When news stories come out on hot topics related to healthcare, there is often a conversation about violating our HIPAA rights. What exactly does that mean? What is HIPAA? Who is required to be HIPAA compliant? Does your business need HIPAA IT compliance to meet the standard? Well, that depends on if your business falls under the requirements for HIPAA. Let’s take a closer look.
HIPAA: A Brief History
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This is a federal law that created a national privacy standard for the disclosure of health information. The Privacy Rule addressed the use and sharing of Protected Health Information (PHI) by those subject to the rule. It gives people the opportunity to protect their medical information from being disclosed.
For example, there was a woman on social media who shared that when she was hospitalized, her information was shared with her husband. Turns out, they were estranged, and she had not given permission for her information to be given to him. The hospital had, it would seem, violated her HIPPA privacy.
As a HIPAA IT Compliance provider, we fall under the HIPAA standard. That means we are under the same obligation as other providers who are privy to health information. If we are providing IT services, we are as bound to the standard as you and your staff are.
Who else is required to be HIPAA Compliant?
On the CDC website, there are specific businesses and people who are required to meet the privacy standard. These include healthcare providers and those who electronically transmit claims, and handle benefit inquiries, referral authorizations, and other transactions. Health plans for health, dental, vision, long-term care, employer-sponsored health plans, government and church-sponsored plans, multiple employer health plans, and HMOs are all obligated to keep patient information confidential.
There are also healthcare clearinghouses that process information as well as business associates. We fall into the last group as we aren’t processing claims or answering calls from patients, but we do see names and other medical information.
Does your business or practice need HIPAA IT Compliance?
If your business falls into one or more of the categories outlined by the CDC, then you need HIPAA IT Compliance to ensure data is secure. Without proper security, patient information is at risk of data breach and your business is at risk of fines of $100 – $50,000 or more depending on the violation. That can cost you your practice as well as reputation.
Is it worth it to have HIPAA IT Services? We think so! Call 911 IT to learn more today.