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Why HIPAA Compliance Is Important For Your Healthcare Business?
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which the U.S Congress passed in 1996. This is an extremely important Act for businesses, especially in the healthcare sector. If your business has anything to do with health records or medical information either as a Covered Entity (CE) or a Business Associate (BA), then the HIPAA compliancy is crucial to you. CE’s include, but are not limited to health care providers, health plan consultants and healthcare clearinghouse. Businesses or organizations which enables such entities to carry out their operation fall in the BA category. They can range from a vendor to any subcontractor.
What Are The Benefits To The Public?
HIPAA compliance was made for the general public. The Act aims to reduce healthcare abuse and fraud and puts a standard on how businesses can share healthcare information, conduct electronic billing and other processes. It works to develop security and privacy for all kinds of healthcare information. Also, it gives an individual their right to access their health information and tells them about how it is used.
What Are The Benefits To The Organizations?
The Act is not only for the public, but it also benefits the organizations as well. For healthcare organizations, HIPAA helps to transfer paper records to a more organized digital/electronic data. It streamlines healthcare functions related to administration, increases efficiency in work processes and ensures that the protected healthcare system is safely secured.
The Need for HIPAA
It was back in 1996 when the legislators realized that HIPAA was the need of the coming times. Digitization of data and businesses also meant data theft, which is a strong threat to all forms of online business. The health insurance by HIPAA ensures that a patient enjoys full privacy, and their data remains secure in the hands of HIPAA-trained and qualified healthcare personnel. In short:
- HIPAA gives the right to patients to request copies of their medical information and edit it as they seem fit.
- The protected information requires the patient’s consent before sharing with others. However, consent is not necessary for some procedures. These include billing purposes, coordinating care, reporting injuries which fall under legal obligations (gunshot wounds), or protecting public health.
- The Act enables the patients to designate a representative for themselves.
Why Is HIPAA Important Now?
Let’s look at a few rules of the Act that can convince organizations to go for HIPAA compliance:
- The HIPAA Omnibus Rule and the HITECH Act have increased penalties for non-compliance. The penalty figure, which was once $25,000 per year has now risen to $1.5 million per year for every violation.
- The rules and the definition of the Act have increased along with the detailed explanation. This added more violations to the already present ones, meaning that there is a greater risk for non-compliance and failure to address. Federal investigations are now more possible, including penalties and fines.
- HIPAA requires all CE’s and BA’s, both, to document their procedures and policies as per the Act.
- State Attorney Generals and the Department of Human & Health Services are taking steps to hire, train and enforce the Act according to the policies.
- Lastly, the non-compliant organizations are not only paying fines but investigators also record and report in media in a sort of “Wall of shame”.
We, at InvoZone, strongly recommend others not to deal with healthcare businesses who do not realize the importance of HIPAA and its policies. We believe in data encryption, privacy procedures and tools that can deliver unparalleled care and brilliant outcomes. Talk to our representatives to find out how we cater to the policies to make our clients, and their client’s feel secure.