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)

ICD-10-CM 2021 Coding Updates for Chiropractic
September 29th, 2020 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
October 1st is just around the corner and that means it’s time for updates to the ICD-10-CM code set. This year there are some interesting changes such as a new headache type, new codes related to TMJ, several new codes for reporting accidents involving micro-mobility devices (e.g., hoverboard), and some other changes.
Important Podcast on Dental to Medical Billing
September 21st, 2020 - Christine Woolstenhulme, QCC, QMCS, CPC, CMRS
Be sure and check out this discussion with LaMont Leavitt (CEO of innoviHealth) and Christine Taxin (Adjunct professor at New York University, President of Dental Medical Billing, and Links2Success).  Some of the resources and tools they discuss will help you with your dental coding/billing and education. Do You Have All the Right ...
More COVID-19 Codes Added as of September 8, 2020
September 15th, 2020 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced the addition of two more CPT codes in relation to COVID and the Public Health Emergency (PHE). Codes 99702 and 86413 were posted to the AMA website on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 and new guidelines have been added as well.
Not Following the Rules Costs Chiropractor $5 Million
September 1st, 2020 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
Every healthcare office needs to know and understand the rules that apply to billing services and supplies. What lessons can we learn from the mistakes of others? What if we have made the same mistake?
New Value-Based Payment Models for Primary Care (Primary Care First and Direct Contracting)
August 28th, 2020 - Jared Staheli
This article summarizes the new Medicare value-based payment models: Primary Care First and Direct Contracting.
Podcast - Do you have all the right Dental resources needed to succeed in Dental Medical Billing and Coding?
August 27th, 2020 - Innoventrum
Discussion between innoviHealth CEO, LaMont Leavitt and Guest speaker, Christine Taxin who is an Adjunct professor at New York University, and President of Dental Medical Billing and Links2Success about making sure you have all the right Dental resources needed to succeed in Dental Medical Billing and Coding. ...
Is COVID-19 Causing Risk Adjustment “Gotcha’s”?
August 27th, 2020 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
The COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) has created some possible problems when it comes to risk adjustment. Be sure your organization has implemented policies and procedures to try and overcome these new hurdles.



Home About Contact Terms Privacy

innoviHealth® - 62 E 300 North, Spanish Fork, UT 84660 - Phone 801-770-4203 (9-5 Mountain)

Copyright © 2000-2020 innoviHealth Systems®, Inc. - CPT® copyright American Medical Association