• Healthcare providers
• Insurance companies
• Benefit & welfare funds
• Third-party billing & collection entities
• Electronic Health Records (EHR) software
• Third-party medical necessity review organizations
All organizations and individuals that deal with patient records are accountable to the HHS when it comes to safeguarding sensitive & private patient information. With that in mind, such entities are legally liable in cases of PHI data breaches and disclosures that are not permitted by the Act.
The HIPAA Security Rule has four major sections, created to identify relevant security safeguards that help maintain a full HIPAA compliance:
1) Coverage – HIPAA ensures health insurance coverage for workers and their dependents when they change or lose their employment
2) Administrative requirements of safeguarding PHI – HIPAA establishes national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, employers and insurance payers
3) Medical spending – regulations on pre-tax medical spending accounts
4) Group health insurance – this section specifies conditions for health plans regarding benefits of individuals with pre-existing conditions and modifies the continuation of their coverage requirements
5) Tax deduction on company-owned life insurances – HIPAA prohibits tax deduction of interest on life insurance loans, company endowments, or contracts related to employers
In a nutshell, HIPAA Privacy Rule requires you to:
• Notify patients about their privacy rights and how you use their medical records
• Adopt privacy procedures and train employees to follow them
• Assign an individual to make sure you’re adopting and following privacy procedures
• Secure patient records containing PHI so they are not readily available to those who don’t need to see them
Our IT specialists recommend that you implement the following measures on all devices that you use to store medical records:
• Use a strong password (at least 16 characters, uppercase/lowercase, numbers, symbols) or other user authentication
• Install and enable encryption
• Install and activate remote wiping or remote disabling
• Disable and do not install or use file-sharing applications
• Install and enable a firewall
• Install and enable a licensed antivirus
• Keep your security software up to date
• Research applications (apps) before downloading them
• Maintain physical control of your devices
• Use adequate security to send or receive health information over public Wi-Fi networks
• Delete all stored health information before discarding or reusing a device
I think my device has been hacked. What do I do? What is the punishment for HIPAA breaches?
The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires you to have policies that protect and limit how you use and disclose health records, but you are not expected to guarantee the privacy of PHI against all risks. Sometimes, it is impossible to prevent limited disclosures, even when you are following HIPAA requirements. Cyberattacks on healthcare infrastructure have become quite sophisticated.
When you experience a PHI breach, the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires you to notify affected individuals, HHS, and, in some cases, the media. You must notify authorities of most breaches without reasonable delay and no later than 60 days after discovering the breach. Submit notifications of smaller breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals to HHS annually.
The Breach Notification Rule also requires business associates to notify a covered entity of breaches at or by the business associate.
The minimum liability or willful violations of HIPAA standards is $50,000. The maximum criminal penalty for a HIPAA violation by an individual is $250,000, with possible restitutions paid to a victim.
WCH Service Bureau specialists and software are fully compliant with the most up-to-date regulations related to PHI non-disclosure and secure storage. Our experts receive regular data privacy trainings, and our software is constantly protected from data breaches.
Did you know that there is an all-in-one tool that can help you store your medical records easily & securely?
WCH iSmart is an all-encompassing electronic health records software that allows you to create and store charts from hundreds of templates for providers of all specialties. What is more, it has numerous practice management instruments that allow to measure the financial well-being of your practice? WCH iSmart is fully HIPAA-compliant, and our IT specialists guarantee the confidentiality of PHI and your practice information from third parties.