Implementing Robust HIPAA Policies and Procedures in Your Practice

Ryan Stephens
implementing-robust-hipaa-policies-and-procedures-with-hipaa-ready

HIPAA Privacy Policies and Procedures

The Privacy Rule sets forth a set of national standards for the protection of specific health information. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the Privacy Rule, which is a subset of a very broad and complicated law, HIPAA.

The Privacy Rule dictates the appropriate use and disclosure of individuals’ health information, also known as Protected Health Information (PHI). Organizations that are required to adhere to the Privacy Rule are called covered entities. The Privacy Rule ensures that information is appropriately used while protecting the privacy of the individual who seeks health care.

Covered entities are required to comply with all the HIPAA Privacy Policies applicable requirements. Under HIPAA, covered entities are health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and any healthcare provider who transmits health information in any form, written or electronic, in connection with covered transactions.

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Security Policies and Procedures for Healthcare Providers

All healthcare providers, regardless of their size, who electronically transmit protected health information in connection with particular transactions, are covered entities. These transactions include claims and encounter information, benefit eligibility inquiries, enrollment and disenrollment, and other transactions for which HHS has established standards under the HIPAA Transaction Rule. Using electronic means, such as email does not make it a covered transaction nor does it mean the healthcare provider is a covered entity. The transmission must be in accordance with a standard transaction. 

Policies and Procedures for Business Associates

A business associate is any person or an entity, other than a member of a covered entity’s workforce, that carries out certain functions or activities on behalf of or provides services to a covered entity that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information. Functions or activities of business associates include claims processing, billing utilization review, data analysis, etc. Services of business associates are limited to legal, accounting, consultant, administrative, accreditation, or financial services. Similarly, a covered entity can be a business associate of another covered entity.

Documentation Requirements

All covered entities must develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures to comply with the provisions of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule. Also, they must maintain written privacy and security policies and procedures, and written records of required activities, actions, and assessments until six years after the date of creation or last effective date.

The policies and procedures must also be reviewed periodically and updated in response to environmental or organizational changes that affect the security of protected health information, including electronic (ePHI).

Make use of HIPAA Ready

HIPAA Ready is a robust cloud-based application that can be used to simplify HIPAA compliance. HIPAA Ready allows users to add new policies, and edit or remove policies effortlessly. The platform will notify all relevant individuals of the changes made and customize workflow across the organization. Besides policies and procedures, HIPAA Ready can be used to streamline the entire compliance process, including training, risk management, audits, device management, and business associates management from a single centralized platform. 

Please contact CloudApper or leave a comment below, to learn more about HIPAA Ready.

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