The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal act that was passed in 1996 ensures portability of employee medical cover and most importantly helps protect the confidential information of patients from people who are unauthorized to view it. The HIPAA Act has changed the way health care providers and other organizations that form part of the health care industry interact and access records of patients.
Health care providers and other business associates who provide support to them would need to comply with the various provisions of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. There are very strict penalties for noncompliance, and you would have to pay a big fine and face imprisonment if you had not complied with the rules and regulations of HIPAA.
3 Steps To Be HIPAA Compliant
1. Any health care provider or any other organization specified as "covered entities" would take steps to become HIPAA compliant, and the first step in this direction would be to appoint a compliance officer who will be entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing that rules and regulations of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are followed properly. The compliance officer will also be in charge of enforcing the various provisions as per the accordance of HIPAA.
2. All the employees who would be handling all protected information of patients would need to be aware of the HIPAA requirements to be followed. There are various training programs that are conducted by employers to impart knowledge about the various provisions of the act. All employees who will be processing and storing patient information would need to be given proper training on how to handle documentation. The training can be completed in the classroom or using the online medium.
3. All personal information of patients would need to be safeguarded by using various software programs and passwords for this purpose. You must also ensure that this protected information is not accessed by unauthorized persons for fraudulent purposes.
The patient information should be safeguarded against theft and loss and health care providers would need to take adequate steps to ensure this. Failure to protect the confidential information of patients can lead to very high penalties and in the case of repeated offences it can lead to cancellation of your business license.
You would need to put a framework of policies and procedures to ensure that all important information of patients is completely protected. Training employees and ensuring that they remain up to date with the various new provisions of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act will ensure that all aspects of the Act are complied with.
It would be advisable to do internal audits and checks to ensure that all requirements of HIPAA are followed. The audits will also help to identify any gaps in the implementation of the Act and you can take suitable action so that you are able to comply with the regulations of HIPAA.
The various compliance needs of organizations would keep changing as new policies and procedures are put into place to ensure better protection of patient information.