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All Important Points To Be Known About HIPAA HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was first introduced in 1996 by the federal government in an effort to improve confidentiality and security of health care information. Since the time of its inception, HIPAA has made a considerable impact on how sensitive patient details and info is being handled in healthcare industry. The significance of complying to HIPAA can’t be overemphasized as failure to follow the regulations can lead to prison terms or hefty fines. Under HIPAA, both business associates as well as covered entities are mandated to ensure the privacy of PHI or Protected Health Information. The covered entities can also include health care providers such as physician practices and hospitals as well as health plan clearing houses and health plans. Business associates also refer to companies that do services for covered entity and consequently, need to maintain, transmit or receive PHI. For companies and organizations that hold PHI, HIPAA also has comprehensive requirements in place. They’re required as well to give special attention in safeguarding physical security of data and access to PHI must be limited only to key personnel. As for the administrators, they have to be mindful of potential threats while updating the security on a regular basis in order to identify possible dangers that are posed by data hacking and phishing scams.
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Covered entities on the other hand must put a compliance program in place and make sure that relevant personnel are well aware of HIPAA requirements. They should evaluate security controls every now and then and be sure that PHI is encrypted. So long as the data is encrypted, no one can access it, which is good in cases of stolen or loss.
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Being a HIPAA compliant is important as this guarantee that the covered entity is prepared well in case there is HIPAA investigation or audit. HIPAA has this audit program in which they are selecting entities completely by random for auditing. The audits are performed by the OCR or Office of Civil Rights in Department of Health and Human Services. OCR is also the one responsible for enforcing the privacy and security regulations of HIPAA. Evaluating compliance with the HIPAA’s security rules and privacy along with the Breach notification rules is the main purpose of the audit. What this mean is that, if there is a breach in security regarding Protected Health Information, the business associate or covered entity must advise the affected person about the incident. HIPAA can do an investigation based on negative findings of random audit or as a response to compliant filed towards the covered entity. Complaints are filed with OCR and making the covered entity to cooperate with the investigation as what stated by the law.