HIPAA Exempt Offices (Paper)

January 23rd, 2017 - Wyn Staheli
Categories:   HIPAA|PHI  
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It is a common misconception that every doctor’s office is (or must become) a HIPAA covered entity; however, the list of those who still qualify for exemption from HIPAA is rapidly shrinking. There are exceptions to the HIPAA requirements; if a practice sends or receives no transactions electronically, it is not a covered entity. Offices must be careful to ensure they truly are not performing electronic transactions. While a provider may not submit claims electronically, the provider’s staff could be using the internet to query patient information from a plan or payer source or a third party may submit payments electronically. Consequently, accessing this information electronically automatically makes the practice a covered entity.

If you employ more than ten full-time employees (or full-time equivalents), you are required to submit Medicare claims electronically; therefore, you automatically become a HIPAA Covered Entity. Considering all these situations, it is almost easier to become a covered entity than not to.

To be a HIPAA exempt entity, you must, at a minimum, meet all of the following conditions:

Alert — HIPAA is Only the Federal Minimum Standard: If you are one of the few practices that can be considered a HIPAA exempt office, you must still abide by any state regulations applicable to healthcare providers and all healthcare matters, including confidentiality of patient information. It is good business practice to always maintain policies and procedures aimed at protecting patient information.

 

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