5 Ways to Minimize HIPAA Liabilities

July 12th, 2019 - BC Advantage
Categories:   Acupuncture|Alternative   Allergy|Immunology   Anesthesia|Pain Management   Behavioral Health|Psychiatry|Psychology   Billing   Cardiology|Vascular   Chiropractic   Dental   Dermatology|Plastic Surgery   Emergency Medicine   Endocrinology   ENT|Otolaryngology   Gastroenterology   Home Health|Hospice   Internal Medicine   Laboratory|Pathology   Interventional Radiology   Neurology|Neurosurgery   Obstetrics|Gynecology   Oncology|Hematology   Optometry   Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery   Orthopedics   Pediatrics   Physical Medicine|Physical Therapy   Podiatry   Primary Care|Family Care   Pulmonology   Radiology   Rheumatology   Skilled Nursing   Urology|Nephrology  
0 Votes - Sign in to vote or comment.

Last year was historic for HIPAA enforcement. The HHS Office of Civil Rights collected a record $23.5 million in settlements and judgments against providers guilty of HIPAA violations. To avoid becoming part of that unwanted statistic, it’s important to pay extra close attention to five key areas of HIPAA vulnerability.

Take Advantage of Refresher Training
The best way to protect against liabilities is to continually educate and train staff. A practice may feel confident that it understands HIPAA. But while close to 90 percent of doctors believe their practices are fully compliant, at least 75 percent of them still have rudimentary questions about HIPAA. That indicates that the vast majority of providers can benefit from a HIPAA compliance refresher course. Participants should include everyone from top administrators to community volunteers. Training everyone with access to PHI isn’t just a good idea; it’s the law.

Encrypt Data
Any lost, stolen, or hacked electronic device containing protected patient information can be an expensive liability. All electronic PHI should be securely encrypted. That includes data communicated via email, text messages, and smartphone messaging apps. Even though an app like the popular WhatsApp may boast that it offers encryption, it may still lack proper authentication controls. Before using any text messaging service to communicate patient information, make sure the practice has a signed HIPAA-compliant business associate agreement with the service provider.

Control Devices
Most healthcare employees understand that they should never share passwords or log-in information. But these credentials should never even be written down. Another way that HIPAA violations frequently occur is because a computer screen is left on where unauthorized persons can see it. Front office staff and nurses may step away from a computer to handle an emergency, leaving the screen temporarily visible or photographable. Physicians sometimes make the mistake of leaving a laptop open at home, where others – including family members or friends – can see patient information. Those are innocent mistakes, but are still liabilities.

Secure Online Portals and Safeguard Paper Records
Paper records continue to represent potential liability as long as they exist. They must be securely handled and archived until shredded. Practices that have not transitioned from paper documents such as invoices and monthly statements can avoid HIPAA liability – and the effort that paper documents require – by going digital. Electronic records are easier to manage, search, store, and protect. There are fully compliant platforms that can safeguard patient records while also giving patients easier 24/7 access. That reduces liability and front office calls from patients. Patients gain greater control over their care with more transparency. A patient portal can also enhance doctor/patient interaction and communication.

Beware Social Media
Most healthcare workers know not to post photos of patients online. But sometimes sharing photos that don’t include patients can still be a liability because confidential information is accidentally included. Criminals often blow up photos that include a work station or home office, for example, to focus in on relatively obscure and minor details. A piece of paper or file in the background may contain PHI. That’s why it’s good policy to be extra vigilant regarding tweets, Facebook posts, and pictures uploaded to sites like Instagram. When in doubt, don’t upload it, share it, or talk about it.

###

Questions, comments?

If you have questions or comments about this article please contact us.  Comments that provide additional related information may be added here by our Editors.


Latest articles:  (any category)

Eliminating Consultation Codes?
October 10th, 2019 - Chris Woolstenhulme, QCC, CMCS, CPC, CMRS
There are a few payers that have joined with CMS in discontinuing payment for consultation codes. Most recently, Cigna stated that, as of October 19, 2019, they will implement a new policy to deny the following consultation codes: 99241, 99242, 99243, 99244, 99245, 99251, 99252, 99253, 99254 and 99255. United Healthcare announced they ...
Hypertension & ICD-10
October 7th, 2019 - Raquel Shumway
Hypertensive Diseases and ICD-10. Helps and examples for these codes.
CMS and HHS Tighten Enrollment Rules and Increase Penalties
October 1st, 2019 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
This ruling impacts what providers and suppliers are required to disclose to be considered eligible to participate in Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The original proposed rule came out in 2016 and this final rule will go into effect on November 4, 2019. There have been known problems ...
Federal Workers Compensation Information
October 1st, 2019 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
When federal employees sustain work-related injuries, it does not go through state workers compensation insurance. You must be an enrolled provider to provide services or supplies. The following are some recommended links for additional information about this program. Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC) website Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC) provider ...
2020 Official ICD-10-CM Coding Guideline Changes Are Here!
October 1st, 2019 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
It’s that time of year for offices to get ready for the ICD-10-CM code revisions. As part of that process, it’s also good to know what is going on with the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting. In the examples listed below, strikeout text is deleted and highlighted text ...
The New ICD-10-CM Code Updates Are Here — Are You Ready?
October 1st, 2019 - Aimee Wilcox, CPMA, CCS-P, CST, MA, MT, Director of Content
Chapter 1: Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (A00-B99) A small revision in the description changed[STEC] to (STEC) for B96.21, B96.22, B96.23. Remember, in the instructional guidelines, ( ) parentheses enclose supplementary words not included in the description (or not) and [ ] brackets enclose synonyms, alternative wording, or explanatory phrases. Chapter 2: ...
New Codes for Dry Needling
September 30th, 2019 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
Find out what you need to know about the new codes for dry needling, also known as trigger point acupuncture.



About Codapedia by InnoviHealth Systems Contact Us Terms of Use Privacy Policy Advertise with Us

Codapedia™ by InnoviHealth Systems™ - 62 E 300 North, Spanish Fork, UT 84660 - Phone 801-770-4203 (9-5 Mountain) - Fax (801) 770-4428

Copyright © 2009-2019 Find A Code, LLC - CPT® copyright American Medical Association