The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that was passed as a federal law in 1996 has some stringent penalties for non compliance and it is important that all covered entities are aware about them. This will ensure that all the rules and regulations of HIPAA are complied by them and this will help prevent violations.
Top 6 Issues Of HIPAA Security Compliance
As most covered entities start storing medical records electronically, it would be advisable to use passwords and encryption programs to help protect them from unauthorized access. There should also be risk assessment done by the organizations to help determine any loopholes that are there in the policies that will help safeguard the confidential information of patients.
There should be checks and counter checks in place that will help the covered entities safeguard all information of patients in the best possible way. This will help only authorized individuals access all the necessary information of patients and unauthorized access can be completely eliminated.
All employees of covered entities will need to be provided with adequate training. This will help them know all the rules and regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. There are also frequent amendments and changes that are made to HIPAA and employees will need to be aware about them too. It is usually the responsibility of the employer to provide these amendments to the employee to ensure better compliance.
There are some very stringent provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for non compliance of the Act. The penalties can be civil or criminal and depending on the nature and extent of the violation the penalties can be fine or imprisonment. While the civil violations attract fines starting from $100 and this can go up to a million dollars annually. The criminal violations will attract fines and imprisonment. The imprisonment period can be two to five years if the violation was intentional.
The covered entities will need to have internal audit checks to determine whether all the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are followed in an effective way. The audits should also be on a continuous basis and this will help in determining if employees who are entrusted with the responsibility of handling confidential information of patients are able to comply with all the requirements of HIPAA.
Although all protected information of patients cannot be accessed without proper authorization by the patients there are some instances when it can be accessed as per HIPAA. These exemptions are usually available to federal and state agencies. The confidential information can also be accessed if there is a court order in this regard.
Apart from the exemptions that are specified by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, protected information of patients cannot be accessed by anyone other than the physicians and nurses who form part of the treatment plan. The patient can request for a copy of their medical report and changes can also be made to it if it is found to be wrong.