At a time when medical practices are finding it difficult to meet the Privacy and Security requirements of HIPAA, changes brought in with the Omnibus Final Rule has increased their pressure. The changes have been introduced to enhance patients’ access to their medical records and boost the privacy of medical history but it has also increased work load for physicians.
With $1.5 million being charged as fine for security breaches, the new changes will have to be taken seriously if practices don’t want to face penalties and damage their reputation. A plan will have to be developed for implementing the required changes in a proper manner.
- Under the new rule, a breach will include even the “risk” of disclosure or impermissible use of Patient Health Information. In order to meet this requirement, a complete risk assessment will have to be performed by practices for minimizing the possibility of a breach
- The Omnibus Final Rule has changed the definition of a BA (Business Associate) who does not work at the practice but has access to PHI. To comply with this modification, all the BA agreements will have to be reviewed in order to see if there is a need for replacement or revision. This needs to be done because a BA could potentially include a clause in the old agreement stating that he cannot be held liable for PHI breaches
- Frequency of HIPAA audits will increase along with fines and to prepare for the same, practices will have to perform risk assessments on a quarterly basis to find security loopholes
- Employees will have to be trained on updated obligations and Notices of Privacy Practices will have to be redistributed
- Analysis will be required for current arrangements for compliance with restrictions on PHI sale and marketingy
- Existing contractor arrangement will have to be evaluated and HIPAA policies and procedures will have to revised
- With EHR system, productivity and work quality of coders has improved as they are able to access their work remotely and read the digital documents directly
With so many requirements to be fulfilled, lack of time, money and trained staff can pose various issues for physicians in successful implementation of HIPAA Omnibus rule. In order to avoid the possibility of security breaches and damage to reputation, many practices are hiring medical billing services to sail through the HIPAA changes. A HIPAA compliant billing company will ensure you of the following:
- AR follow-ups
- Use of latest software for medical billing and coding
- Implementation of strict security measures
- High confidentiality
- Use of firewall and anti-virus software on all computers, secure workstations, authorized access and storage facility
- Insurance authorization
- Sending technical evaluations on a frequent basis along with critical facility accessibility
- Web-based medical billing technology with EMR solutions
Medicalbillersandcoders.com is the largest consortium of billers and coders, offering HIPAA compliant medical billing services to practices across 50 states in the US. The team at MBC is constantly updated with billing reforms and HIPAA norms to ensure coding and billing accuracy. Our aim is to help practices maximize reimbursements by streamlining medical billing and achieving HIPAA compliance.