Every month it seems another company is making headlines for HIPAA violations. In 2017, Chicago-based Presence Health kicked off the year agreeing to pay a whopping $475,000 for violating the Breach Notification System. This is the first violation of it’s kind and resulted when the healthcare system failed to report a breach in a timely manner. Other violations often happen when companies don’t properly protect their sensitive HIPAA-related information, but the Presence settlement underscores the variety of guidelines that healthcare systems, hospice groups, and home healthcare companies need to remain in compliance.
What is the Breach Notification Rule?
When healthcare information has been improperly disclosed or used, a HIPAA breach has occurred. The notification rule states when unsecured health information is breached, the entity covered under HIPAA (the hospital, hospice, home health care organization, etc.) must notify the Office of Civil Rights in a timely manner. If that doesn’t occur, as Presence Health demonstrated for us, a hefty fine and a plan for correcting the problem in the future could be on the horizon. The only way to protect yourself from the Breach Notification Rule is to put secure systems in place to contain, control, and guard HIPAA sensitive information.
The Effects of a HIPAA Breach
Of course we all like to see our systems as perfect but the truth is that breaches of HIPAA-sensitive healthcare information happen every day. There are currently 389 cases of HIPAA breach under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights, a branch of the US Department for Health and Human Services. Based on the cases under investigation, it seems healthcare providers are the most vulnerable and the majority of breaches occur through hacking or IT related events. Email and network servers are the most common places where stored and unsecured healthcare information is breached, but paper, equipment like laptops, and other portable electronic devices can also be the source of the breach.
Centratel and HIPAA Compliance
Centratel offers HIPAA compliant solutions to keep your home healthcare and hospice business insulated from potential breaches with Personal Health Information (PHI). Our answering service takes the important calls and relays them to your on call personnel or office via secure messaging or through encrypted email. Our answering service meets HIPAA, HITECH, and Omnibus requirements.
Let Centratel handle your HIPAA Compliance messaging so you can spend more time solving the needs and problems of your patients and provide the quality service you’ve built your home healthcare and hospice company on.