If you’re working in or alongside the health care industry, you need to be aware of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. Many think HIPAA only applies to physicians, hospitals and clinics, and neglect to evaluate if their business or organization will be held accountable for the new regulations, which began September 23, 2013.
You Could Be a Business Associate
Covered entities remain the same under HIPAA and still include health care providers (doctors, clinic, psychologists, dentists, chiropractors, nursing homes and pharmacies), health plans (health insurance companies, HMOs, company health plans, government programs including Medicare, Medicaid and military, and veteran health care programs), and health care clearinghouses. To find out if you are a covered entity click here.
If you are not a covered entity, but are a business associate of a covered entity, you may now be expected to comply with new HIPAA regulations. A business associate of a covered entity is defined as any entity that uses or discloses protected health information (PHI) on behalf of a covered entity.
Business associates are now responsible for complying with certain provisions of HIPAA to protect the privacy of PHI. Also, there must be a business associate contract or other arrangement between the covered entity and the business associate that establishes specifically what the business associate has been engaged to do.
How Do I Know
To make sure your business or organization is in accordance with the new HIPAA regulations it may be in your best interest to contact a third party advisor. HIPAA is more than 500 pages with rules and regulations that can easily be overlooked or missed if not examined by an expert. For a more detailed understanding of HIPAA visit the Federal Register.
By Jacqueline Persandi