Hipaa Laws In The Workplace – If your organization handles Protected Health Information (PHI), do you remember what your HIPAA compliance training was like?
For many people, training involves sitting through boring slide shows. Given the potential consequences of violating HIPAA—where one moment of forgetfulness can cost you a $25,000 fine—HIPAA compliance must be taught in a memorable way.
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In the event of a HIPAA violation, employers may be subject to fines of up to $1.5 million if the Department of Health and Human Services and Civil Rights (OCR) finds that they failed to properly train employees on HIPAA best practices.
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Assuming compliance training is required by law, it’s also financially sound. Compliance statistics show that organizations spend $5.47 million on compliance compared to an average of $14.82 million on non-compliance.
HIPAA compliance is high risk, so memorable training is required. These are the main provisions that HIPAA training should cover.
A HIPAA training program should ensure that all employees who store, handle, access, or share PHI are familiar with key provisions of HIPAA. This includes privacy, security and breach notification rules, which we’ll explain in detail below.
Employees should be taught how to follow the organization’s privacy and security policies during their onboarding process and on a regular basis.
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This type of employee training is considered administrative security under the HIPAA Security Rule. Achieving HIPAA compliance requires healthcare organizations to have certain administrative safeguards, such as employee training, as well as physical and technical safeguards to protect patient data from breaches.
HIPAA became law in 1996 with the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the American health care system. Lawmakers soon recognized that electronic technology required modern provisions to protect people’s health information.
The Privacy Rule sets standards for protecting individuals’ medical records and PHI. Organizations that manage an individual’s health information must provide reasonable safeguards and limit who can see and receive PHI.
This rule sets limits so that organizations can only use or disclose PHI for the purposes of care, payment, or health care operations.
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The rule also gives individuals the right to obtain copies of their health records and to authorize third-party transfers involving their PHI.
The breach notification rule requires that HIPAA-covered entities notify an affected individual within 60 days of discovering a breach of unsecured PHI.
For breaches involving more than 500 people, organizations are also required to notify the OCR in their country within the same 60-day period.
Managing and protecting health information is a big responsibility. It’s essential that employees know how to spot a HIPAA violation and what to do if it occurs—and that information stays long after the training is over.
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For some HIPAA humor, the comedy improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Try this game inspired by:
Each HIPAA provision contains a series of standards. For example, the Privacy Rule contains minimum required standards, requiring covered entities to use as little PHI as possible to treat, pay for, or perform a given health care function.
You can also use the printable HIPAA Standards Compliance Cards to create your own standards and definitions. If you need inspiration, OCR offers a useful summary of HIPAA rules and regulations.
Questions with low values should be the easiest to answer. The highest value questions should be the most difficult.
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Some real cases of HIPAA violations seem too strange to be true. “Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction?” Inspired by the show, this training game tests your team’s knowledge of HIPAA history.
You shouldn’t expect them to know every historical HIPAA case, but it’s a fun way to teach about HIPAA violations and consequences.
Combined with traditional training, these fun HIPAA training games will help your employees avoid common office violations. Be sure to provide these trainings every year to keep your staff sharp.
Comprehensive training is a great way to create a HIPAA-compliant culture, but organizations cannot afford to be complacent.
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Fortunately, you can streamline your HIPAA compliance efforts. Offers automated security and compliance software, in addition to comprehensive HIPAA training. Get in touch to learn how our platform and team of experts can save you time and protect you from potential HIPAA violation penalties. Most people would agree that basic human rights include privacy. However, social media, computers, and the Internet have removed traditionally placed privacy and security barriers. Documents can be shared with a simple click and access can be granted with credentials. The Company may no longer, in many cases, determine who or what has access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This particularly affects healthcare provider organizations, which until the late 1990s and early 2000s kept most records in paper form.
With the new ease of electronic communication, security can sometimes fall by the wayside. To ensure patient privacy in these new technological parameters, the US government enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996. In addition to health administrative guidelines, HIPAA includes specific privacy protocols that were later updated in the HITECH Act. When creating a HIPAA compliance strategy for your company, you should know all the facts related to health insurance. Read on to learn about the top five elements of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule.
Initially, the Privacy Act went into effect in 1996, as a subcategory of HIPAA. The broad definition of the HIPAA Privacy Rule includes the following—a set of guidelines for how to implement breach notifications, maintain secure data storage, securely transmit patient PII, and ensure workplace accountability. While previous privacy actions focused on government agencies, HIPAA broadened the scope, requiring private healthcare organizations to meet new security and privacy standards. In 2003, HIPAA privacy compliance became mandatory for healthcare providers, healthcare clearinghouses, applicable business partners and any entity that accesses or transfers patient data. HIPAA policies and procedures ensure accountability throughout the file transfer process, from patient authorization to employee access. For example, the HIPAA Privacy Rule recommends encrypting files, requiring access passwords, and training employees in security best practices. In addition, the HIPAA Privacy Act, and the fact that it is a legal requirement, helps ensure that organizations using PHI/PII are constantly reviewing how to better protect customer data, as most organizations face breaches. And wants to avoid heavy fines. Ultimately, the purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Act is to balance patient confidentiality with effective communication between healthcare professionals and businesses.
After the HIPAA Act was enacted in 1996, technology and electronic transfers increased significantly, prompting the government to formulate more relevant guidelines regarding electronic protected health information (ePHI). Subsequently, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act came into effect in 2009. The HITECH updates changed HIPAA’s initial penalties and made non-compliant organizations more culpable for privacy lapses. In addition to willful neglect penalties, today’s organizations now face more penalties if privacy and security breaches are not fixed. Organizations must report any breach to consumers or employees immediately, even if the breach’s entry point is closed. Additionally, any breach affecting more than 500 patients must be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HITECH also requires HHS to audit all entities covered under HIPAA, as well as any business associates, although no timeline is provided for when such audits must occur.
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To improve accessibility, HITECH mandates that patients and third parties have the right to access electronic health records. Although this may take the form of a scanned document sent via email, HITECH recommends that healthcare organizations begin the transition to using electronic health records (EHRs) as apps and websites gradually become the primary platform for accessing PHI. is Finally, HITECH lays down strict requirements. Entity Health Rather than simply ensuring individual compliance by verifying business partners before any interaction (ie, the company sends information), compliant entities must certify business partners to comply with the same HIPAA and HITECH regulations.
Although not all information requires the same level of protection, some information, which may appear harmless at first, can be harmful when combined with other related information. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designates two forms of PII and sensitive PII.
General PII includes information from which personal information can be inferred or inferred. In other words, there may be a direct link or, in many cases, an indirect link to the individual. For example, a business card falls into the PII category because it identifies a link to an individual and is likely to lead to other similar PII links if examined by a threat actor.
However, sensitive PII refers to any information that, when lost or unlawfully disclosed, could cause material harm, embarrassment, inconvenience or injustice to an individual. Because of the greater risk that sensitive PII presents, it requires a higher level of protection.
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Sensitive PII is divided into more sensitive and sensitive by link categories. For example, Social Security Numbers (SSN), driver’s license/state, passport numbers, and biometric identifiers are always classified as sensitive PII. By themselves, names, emails, financial records, and medical records are classified as PII, but if obtained together (eg, at least two), they qualify as sensitive PII. B
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