The HIPAA Privacy Rule governs the privacy of a patient’s healthcare information and establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information. Health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers that conduct certain medical-related transactions electronically are subject to the Rule.
HIPAA requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures of that information without patient authorization. The Rule also gives patients rights over their health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records and to request corrections.
As with most legal requirements, complying with HIPAA requires training and a thorough compliance program to prevent the likelihood of a breach or investigation. At Concierge Healthcare Attorneys, LLC we work with healthcare providers to develop HIPAA privacy policies and procedures, as well as develop and implement compliance training programs for staff and medical personnel. Working with a HIPAA compliance lawyer eliminates the confusion and frustration and is a proactive move to mitigate the inappropriate use or disclosure of protected health information.
Developing Procedures for a Breach of PHI
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires physicians and other healthcare providers to notify individuals whose protected health information (PHI) has been compromised because of a breach. Generally, a breach is an impermissible use or disclosure that compromises the privacy or security of PHI. Most breach notifications must be provided without unreasonable delay and no later than 60 days following the breach discovery. The Breach Notification Rule also requires notification of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and in some cases the media.
Physicians should have a good understanding of their obligations in the event of a breach of a patient’s PHI. Proper training and the development of HIPAA privacy policies and procedures can help your team react appropriately and within the complex rules and procedures.
There are several documents that have to be prepared for physician practices, such as a Notice of HIPAA Privacy Practices, Business Associate Agreements, and HIPAA privacy and security policies and procedures. All of these documents should be drafted by or in consultation with an experienced HIPAA compliance lawyer.
At Concierge Healthcare Attorneys, LLC our healthcare lawyers can help you and your healthcare team develop HIPAA security and privacy compliance plans and procedures that outline how to best respond to potential security or privacy violations.
Common HIPAA Violations Leading to a PHI Breach
Nearly 58% of healthcare breaches involve practice employees. The most common reasons for a breach include:
- Employees improperly disclosing patient information
- The mishandling of medical records
- Losing devices containing electronic protected health information (ePHI)
- General lack of training about HIPAA Rules.
Physicians and healthcare providers can prevent improper access or misuse of PHI by working with a HIPAA compliance lawyer to develop procedure and structure training.
About Concierge Healthcare Attorneys, LLC Compliance Training Programs
HIPAA and healthcare compliance training is critical because it can help your practice prevent breaches and outline the appropriate legal steps if a breach ever does occur. When you broaden HIPAA compliance knowledge across your practice, your team gains the ability to identify risks, resolve problems, and streamline processes so that your entire team can operate on best practices.
There are several things that HIPAA compliance training should cover.
- What HIPAA compliance is and how it applies to your specific practice.
- The responsibilities of “Covered Entities” and “Business Associates.”
- Patients’ right of access to PHI.
- How to protect against cyber threats and the basics of protecting ePHI, such as changing passwords regularly, logging off of devices when not in use, etc.
- How to identify and report a potential breach of patient data.
No matter the training solution your practice chooses, make sure it meets all HIPAA requirements and most importantly delivers content in a way that will be retained and understood by your employees.
How Often Should Physicians Complete HIPAA Compliance Training?
We recommend you work with a HIPAA compliance lawyer for training on an annual basis for current staff, and within 90 days of employment for new hires. HIPAA training should be a key part of employee onboarding.
Documenting HIPAA Compliance Training
When it comes to documentation of HIPAA compliance training, you should be able to show which employees have undergone compliance training, what resources they used to complete the training and when it was completed. This way, in the event of an audit, you can show that you have taken this step to prevent breaches. A certificate of completion showing who completed the training and when it was completed should be provided to each employee upon completion of training. We recommend training programs end with a quiz to show that employees retained the material.
Speak with a HIPAA Compliance Lawyer To Review Your Training Needs
Concierge Healthcare Attorneys, LLC has a specific focus on healthcare law. We regularly work in this highly specialized area and not only understand the federal and state laws healthcare providers face, but also appreciate how challenging compliance can be for medical professionals. Our HIPAA compliance lawyer team stands ready to help you with all your HIPAA needs in a cost-conscious manner. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your practice.