What is HIPAA?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was enacted by the United States Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in order to protect the privacy of patient health information.
What is PHI?
PHI stands for “protected health information.” This is any information about a patient’s health that can be used to identify them. PHI can include things like a patient’s name, address, birth date, Social Security number, or medical history.
How can I make sure I’m HIPAA compliant?
There are eight key things you can do to make sure you’re staying HIPAA compliant:
1. Keep Your Patients’ PHI Secure
One of the most important things you can do to stay HIPAA compliant is to keep your patients’ PHI secure at all times. You should never share PHI with anyone who doesn’t need to see it and you should always store PHI in a secure location, such as a locked filing cabinet.
2. Use Encryption When Sending PHI Electronically
If you need to send PHI electronically, you should always use encryption. This will ensure that the information cannot be accessed by anyone who is not supposed to see it.
3. Dispose of PHI Properly
When you no longer need a patient’s PHI, you should dispose of it properly. This means shredding or burning any paper records and deleting any electronic records.
4. Train Your Employees on HIPAA Compliance
It is important that all of your employees are trained on HIPAA compliance. They should know what PHI is and how to keep it secure. They should also know what to do if they see a breach of HIPAA regulations.
5. Have a Breach Plan in Place
Although you hope it never happens, you should have a plan in place in case there is a breach of PHI. This plan should include who to notify and what steps to take to mitigate the damage.
6. Keep Your Policies and Procedures Up-To-Date
You should regularly review your policies and procedures to make sure they are up-to-date. This is especially important if there have been changes to the HIPAA regulations.
7. Conduct Regular Risk Assessments
You should conduct a risk assessment on a regular basis to identify any potential risks to PHI. This assessment should be used to update your policies and procedures as needed.
8. Get Help If You Need It
If you are having trouble staying compliant with HIPAA, don’t hesitate to get help. There are many resources available to assist you, including consultants and attorneys.
What are the penalties for HIPAA violations?
The penalties for HIPAA violations can be severe. They can range from a warning letter to fines of up to $1.5 million. In some cases, violators may even face jail time.
Contact an Experienced Healthcare Attorney
If you need help staying compliant with HIPAA, contact an experienced healthcare attorney. They have experience representing healthcare providers in a variety of matters, including HIPAA compliance. They can help you ensure that you are taking the proper steps to protect your patients’ PHI. Contact an attorney today to schedule a consultation.