Your Dental Practice | HIPAA Compliance for Medical Practices | Scoop.it

In 2018, ten companies had to pay $28.7 Million to HIPAA as fines. The United States law requires all covered entities to comply with HIPAA. Covered entities, in this case, refers to health care providers, such as hospitals, dental clinics, and pharmacies.

 

The American Dental Association conducted research which indicated a significant increase in dental practices, both in terms of size and number.

 

Statistics show that US Citizens who had access to dental care rose to 248 Million in 2016, from 170 Million in 2006.

 

The increase in dental practices across the States makes them prone to cyber hacking.

 

This is where HIPAA comes in. For dentists, the HIPAA rule is inclusive of;

 

• A Security Rule
• Privacy Rule
• Breach Notification Rule

 

WHAT IS HIPAA?

 

HIPAA compliance refers to the process through which covered entities and business associates adhere to set rules which seek to protect Protected Health Information.

 

In simple terms, it seeks to ensure a patient’s healthcare data remains private. Protected Health Information is anyone’s healthcare data. The privacy and security rule control what healthcare professionals such as dentists can, or cannot do with your PHI.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF HIPAA

 

HIPAA was initially introduced in 1996 to address insurance coverage for people working two jobs. It also sought to avoid health care fraud, and protect patients’ health information.

 

FOR YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE, FOLLOWING HIPAA WILL;

 

• Immensely help you transition from manual to electronic health records.
• Streamline your administrative healthcare functions.
• Protect your client’s health information.
• Set boundaries regarding using and releasing health records.
• Boost the efficiency of your clinic.
• Hold violators answerable if they violate a patient’s rights, through both criminal and civil penalties.

 

FOR YOUR PATIENTS, FOLLOWING HIPAA WILL;

 

• Safeguard their personal and sensitive health information.
• Give them control over who gets access to their information.
• They get a right to obtain and go through their health records, and they get to request corrections when necessary.

Technical Dr. Inc.s insight:
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