Probability of HIPAA audits is increasing as the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) continues to police HIPAA violations aggressively. Data breach has become a rampant problem in the healthcare industry and in order to prevent an audit, practices must address their potential issues under HIPAA.

In case a lot of time is being spent on handling billing challenges, your staff will have less time to prepare and adapt to new changes in medical insurance billing.

Industry Facts :

According to the OCR, a new and permanent HIPAA security audit program is slated to begin from October 2014
As per the analysis by HIP / SA of OCR data, health data breaches involving more than 500 patients have increased from 931 to 992 in April 18 to May 17, 2014
According to the survey by HP / Ponemon Institute, healthcare organizations spend $5.44 million annually on an average to deal with cyber attacks
Heightened OCR enforcement will be seen in 2014

Common HIPAA violations:

To avoid hefty fines and a bad name in the healthcare industry, medical practices must watch out for these frequently seen HIPAA violations:

  • Unauthorised access and use of PHI
  • Adding wrong recipient for an email
  • Failure to shred sensitive paper documents after use or not keeping it secured
  • Leaving PHI in phone messages
  • Failure to provide a notice of privacy practices to patients

Measures for avoiding HIPAA audits:

  • Always use a password policy for access to confidential data
  • Usage of SSL for access to web-based sensitive data
  • VPN access for remote access
  • Avoid using public FTP
  • PHI (in a database or in files on a server) should be encrypted
  • Hire a HIPAA compliance consultant for conducting an audit of privacy and safeguards at the practice
  • Invest in technology tools to fulfil compliance obligations such as intrusion detection and prevention software, audit tools, encryption programs and device
  • Educate staff on latest HIPAA laws and updates
  • Review BA agreements and ensure that they have strong compliance programs in place

If your practice fails to comply with HIPAA requirements it can lead to criminal and civil penalties. These penalties are applicable for individuals as well as covered entities. Practices require sufficient time and money to ensure that minor mistakes do not lead to HIPAA audits. They must do a lot more than just a simple risk assessment. Due to lack of time, money and skilled resources, many providers prefer outsourcing these requirements to a third party.

Handling HIPAA requirements with MBC: offers a web-based, proven framework to help providers manage their HIPAA / HITECH Act compliance initiatives with a single, integrated solution. They can perform clinical as well as operational functions in sync with HIPAA norms with this system. MBC ensures confidentiality of patient and practice information according to the norms laid down by the HIPAA Act.

MBC is the largest consortium of coders and billers that offer effective billing solutions to practices across the 50 states. It is a trusted name in HIPAA-compliant billing and RCM services, helping providers maximize revenue and minimize HIPAA violations risks.

MBC = Effective Billing Solutions + Reduced HIPAA violation risks

Published By - Medical Billers and Coders
Published Date - Jun-19-2014 Back

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