The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been in place since 1996 and, under Title II, presents the standard for securing protected health information (PHI) and other security measures.While other Titles in HIPAA deal with issues such as insurance coverage, taxes, and group and company plans, Title II concerns the security of PHI and the nation-wide requirement of meeting compliance standards, such as those under the Privacy and Security Rules. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, those who are legally required to meet HIPAA compliance include covered entities and their business associates. The aforementioned include, but are not limited to, health insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and health data processors.
As health records became digitized and providers used online systems or applications to increase efficiency, almost all PHI required (in almost all cases) brand-new privacy and security mechanisms. First, the Privacy Rule created the standards which all applicable entities have to follow.
The main goal of the Privacy Rule is to protect PHI and all patient data at the national level. In order to protect said data, the Security Rule outlines the mechanisms, technical and physical safeguards, and administrative regulations that must be in place for compliance.
Meeting HIPAA compliance standards can look different for each entity, but, in general, the regulations focus on maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of PHI, protecting against threats to said maintenance, ensuring compliance by all involved, and working to pre-empt compliance violations.
Failing to Meet HIPAA Compliance
HIPAA violations and failure to comply can result in complaints and potential penalties – civil and/or criminal. The repercussions are severe. If a complaint results in an investigation, the fines can range from hundreds to millions of dollars. A violation that results in criminal penalties will require not only fines, but also prison time. Therefore, it is imperative that covered entities and business associates are aware of all HIPAA regulations and take all the steps necessary to meet compliance.
Meeting Every Client’s Needs
As HIPAA regulations can change and each entity has a different structure, it is important that the entity adopts procedures and policies that are best suited to its context. At CDG, we provide our clients with expert HIPAA compliance consulting services to ensure each client remains HIPAA compliant at all times. The above is a summary of HIPAA compliance and is not legal counsel and, therefore, we encourage you to reach out to us at CDG for more information.